Chapter TEN CHRIST – THE HEAD OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS
“Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of Thine anointed.
For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” *** Psalm 84:9- 10
The Psalmist appeals to our God to look upon the face of His anointed ones, the Christ-ones, in the earth; those who have put off the old, Adamic nature, the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lust, *** Ephesians 4:22; those who have put on the new man which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness, *** Colossians 3:10. It is the new man who will enter into the courts of God’s presence. No flesh will enter in. Paul wrote, “That no flesh should glory in His presence.” *** I Corinthians 1:29
Those who are His true anointed ones will enter in. The Psalmist wrote, “A day in Thy courts is better than a thousand.” The Psalmist caught a glimpse of the permanent dwelling place of God. He declared he would rather be a doorkeeper in the courts of His presence for one day, than to live one thousand years in the tents of wickedness. When he spoke of the tents of wickedness, he was referring to this tabernacle of flesh we reside in during our temporary, fleshly existence. His desire was not to have the place at the head of the table. He would accept the lowest position of doorkeeper in His court, just to be in His presence.
If we could only have that same glimpse of the presence of God, we would no longer desire to dwell in these tents of wickedness. If we would grasp the vision of His kingdom which He is instilling in each of His anointed ones, we would truly press on to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. His kingdom is growing every day in the recesses of our being without outward observation. We are coming to the place where we are no longer desiring the things of this temporal life, but we are desiring the fullness of the revelation of God in our lives, to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death. *** Philippians 3:10
In the book of proverbs we are informed,
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” *** Proverbs 29:18
The word vision means “revelation”. God has given us many visions and revelations in His Word. The people are perishing, spiritually speaking, because they do not seek God’s revelation found in His Word.
God’s whole Word speaks of order. He gives us direct revelation as to His established order in our relationship to each other. The vision or revelation of the one body concept of the Body of Christ is totally foreign to the church system today. The only hope most of the church has is dying and going to heaven; and “when we all get to heaven what a glorious day that will be. Then God will make us all one, and we will live happily ever after.” Sounds like a fairy tale? It is. But this is the only hope for a great percentage of those who are called Christians.
When talking about fellowshipping with one another, here and now, we are told we cannot do that because they are this or that denomination; or, they believe this, or don’t believe that. Therefore, fellowship is out of the question. But what is the vision, the revelation that God has put in His Word concerning His desired order for our relationship to each other? God spoke much through Paul concerning His Body which is called church. Paul informs us that we
“…are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” *** Ephesians 2:19-22
The question that needs to be asked is, “How many houses is our God building? Is He building one on every street corner, and one half-way down the block?” God is building one house. How is He building it? He is building it through the Spirit. God’s house will be built upon the Apostles (New Testament) and the Prophets (Old Testament), Jesus Christ being the chief-corner stone. God’s house is not being built upon man-made doctrines of do’s and don’ts, or even the Apostles creed. God’s house is being built on the entire Word of God, nothing lacking. And through the Spirit, this building will be fitly framed together.
The words “fitly framed” mean “to be closely joined together”. It groweth into an holy temple in the Lord. Paul further stated,
“From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” *** Ephesians 4:16
The Body will be closely joined together, but also compacted. Compacted means “to knit together, to closely entwine with one another”, where every joint supplieth; where every part of the Body is working, not just taking up space. Paul likened the Body of Christ to our personal body,
“For the body is not one member, but many.
If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him.
And if they were all one member, where were the body?
But now are they many members, yet but one body.” *** I Corinthians 12:14- 20
As we begin to ponder what Paul is saying, and as we apply it to our own body, we must ask, “What part of our body can we do without?” Doctors sometimes tell us that this part or that part is not important or necessary. But the body is never the same when that part is removed. We know, then, that God did not create any spare parts when He created our body. The same is true of the Body of Christ. When God ordained His Body, He did not make any spare, unusable parts. God has a purpose for every part, so that every joint may supply to the Body for which it was created. Paul went on to say,
“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.” *** I Corinthians 12:21-24
The feeble parts of the Body are also necessary. We should not think that some parts of the Body are less honourable than other parts of the Body, or not necessary. Paul admonishes us, “Upon those parts we are to bestow more honour.” God is beginning to temper His Body together. The word temper means “to blend or mix together”. In the denominational system, it is taught that we must all be the same, think the same, act the same, believe the same, dress the same. They would make cookie- cutter Christians of all who enter their doors; all cut from the same mold. Paul concluded,
“Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular.” *** I Corinthians 12:27
The word particular means “several parts”. All parts of the natural body do not look alike, nor do they have the same function. This was what Paul was trying to proclaim, that the Body of Christ is made up of comely parts and uncomely parts, parts that are seen and parts that are not seen, parts that can speak, parts that can hear, parts that can see and perceive. The Body needs every part so that the Body is not lacking in anything, or any ministry. Paul said, “…Every part maketh increase of the Body unto the edifying of itself in love,” *** Ephesians 4:16. That little four letter word, love, is the key to the Body of Christ. Without love, there will never be a Body of Christ. This is how the Body edifies (builds itself up); love. Paul wrote,
“That there should be no schism in the Body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” *** I Corinthians 12:25
The members of the Body of Christ should have the same care one for another; not every group in the Body only caring for itself. If we are to come into God’s order, we must have Christ as the head of our relationships to each other. When the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostles to write the New Testament, they used the term “one another” many times. By using this term, they cut across all denominational lines and addressed each member of the Body directly. At the Last Supper, Jesus gave us, His Body, a commandment,
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” *** John 13:34
Jesus gave us a new commandment. Many believe He gave the commandment that we are to love one another. But, for us to love one another was not a new commandment. John recorded that this commandment to love one another was established from the beginning, *** II John 6. The new commandment Jesus gave us was that we love one another as He has loved us. This was a new kind of love; a love that goes beyond the old “phileo”, carnal, brotherly love. Phileo love was the only love they knew in the Old Testament. Jesus gave us a new kind of love, AGAPE love. We are to love with the agape, benevolent, manifested love of the Father. This is the greater love Jesus spoke of,
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” *** John 15:13
Jesus said it is by our agape love for one another that the whole world will know we are His disciples, *** John 13:35. Today, we see more unity in the world than we do in those who are commanded by the Creator to love their brothers and sisters in Him. Paul wrote to the church at Rome,
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” *** Romans 12:10
We are to be kindly affectionate one to another. Kindly affectionate means “to love tenderly” as we do our children, and our parents whom we honour. We are to prefer one another. The word prefer means “to set before”. We are to give pre- eminence to our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are to do this in honor. Honor means “to value”. We should value our relationship to one another because of our relationship to the Father. And our relationships and fellowship should be based upon the common ground we have with our Father.
“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.” *** Romans 15:5
We are to be likeminded. The word likeminded is ISOPSUCHOS. ISOS means “equal” and PSUCHE means “soul”; or those of equal souls; those who have the changed minds, who no longer mind earthly things, *** Philippians 3:18-19. God desires that we commune with those who are likeminded of the same persuasion. Paul admonished the Galatians,
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” *** Galatians 6:2
If we are to fulfill the law of Christ, we need to learn to bear one another’s burdens. This does not mean, just to show up when there is work to be accomplished; although it is included in what Paul was conveying to the churches in Galatia. The deeper understanding of bearing one another’s burdens is to be those true yokefellows in time of need, when a brother or sister is going through a difficulty; spiritually, mentally, physically, financially and when God is bringing them to a place of change.
We need not to be as Job’s friends, whose only answer to Job’s problem was falsely accusing him of violating God’s order and commandments. These showed Job no love. They condemned Job’s condition instead of seeking godly wisdom in how they could edify and comfort Job in his time of trial. Many times when our brothers and sisters are facing trials, we are guilty of the same, instead of bearing one another’s burdens. Paul wrote to the Corinthians,
“How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” *** I Corinthians 14:26
If we are to fulfill the Law of Christ, we must learn that all things we do must be done to edify the Body. Paul wrote to the Romans,
“Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.” *** Romans 15:2
We are not only to edify one another, we are to please and do good to our neighbors, and,
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” *** Romans 12:18
God would have us live in peace. It is not possible at all times to live in peace with our neighbors, but we should endeavour and strive to do so.
“But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” *** Galatians 5:15
It seems the church takes great pleasure in biting and devouring one another. When a brother or sister falls, it seems to gratify many in the Body, as if their fall would raise them a little higher in the eyes of God. They become part of the mob that tears the fallen brother or sister to shreds. James wrote,
“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” *** James 3:10
Every word that proceeds out of our mouths should edify. If we bite and devour with our mouths, and we use our mouths for cursing, how can we, with the same mouth, bless God? As James stated, “These things ought not so to be.”
Paul wrote to the Ephesians,
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” *** Ephesians 4:2
We are to forebear one another in love. The word forebear means “to bear with and to endure”. We are to do this with lowliness, meekness and longsuffering. All three are fruit of the Spirit. We can only accomplish what God has intended in our walk in Him, by and through the Spirit of Grace.
“Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” *** Ephesians 4:32
We are admonished to be kind to one another. The word kind means “serviceable, pleasant and gracious”. These are godly traits that we are to show toward one another. We are to be tenderhearted toward one another. Tenderhearted means “compassionate, to show compassion, caring, forgiving one another” as God forgave us for Christ’s sake. We are not to hold grudges. We are to forgive totally, nothing held in reserve. Along with forgiving comes forgetting and restoration. If we fail to forgive, forget and restore, then we are not forgiving as God forgave us; and we are still in our sin. Jesus stated,
“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” *** Mark 11:26
If we fail to forgive our brothers and sisters the sins they have committed against us, the Father will not forgive the sins that we have transgressed against Him. Paul wrote,
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” *** Ephesians 5:21
We are to submit to one another. The word for submitting is HUPOTASSO and means “to rank under”. We are to submit to one another in the fear of the Lord. God commanded us to submit. If we do not keep His commandments, we are children of disobedience, and will suffer God’s wrath that comes upon the children of disobedience, *** Ephesians 2:2. Paul wrote to the Philippians,
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” *** Philippians 2:3
The word esteem means “to consider others better than yourselves”. This certainly does not mean to think everybody better than yourself, so that you are just a nothing to be trampled under foot. But we are to show consideration to others when they are in our presence. We are to edify, to lift up, not considering ourselves to be better, or in a higher position in God, but submitting to one another in the fear of God.
“Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” *** Hebrews 10:24
We are not to provoke to be provoking. Provoke means “to stimulate”. We are to stimulate by edification and the ministry of uplifting. We are to stimulate one another to love, and do the works the Father has for us to accomplish, as every joint supplies their part to the Body. James added,
“Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.” *** James 5:9
The word grudge means to “murmur, to show disgust” when something good comes to a brother or sister, that you feel they do not deserve, and we express a feeling of dissatisfaction. In these cases, we are warned, “The judge standeth at the door.” When we show contempt toward a fellow member of the Body because God has blessed them, or has raised them up, the judge is present to render judgment speedily in such matters.
God has given us His Word that we may know what is expected of us. His Word teaches us how we are to act toward one another so that we may be accepted in the “beloved” and become part of the Body God is raising up in the earth.
God gave the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to bring us into the
“…unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” *** Ephesians 4:13
We are to grow up into that perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. That perfect man Paul is speaking of is the Body of Christ. Paul did not say we were to grow up into perfect men, but man; one man, one Body, suitable for Christ to put His head upon. God has given us an image of that perfect man. James declared,
“But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” *** James 1:22-25
We need to be doers of the Word, not hearers only. If we only hear the Word, we are as a natural (adamio) man who views himself in a mirror. He may not like what he sees, but when he turns from the mirror, he forgets what kind of man he really is. And he goes his way, living in his world of fantasy, covered by the facade he has created to display before the world. But those who have looked into the perfect law of liberty, and continue to look into it, are those who,
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” *** II Timothy 2:15
These are those who become doers of the Word. The Word is applied to every part of their lives. These become the doers of the work and receive the blessing from God in their lives. God knows our hearts. Paul spoke of the mirror in our lives,
“We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” *** II Corinthians 3:18
We are to desire to come into the image of the Father we see in the mirror. God’s Word is the mirror He has set before us. As we behold the Father in the Word, we are to desire to change into that image. We must allow that image to be reflected back into our lives. If we allow this change in our lives, we will change from glory to glory. But if we remain behind a facade, we are only fooling ourselves. If we take our eyes off the Father we will forget what kind of man we are to become. What a tremendous need we have for change in our lives. Paul warns us,
“Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” *** Romans 12:2
We are not to conform to this world. We are to conform to the order God has set in His Word. We are to strive to have a renewed mind. Our minds are to be sanctified and cleansed by the washing of water by the Word. *** Ephesians 5:26
The purpose of the Word is to sanctify and cleanse us, to disclose unto us what is the good and acceptable will of God. Only the Word can change man back into the image of Christ. God did not conceal His Word from man. He wrote in simplistic terms so that His Word would be revealed to all who seek the truth through the Holy Spirit. Paul revealed to the Corinthians,
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” *** II Corinthians 4:3
The gospel of the kingdom is not hid to those who have spiritual eyes to look into the perfect law of liberty, and have the Father’s reflected change in their lives.
Jesus Christ came to earth that He might have a people; a people He could reconcile unto Himself. Most believe the Jews are God’s chosen people. God did choose the Israelites which most people call Jews. The beloved John wrote,
“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” *** John 1:11
Jesus was totally rejected by His natural people. But God would raise up another people. Peter was given the keys to the kingdom by Jesus. He spoke of a people whom God would raise up in the earth that would become a chosen generation. A generation has a time limit. Most believe that time limit to be forty years, others say fifty, some even account seventy years as a generation. Whatever time a generation is accounted for, we know by Peter’s words,
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” *** I Peter 2:9-10
This chosen generation of people will be God’s royal priesthood. They will become His holy nation, Israel. They will be a peculiar people. The word peculiar is PERIPOIESIS and means “God’s own possession, His purchased possession”. This people will show forth praises unto Him. The Psalmist spoke of this generation of people,
“This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.” *** Psalm 102:18
These people have been called out of the darkness of the worldly systems. These people have been called out of the darkness of the religious systems and the darkness of man’s self-centeredness, into the Light of the glorious gospel of the truth of God’s Word.
Peter wrote that this was a new people. They did not exist in times past, but are new in the earth; these who were not the people of God, but are now becoming the people of God; the Spiritual Israel who have obtained mercy from God. These have become God’s people because they have forsaken the old ways, and are walking in the way that Jesus walked. If we follow in His steps, they will lead to where He is, and that is on the right hand of the Father.
Jesus’ steps will lead us to the Last Supper where we must drink of His blood and partake of His body. His steps also require a trip through Gethsemane where we must lay down our will, that we may come into His perfect will. His steps lead us to Golgotha where our flesh, or our fleshly mind, must be crucified. This is the way into the courts of His presence.
Paul wrote to the Romans,
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of Light.” *** Romans 13:12
God is preparing those who will enter into His presence at this time. Now is the day of preparation, before His great feast, the Feast of Tabernacles. The trumpets are blowing and the angels are prepared to pour out the wrath upon all sin and ungodliness on this earth.
We are admonished to “Watch and Pray”, but even beyond that we are commanded to “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!” Jesus gave commandment to John on the Isle of Patmos,
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” *** Revelation 3:22
The Spirit is speaking loudly unto His church today.
For without repentance God cannot have “Order in His Court”.
1. What characterizes God’s “anointed ones?”
2. What is the vision, the revelation that God has put in His Word concerning His desired order for our relationship with each other? Scripture?
3. Describe the “house” that God is building.
4. Are any parts of the Body of Christ more important than others? Explain.
5. a. How does the Agape love Jesus taught differ from other forms of love?
b. What importance does seeing Agape love in us have for the world around us? c. How do we express that Agape love to each other? Name several examples.
6. All things we do must be done to ____________ ____________ ___________.
7. God would have us live in ____________.
8. Along with forgiving comes_____________ and ___________________.
9. Why has God given us His Word? (Check the text)
10. Explain the importance of being a “doer of the Word.”
11. Discuss the roles of natural and spiritual Israel.
12. Where will following the steps of Jesus lead the committed Christian?
Review the questions and outlined answers often allowing the Holy Spirit to ingrain them in your heart, helping you apply them in your life.