As believers in Christ we are both the materials for God’s building and those who cooperate with the Lord to be co-builders with Him doing the noble work of building up the church with God Himself as our wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill.
We see this in picture in Exodus, where God gave Moses the pattern of the tabernacle on the mountain, and then God prepared a certain man called Bezalel to oversee and do the work of the building up of the tabernacle.
This one was filled with the Spirit of God, and the manifestation of this filling was that he had wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and all kinds of workmanship to fashion skillful designs, to work in gold and in silver and in bronze, and in cutting of stones for setting and in the carving of wood, to work in all kinds of workmanship (see Exo. 31:1-11).
Bezalel was a “master builder”, a leader in God’s building, one who oversaw the work of the building of the dwelling place of God.
The apostle Paul was also such a master builder who was given the pattern of the building up of the church (which he called, the economy of God – Eph. 1:10, 3:9, 2 Tim. 1:4) and who wrote letters to the churches to admonish, warn, encourage, and minister Christ according to the need.
Today we need to be those who are in the shadow of God’s grace, enjoying Him, and partaking of what He is, so that we may be protected and kept away from any things that Satan brings in to disturb us, and may be kept in a situation of peace for the building up of the church.
As builders of the dwelling place of God, the church, we need to be persons full of light, having a pure heart with no dark part in it; we need to open to the Lord to be illuminated by Him and have a single heart toward Him.
Furthermore, we need to enjoy the freedom the Lord gave us: freedom from the law, true rest and enjoyment in Christ, and the full enjoyment of the living Christ who is our God-allotted portion. Amen, may the Lord make us such ones, such builders of His dwelling place today!
Doing the Noble Work of Building up the Church by the Spirit as our Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Skill
The building up of the church as God’s dwelling place is a noble work to be done by all of God’s people (see 1 Cor. 3:10; Eph. 4:12-16); however, the wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill for this work must not be from our natural man or ability but it must be God Himself as the Spirit to us (see Col. 1:28-29).
First of all, if we want to build up the church as the dwelling place of God, we need to be filled with the Spirit; from this Spirit that fills us we then can be filled with wisdom and with understanding and with knowledge and with all kinds of skills needed for the building up of the church.
We cannot and should not try to build up the church by our natural life and ability or in our natural man; nothing natural is accepted by God in His building, and nothing of our natural ability is capable of building God’s dwelling place.
It is only the Spirit of God that can build His own dwelling place through us. We need to be filled with the Spirit and exercise our spirit to cooperate with the Lord in our daily life so that He may fill us with knowledge that comes from the Spirit, the wisdom that comes from the Spirit, and the skills that come from the Spirit for the building up of the church.
It is one thing to have knowledge, that is, to know the Bible and the main doctrines in God’s word, but it is another thing to have understanding; we may know all the verses in a certain chapter in the Bible, but we may not understand what the main burden and message is in that chapter.
Furthermore, we may have the knowledge and understanding of a certain matter, but we may not have the way to deal with that matter, that is, we may not have wisdom to take care of a certain situation.
If we want to take care of some young people, we may understand what their situation is and we may have the Lord’s wisdom through the Spirit how to care for them, but we also need the skills for us to not over-feed them or loose them to the world.
We may understand what the problem is, but we may not have the wisdom to help others grow in life and gain more of Christ. This is why there’s a need for more mature saints, especially elders and serving ones, who are filled with the Spirit and have knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, so that they may know, understand, be wise, and have the skills needed to care for the church in the Lord for the building up of the Body.
We need to remember: only the Spirit of God can build His own dwelling place through us. It is not by might nor by power but by the Spirit that the building of the church can take place (Zech. 4:6; Eph. 4:4, 30); therefore, we need to be filled with the Spirit and allow the Spirit to spread into all our being to saturate us and permeate us, and the knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and skills of the Spirit will become ours in the Body for the building up of the church.
Lord Jesus, cause us to realize that only the Spirit of God can build His own dwelling place, and He does so in us and through us. Amen, Lord, we open to You and we give ourselves to You to be filled with the Spirit! Fill us and saturate us with the Spirit until the knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and skills of the Spirit become our knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and skills for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ, God’s dwelling place on earth today!
Having the Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge of the Spirit to Build up the Church
Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God, and this filling was manifested in his wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and all kinds of skills and workmanship that were useful for the building of the tabernacle.
Building up the church according to the pattern the Lord showed us in the New Testament, that is, according to God’s New Testament economy, is not something simple; it involves the saints being filled with the Spirit and having wisdom, understanding, and knowledge from the Spirit, with the skills needed for the building up of the church.
Knowledge is a vast field. Who can claim to know everything related to the building up of the church? It is impossible for anyone to have such a complete knowledge….Do you understand the significance of working in gold, silver, and bronze? Do you know how to cut stones for setting? Do you know how to carve wood? Do you know what it means in Exodus 35:35 to work in blue, in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen? The significance of all these matters has much to do with the building up of the church today. Elders, do you really know what sanctification is? Do you know what is the “wood” used in the building of God today? You may realize that wood signifies humanity, but do you know how to “carve” humanity? (Witness Lee, Life-Study of Exodus, msg. 170)
For example, a married couple may have a difficult time in their married life, arguing all the time; when they come to fellowship, do we really understand their problem?
We may know them for a long time, we may know where they come from, and we may even know some of the causes for their situation, but do we understand their situation, do we have the wisdom from the Lord to help them, and do we have the knowledge how to help them grow in life and gain more of Christ?
We all have problems, whether married or not, and we all need to fellowship and get help; however, do we have in the church life some who have the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding from the Lord to see, know, understand, and be able to help us in our Christian life?
In order to build up the church, all the believers must know how to use the divine nature as the gold, the redemption of Christ as the silver, and God’s righteous judgment as the bronze (see 1 Cor. 3:12) as the materials for God’s work.
We can’t be those using our natural understanding, our opinions, or even our emotions and “shoulders to cry on” without the filling of the Spirit in the church life.
We need to be filled with the Spirit so that we may be able to help the saints to be transformed into stones and to be adjusted to fit into God’s building (the reality of having the skills to cut the stones).
We ourselves need to be buildable and built up, and we need to be in coordination with the saints, being able to coordinate in the Body and not doing things independently from the Body. We need to have the wisdom to work on the humanity of the saints for the sake of God’s building (the reality of “carving the wood”).
For this, we need to eat and drink the Lord’s humanity so that we may be constituted with His humanity, and then flow it out to others for them to receive it and be filled with it.
We need to be one with the Lord to produce finer virtues in human character with the uplifted humanity of Christ, which are needed for the building up of the church as God’s dwelling place (see Eph. 4:2 and the footnote there).
In order for us to do the noble work of the building up of the church, we need to remain in a low estate, be meek, not fight for ourselves, and exercise the virtues in the humanity of Jesus when dealing with others; furthermore, we need to cooperate with the Lord for the finer virtues in the Lord’s humanity to be produced in the saints for the building up of the church.
Lord Jesus, we admit we are so short of the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and skills needed for the building up of the church as the dwelling place of God. Fill us with the Spirit, Lord, and keep us exercising our spirit to drink and eat Your humanity so that we may be Jesusly human in the church life. May we be those who are transformed into stones to be adjusted to fit into God’s building. May we be those whose humanity is proper, with fine virtues in human character with the uplifted humanity of Christ, for the building up of the church as God’s dwelling place!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ed M. for this week, and Life-study of Exodus, msg. 170 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), msg. 11 (week 47 in the HWMR), The Workers of the Tabernacle and the Sabbath in Relation to the Building Work.
- Hymns on this topic:
# As for the church, I need / Thy revelation more, / The Body-life to know, / Thy wisdom to explore. / I long to be unveiled, / In everything made clear, / No more to be deceived / Or to my pride adhere. (Hymns #426)
# In the Spirit of this Jesus / Is His human life so fine. / Human virtues have been added / To the Spirit all divine. / What abundance in this Spirit, / Rich supply for all mankind! / How mysterious! Yet how real! / Such a man now lives in me. / Into all my heart He’s spreading— / He, my human life, to be. / Hallelujah! Hallelujah! / I will praise unceasingly. (Hymns #1174)
# Thy Spirit will me saturate / Every part will God permeate, / Deliv’ring me from the old man, / With all saints building for His plan. (Hymns #501)
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