In 1978, God gave me a dream about our call to build the way our Messiah leads instead of man’s way. Now, years later, I can see much progress in the restoration of the Church to the leadership of our Messiah in the Spirit.
The dream a highway—In this dream, I saw a straight and level paved highway with a bridge out. People were driving up to the bridge, getting out of their cars, and crossing a small stream by walking across on a plank. Then, they walked on down the road on the far side. A culvert was lying beside the bridge that was out. I asked some bystanders, “Why don’t you have the culvert put in?” They said, “The engineer won’t let us.”
The next morning, I prayed and sought the Lord for the meaning of the dream.
The highway is the way we walk when we obey Messiah Jesus, our King. He calls us to enter into harmonious, communion relationship with God and one another and to bring others into this fellowship.
The bridge that is out indicates the barriers to our obedience to Messiah Jesus. We partially work in the body of Christ ministering to God, one another, the hurting and His creation. But our work of service is not anywhere near to what God has planned.
The people walking down the road are God’s firstborn people, His holy ones, including the unchurched. Included among the people waiting are those who need salvation. Over the years, the Holy Spirit has also led me to see among the waiting Jews in need of salvation.
The plank indicates we are hindered, but not incapacitated. God has poured out His Spirit to restore His people to the Messiah’s way. His people have responded in reformation, revival and renewal and brought much restoration. But, we have a long way to go. The plank is still there.
The engineer is man standing in the way of God’s plan. We still detour around the barrier instead of putting in the culvert, because the engineer—man—won’t let us bridge the gap. This relational barrier continues because we only partially “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Messiah Jesus our King calls us to absolute attention and wholehearted allegiance as He leads us to do our part in God’s plan for His kingdom.
The building progress in just the last 50 years is very encouraging. Judy and I have benefited from many of the moves Messiah Jesus has brought to the church by the Spirit. Most of these moves were short lived because man took them over. What is most encouraging is we are finally beginning to see more and more believers embracing and realizing the kingdom. Since God has called us into His kingdom and glory (1 Th 2:12), we are live in a way that is worthy of the calling to which we have been called.
In the kingdom of God that is, churches oriented to the kingdom are purposely diminishing the power and control of man and increasing participation of priests of the King (1 Pe 2:9). Messiah Jesus is leading just as the inspired Word says in Ephesians 4.
Paul exhorts us to live as people God has called should live.
So I, a prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live as people whom God has called should live. Be humble and gentle in every way, be patient and lovingly bear with one another. Do your best to keep the oneness of the Spirit by living together in peace: one body and one Spirit—even as you have been called to share one hope—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over us all, works through us all, and lives in us all. Ephesians 4:1-6 AAT
Our walk where our Messiah leads is in keeping the oneness of the Spirit under “one God and Father of all, who rules over us all, works through us all, and lives in us all.”
Christ gives us grace.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) Ephesians 1:7-10 NASB
“To each one of us grace/charis was given.”. Grace has two sides to it.
The first side is, our being is God’s doing. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). “He has made us what we are, creating us in Christ Jesus to do good works, in which God long ago planned for us to live” (Eph 2:10).
The second side is God’s grace working through us. “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace/charis given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Ro 12:6-8 NASB).
Now to Him who by the power working in us can do far, far more than anything we ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all ages forever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21).
Our church leaders are given to equip us for the work of service NASB, the work of ministry KJV.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:11-14 NASB
They will not be done with their equipping “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Or as Paul summarizes in the next verse,”we in every way grow up into Him who is the Head—Christ.” When we are that grown up, “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.”
In their equipping mode, our leaders help us grow up in accord with God’s plan. Both they and we thrive in that mode. They give us solid food, equipping us for the work of service and urging us to do it. That way, our senses will be trained by practice and we become better doers. God has more work for us to do!
Differing opinions and practices can cause much discord in the Messiah’s body. When discord arises, our leaders are to perfect us in the truth. Paul recognized the human propensity to fall into error. That didn’t stop him from equipping the saints for ministry. In his farewell to the elders in Ephesus, he first pointed to his own lifestyle of loving service and proclamation of the kingdom, then warned the elders that they would have to deal with error.
It shouldn’t surprise us to find we are experiencing error in the body of Christ. Many are brought on by enlightened humanism and human political power and control structures within the church. Paul knew even some of the elders he was speaking to would fall into error. Yet, he didn’t set up hierarchy or rules for their mutual protection and he didn’t limit ministry to the pulpit or the church therapy office. Rather, knowing he had told them God’s whole plan, he entrusted them to God and the Word of His grace. (Acts 20:17-38). See Eph 2:11, 2 Cor 11:13, 2 Co 11:26, 2 Pe 2:1
Let’s grow up in all ways into the Head—the Messiah
Let us tell the truth with love and in every way grow up into Him who is the Head—Christ. He makes the whole body fit together, unites it by every contact with its support, and to the extent that each part is working He makes the body grow and builds it up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 AAT
As we grow up into Him who is the Head—Christ, He fits us together and to the extent each of us is working, He makes the body grow and builds it up in love. The amount of growing up we have to do is shown by how little we see of each other and of ourselves in this Word. We are just beginning to see that our Messiah has each of us working. He provides sustenance to His body through every part working to fulfill its function. He ministers to His body and to the world through His body. We grow up by doing what He wants us to do. We work as light in society, as we hold converse in our fellowship, as sharers of Christ’s love in family life and as people serving the Lord at work. Anytime we do anything motivated by His love, we are doing the work of service He has called us to do.
Still, in the typical church, the one who ministers has the remote mic and is in control. How long has it been since you gathered together before the Lord in the flow of the Spirit as in 1 Corinthians 14:26-33?
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. NASB
In the vast majority of church gatherings, man does not allow such participation.
God has more work for us to do! Let’s put in the culvert and help more people see the kingdom of God.