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Hosted by PAULFROMNYS|Malachi 3:16-18/Bible talk

Based on Malachi 3:16-18 I believe the Lord will harken to us as we consider his word together.

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The Servant of the Lord #5   T. Austin Sparks

Started 1/20/22 by PAULFROMNYS; 136 views.
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3. The Church as a Building.
"The household of God, built upon the foundation... Jesus Christ the chief corner, in Whom all the building fitly framed... an holy temple... in Whom ye are builded" (Eph. 2:19-22).
"Living stones built up a spiritual house."
"The stone which the builders rejected" (1 Peter 2:5,7) etc.

4. The individual believer is a building, a temple (1 Cor. 3:16).

5. The Servant of the Lord is a builder; as above.

There is a less obvious phase of this subject which contains some important factors. This is in a word used very frequently, namely the word which is usually translated "edify." The verb or its substantive "edification" occurs in some form or other about twenty times in the New Testament, and in every instance except one it is used by Paul. The one exception is in Acts 9:31, a book written undoubtedly under Paul's superintendence. The fact is important in as much as it implies or declares a unity of truth and revelation. The nature of the Church is thus at least signified throughout Paul's letters, and it gives a distinct "Pauline" flavour to the Hebrew letter.

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If we give some examples and the reader will change the italicised words to "build" or its correlatives, much light will be gained and the true idea of the work will be seen.

"The churches had rest and were edified" (Acts 9:31).

"We do all things for your edifying" (2 Cor. 12:19).

"Edify one another" (1 Thess. 5:11).

"For the edifying of the Body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12).

"Unto the edifying of itself in love" (Ephes. 4:16).

"All things may be lawful but all things do not edify" (1 Cor. 10:23).

"We ought not to please ourselves, but let everyone try to please his neighbour for his good unto edification" (Rom. 15:1,2).

"Let us follow after the things wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19).

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Having said this much we proceed to speak of a very vital and indispensable qualification which is basic to this great and responsible ministry. This spiritual equipment is related to the whole subject of God's building in both Old and New Testaments.

The eternal conception of the Church as a spiritual house or building runs through all the Scriptures, both historic, poetic, and prophetic. When Solomon was chosen to build a house for the Name of the Lord the one supreme need he recognised to be "a wise and an understanding heart." When he wrote the book of Proverbs his theme was "Wisdom" personified. There is a strong prophetic strain in this book. It is generally recognised that the key to the book is to change the title "Wisdom" to "Jesus Christ." By so doing the book leaps into new meaning and life. Take in connection with our theme such a passage as "Wisdom hath built her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars." Here is a forecast of Him whose name is "Wisdom." "Christ the Wisdom of God." "Made unto us Wisdom," building His Church upon the sevenfold glory of His Person. We would earnestly urge that "wisdom" in the N.T. be "looked up." It will be found to be related to "the mystery" and both the "wisdom" and the "mystery" are Christ. Both have been hidden away by God from the ages and generations. Hidden in all the Scriptures, and Paul distinctly says that at the appointed time even the Prophets divulge the secret thing through the chosen interpreters (Rom. 16:25-26). This is connected with the unveiling of the "Church which is His Body." Now Paul as the elect vehicle of this revelation prays for those to whom he writes with regard to it, that they might be given "a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened" (Eph. 1:17,18).

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To pursue this truth is to have abundant proof that -

1. The building of a spiritual house is in progress.

2. God has had this matter in mind from all eternity and has kept it in mind all down the ages,

3. The present age is that which is characterised by-
(a) The revelation of the purpose;
(b) The specific activity of God in this connection.

4. The work which is supremely co-operation with God is that of gathering out the "living stones" and bringing them into corporate relationship.

5. For this work there must be-
(a) A revelation of "the Eternal purpose" to all who are to be "workers together... with God."
(b) A spiritual equipment with a wisdom which infinitely transcends the wisdom of this world.