Ye Shall Receive Power, #3

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“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:12)
First we must understand the difference between the internal ministry of the Body of Christ and the external ministry of the Body of Christ.
The purpose of the internal gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ is to build up the Body itself. The Holy Spirit has given to the members of the Body a diversity of gifts to enable the Body to build itself up in love, finally arriving at the fullness of the stature of Christ.
The gifts and ministries are partial, fragmented manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the members of the Body are dependent on one another for their mutual growth in the Lord.
In addition to the fragmented, partial, internal working of the Spirit of God in the members of the Body of Christ there is also a total, corporate ministry of the Body.
Many of us may be familiar with the internal gifts and ministries of the Church. They are set forth in Romans, Chapter 12; First Corinthians, Chapters 12 and 14; and Ephesians, Chapter Four.
Let us think for a moment about the external, corporate ministry of the Body of Christ.
God is bringing the Body of Christ to unity and maturity in order to accomplish several major objectives. These objectives may be thought of as the external ministry or functioning or purpose of the Body.
A spiritual light for the nations of the earth (Rev 21:24).
An unblemished bride, a complement, for God’s Son (Ephesians 5:27).
An eternal temple for God Himself, built according to His precise specifications in Christ (Ephesians 2:22).
Righteous rulers who will govern wisely and well the nations of the earth (Rev 5:10).
Judges who will judge the conduct of men and angels (Rev 20:4).
A vehicle through which God can destroy the devil and all his works (Rom 16:20).
The means by which the Father will become All in all in Christ throughout His universe (Ephesians 1:23).
The means by which the Father will sum up and center the heavens and the earth in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:10).
The Body of God’s eternal Servant who will plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, You are My people (Isaiah 51:16).
We believe the first, external, corporate ministry of the Body of Christ will be the earth-wide witness to all God’s people, and to the entire world, of the soon return of Christ to the earth; of the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth; and of the approaching terror of the Day of Divine wrath.
Every member of God’s elect, of the Body of Christ, of the warlike remnant being drawn out from the churches in the present hour, is an integral part of the end-time witness.
Up to now we have been accustomed to being given a “piece” of ministry, as it were, for the perfecting of the Body itself. There are those who, in this fragmented distribution, serve as prophets in the internal working of the Body. They build up the body with their gifts.
But when we come to the external, corporate ministry of the Body of Christ, we are not given a fragment of the witness. It is not given to one saint to be the light of the world; to another to be the Bride of the Lamb; to another to be the Temple of God.
To be continued #4

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