A Glorious Church
When the Lord, by the power of His Spirit, established “The Church,” it was the most glorious institution ever known on earth. In it was seen an exhibition of the manifold wisdom of God. His power was manifested though His manifest presence, and imparted ministry gifts and miracle working acts of God.
Those who became members did so by a mighty act of God alone, through an act of “regeneration” by the Holy Spirit.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5
These were translated out of the kingdom of Satan into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. Men and women who had been deeply steeped in idolatry, now delighted to become worshippers of the true God.
The kingdom of Satan was shaken as by a mighty earthquake. With consternation, demons retreated; for if this invincible moving of God continued, they soon would have no place left in which to exercise their dark power.
God’s love amongst this “Holy Company” of believers was so manifest that they were of one heart and one soul. Selfishness was drowned in sweet accord, through abiding love and consideration one for another. So bright and clear was the light of discernment that no dark hiding places remained. Ananias, Sapphira, Simon the sorcerer, Bar Jesus, and their like were exposed and kept at bay.
“And of the rest dared no man join himself to them….” Acts 5:13
Should the believing Pharisees attempt a law crusade, there followed an apostolic sentence from Heaven. Divine government had full sway. When the minister opened his mouth, there flowed a stream of the anointed Word of God, living and powerful, which penetrated and exposed the hearers to the very core of their being.
The knotty problems of wily foes surfaced, but wisdom adequate to every need operated. All the questions of Jewish law and tradition were so answered that they could say never a word. The gift of knowledge abounded, giving direction, disclosing conditions, and revealing hidden thoughts. Salvations, healings, and miracles flowed like a river. The blind saw, the deaf heard, the cripple leaped with joy. Divine order governed, as those who had been Satan-bound were loosed.
But, something strange entered the Church, now so full of glory. A Balaam with his illicit doctrines and proposals arose, and havoc followed. A love for power and the favor of man enticed the ministering class. Human rule crowded Divine government until the gifts waned.
Now the educated preacher (by man’s standards) who spoke did so solely by man’s skill. The Spirit waned. Kings and riches befriended the Church until she boasted, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” She educated the priesthood, but kept the common people illiterate.
When the Church was clothed with Jesus Christ, she shone with the light of the Sun of Righteousness. But now stripped of heavenly garments, she reflected but the light of the moon. Her purity, holiness, and the righteousness of Christ, had been exchanged for the rags of selfishness, pride, intolerance, and worldliness.
Yet there appeared a light upon the dim horizon. Reformation began and the power of God again sprang up into the earth. Martyrs multiplied in the ravaging fires of persecution. Great was the commotion as men trembled and shook under the mighty blasts of truth. But far too soon the new movement waned and the Church again drifted into doctrine and religious form.
Thus, over and again, has God moved upon chosen men to shed forth His light. In these last days, the Holy Spirit has again been poured out, as at the beginning. Great has been the manifestations of His power. Many were the in-gatherings; glorious the results.
But alas! Again failure is to be found at every turn. Those who thirst for power to rule, again become prominent. Rather than wait for the Holy Spirit to move, they grieve Him by taking charge, until confusion and discord reigns.
At the tower of Babel, a concerted sinful plot had been prevented, through Divine intervention; by a confusion of languages, which divided the children of men. Through miraculous gifts of “language” at Pentecost, God took the first step toward the restoration of the unity of the race, taking it from the realm of natural man, back into the realm of the supernatural.
The Church is God’s workshop, the ground floor of His activity, builded together for His habitation, through the Spirit. “You are God’s building ... You are God’s husbandry” (I Corinthians 3:9). Her activities are to be the activities of God, in great power. If one speaks, it is to be as the oracle of God. Prayer is to be a “praying in the Holy Spirit.” Worship is to rise up into the realm of “singing in the Spirit.” Believers are to be manifestly filled with praise, joy, and peace, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:4-13).
While the Holy Spirit remained the originator, motivator, and the bringer forth of all activity, all was well. It was “exceedingly glorious.” But there came a change, almost imperceptible at first, yet growing and increasing. The voice of man again began to be heard in the Church. Man’s choosing pushed aside the will of God. Human government displaced that beautiful Divine Government, filled with sweetness and love.
Again, the earthly, sensual wisdom of man has crowded out the tender Divine wisdom. In the midst of Church growth, all too many of His followers have lapsed into institutions whose foundations are built upon the charisma of personality, and the creeds of man. So confusing and perplexing are these, that only God will be able to lead the way back to what He originally intended to bring forth through “The Church.”
God will deliver, and His purpose will yet be accomplished. His glorious Church shall yet arise. Rejoice, all who love the Lord, and come into His order, for the time is short.
“Awake, awake; put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: ... Shake yourself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose yourself from the bands of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” Isaiah 52:1-2