In the recovery of the church we are building up the church as the house of God and the kingdom of God for God to gain an expression and representation on earth even as He intended from the beginning (Gen. 1:26).
The books of Ezekiel and Nehemiah are considered the books of recovery, telling us what happened after the people of Israel were released to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and the city of God.
The Lord’s recovery today is for the people of God to return to the genuine ground of oneness in the Body of Christ, with the riches of Christ enjoyed and experienced by them, for the building up of the church as the house of God and the kingdom of God.
God’s people fell into captivity, and there’s the need for recovery, for returning to the original intention and purpose of God to have the church.
When we come into the Lord’s recovery, we enjoy the fulfillment of all the types of the Passover, crossing the Red Sea, the manna, the living water, the taking of the good land, the building of the house of God, etc.
As seen in the books of recovery, Ezra and Nehemiah, there’s a process of recovery, a process of returning from Babylon – the land of division and confusion – and coming back to Jerusalem, the land of oneness, with the vessels of gold and silver (the riches of Christ), to be re-educated and reconstituted to build the house of God and the city of God.
God doesn’t want merely to build something outward, a group of people, but He wants to re-educate and reconstitute His people so that they would be a proper people who know how to build and be the church as the house of God (the Body of Christ) and the city of God (the kingdom of God).
Brother Martin Luther saw something concerning the Babylonian captivity of the church, and he wrote a book concerning this; he took a strong stand for this, and many were able to see the light of truth because of him.
Today we want to go on in the Lord’s recovery to forsake not only the sacraments and the evil practices and teachings in the Roman Catholic Church, but return to the genuine ground of oneness, enjoy and experience the riches of Christ, and build up the church as the house of God and the city of God.
We want to come back not just to the word of God as such, but also to come back to the center and goal of the revelation of God’s word, the hidden mystery in God’s heart, which is for God to gain the church – this is His delight, His good pleasure.
In the Recovery of the Church we are Building up the Church as the House of God, the Body of Christ, the Temple of God
In Ezra we see that God has stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus to send back and release the people of God, Israel, to go back to their country and rebuild the temple of God and the city of God. He gave an edict that all those who are stirred up by the Lord from among His people would go back and do the work of building (Ezra 1:2-3).
Today God is also stirring up the spirit of many of His seeking ones throughout the world to rise up and go up from division and confusion, and return to the ground of oneness, with the riches of Christ they have enjoyed and experienced, to rebuild the church as the house of God and the kingdom of God.
The return and recovery to the ground of oneness is not for the sake of the ground, but for the sake of the building up of the church as the house of God, His temple. God desires to gain a dwelling place, a home, on earth, and His people need to build up and become the church as the Body of Christ, the house of God.
The recovery and rebuilding of the church is typified in the Old Testament by the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem with the temple. The temple in Jerusalem is a type of the church as the house of God, the Body of Christ, and the city of Jerusalem is a type of the church as the kingdom of God.
In the recovery of the church today we are building up the Body of Christ, the temple of God, the house of God (see Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 3:9-17).
God desires to gain a building, a temple, a habitation, His home for His rest and satisfaction, where He can be expressed. This is the church today.
For the building up of the church Christ works day and night (Matt. 16:18), and He has also given some gifts to the Body, such as the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.
We all need to be perfected by Christ through the gifted members to arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, that we may be no longer little children tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching in the sleight of men.
May we be those who hold to truth in love, that is, hold to the healthy teaching in God’s word as we return to God’s original intention, so that we may grow up into Him in all things – who is the Head, Christ!
Out of Christ, the Head, all the Body is joined together and is being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, and each member causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.
Christ is already laid as the foundation, and now we need to take heed on how we build: we need to build with gold, silver, and precious stones, so that we may build up the church as the temple of God for God’s expression.
Lord Jesus, thank You for bringing us back to the genuine ground of oneness to experience You and enjoy Your riches for the building up of the church as the house of God, the temple of God. We hold You as the Head; we receive our supply from You and we allow the gifted members to perfect us that we may all arrive at the oneness of the faith! Lord, perfect us, grow in us, and build us up into Your house, Your habitation, Your dwelling place, for Your expression! Build us up as Your house in the local churches for Your corporate expression on earth.
In the Recovery of the Church we are Living the Kingdom Life to Reign in Life in the Reality of the Kingdom
On one hand, we are being recovered to the genuine ground of oneness to build up the church as the house of God, and on the other, we live the kingdom life to reign in life in the reality of the kingdom (Rom. 14:17; 5:17; see Matt. 5:3, 8; 6:6, 14-15, 20-21; 7:13-14).
After the recovery of the building of the temple, there still is the need for the rebuilding of the city, for without the city, there’s no protection for the temple. The temple is the church as the place of the Lord’s presence, His habitation, and His rest; the temple needs the city to protect it and safeguard it.
In Eph. 2:19 and 1 Tim. 3:15 we see the church as the house of God, and in the last two chapters of Revelation we see a city, and there’s no more temple, for the city has become the enlargement of the temple (see Rev. 21:22).
The church needs to be built up and lived out as the city, which is the kingdom of God.
On one hand the church is the mingling of God with man for God to be enlarged and expressed in humanity through the church as the house of God, the temple of God. On the other hand, the living of the church is the kingdom of God; the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).
The kingdom of God is the living of the church; according to the context of Rom. 14, the Body life is the kingdom life, and the kingdom life is the reality of the Body life.
When we allow the authority of the kingdom of God to operate in us, what will characterize our daily life is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
To have such a living is to establish the kingdom life, as typified in the book of Nehemiah by the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. Without the city, the house is not safeguarded and protected; the house of God needs to be safeguarded by the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is the very reality of the house of God.
As we have returned to the place God has ordained and we enjoy and experience the riches of Christ, we build up the church as the house of God for the kingdom of God, so that God can have a place on earth where He can rule and exercise His authority.
We need to enjoy the mingling of God with man and allow God to grow, expand, and be enlarged in us, until the house of God becomes the city of God. Our living today should be a living in the kingdom of God, the living of the kingdom life, for the building up of the church as the city of God, the kingdom of God.
In the recovery of the church we are living the kingdom life to reign in life in the reality of the kingdom of God. This is for the fulfillment of God’s original intention to have a corporate man that expresses Him in His image and represents Him with His dominion (Gen. 1:26).
We are being brought back to God’s original intention, which is to have a corporate man to express Him and represent Him; in the recovery of the church we build up the church as the house of God for His expression, and we live the kingdom life for God’s kingdom to be brought in, for His dominion.
Lord Jesus, may we in the recovery of the church life the kingdom life to reign in life in the reality of God’s kingdom. Operate in us with the authority of the kingdom and remove any rebellion and insubordination to Your authority. Lord, may Your kingdom come in the church today, and may the kingdom life be the reality of our living in the church. Gain the building up of the church as the house of God for Your corporate expression, and as the kingdom of God for Your representation with Your dominion!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by James Lee for this week, and portions from, The Conclusion of the New Testament, msg. 234 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Recovery of the Church (2017 fall ITERO), week 4, The Recovery of the Church as God’s House and God’s City as Portrayed in Ezra and Nehemiah.
- Hymns on this topic:
# This is the time for building the temple of the Lord / That all the local churches may fully be restored. / ’Tis not the time for our house while God’s house lieth waste— / O brothers, for God’s building, rise up, make haste! (Hymns #1254)
# In Jerusalem, chosen of the Lord, / Now the temple of the Lord build up! / Serve with all the saints, share in one accord, / Now the temple of the Lord build up! (Hymns #1252)
# We’re in the local church, / God’s chosen ground; / Here we have Christ as life / And blessings all abound. / “In spirit, on the ground” / Our battle cry; / And we will overcome the enemy / To bring the kingdom nigh. (Hymns #1260)
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