In order for us to do the building work of God’s house, we need to be wise in heart, receive wisdom, understanding, and grace from God, and we need to be stirred up in our heart to do the noble work of building up the church; above all, we need to be emptied and unloaded so that we may be freshly filled with the Spirit of God for God’s building.
What a noble work we are called to do: we were chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and we are being renewed, transformed, and conformed to the image of Christ so that we may do the noble work of building up the church, the dwelling place of God.
We need to realize that it is only the Spirit of God who can build His dwelling place through us, and therefore we need to pay the price to be filled with the Holy Spirit and be saturated with the Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, knowledge, and skills coming from the Spirit to build up the church.
The type of the tabernacle in the Old Testament, together with the workers of the tabernacle, is such a wonderful picture of how the church is being built today.
Christ Himself builds His church (Matt. 16:18), but He has also chosen some Spirit-filled people to be co-master builders, some who have the vision of God’s New Testament economy as the blueprint of the building and who oversee, encourage, warn, and guide those who do the building work.
All believers in Christ are qualified to do the building work of God, no matter their background, descent, age, or race; whether high or low, rich or poor, wise or not so smart, all those who have been regenerated by the Lord can and should participate in the noble work of the building of God’s house, the church.
Bezalel was a master builder chosen by God and filled with the Spirit and will all kinds of skills, workmanship, and wisdom and understanding; he had a co-master builder called Oholiab who, even though was a descendent from a low tribe in Israel, was also filled with the Spirit and had many skills and wisdom and understanding for the building of God’s house.
May we be such ones, who are filled with the Spirit and who have the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the Spirit for the building up of the church as the dwelling place of God.
Receiving Wisdom, Understanding, and Grace from God to Build up the Church
If we read Exo. 36:1-2 we will see the qualifications of the workers of the tabernacle: they had to wise in heart by receiving wisdom, understanding, and grace from God, and they had to be stirred up in their heart to do the noble work of the building up of the tabernacle.
It wasn’t only Bezalel and Oholiab, the master builders, who were qualified to work for the building of the house of God, but all those who were wise in heart and were stirred up in their heart to do this noble work.
In order for us to build up the church as the dwelling place of God, we need the grace of God – we need the enjoyment of God, and we need to labor by the grace of God (1 Cor. 3:9-10; 15:10, 58). We need to ask the Lord for wisdom and knowledge that we may know how to contact God’s people.
Just as king Solomon asked for wisdom from God how to go out and come in among His people (2 Chron. 1:10), so we need to take Christ as the One in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden (Col. 2:2-3) – take this One as our wisdom in contacting God’s people.
We need to receive wisdom, understanding, and grace from God, so that we may build up the church. For us to build God’s dwelling place, we must be filled with the Spirit of God (see Exo. 31:3); for us to be filled with the Spirit, we need the willingness to do something for God’s building (Exo. 31:6).
In Mal. 3:13-14 the people of Israel admitted that they did many things for God with a mournful heart; we need to be saved from walking mournfully before the Lord when we serve Him. It is possible for us to do something for the Lord in a mournful way.
We need to be willing to do something for God’s building so that we may be filled with the Spirit of God, and we need to do it joyfully – filled with the joy of the Lord and not in a mournful way.
We need to come to the Lord and spend time with Him so that He may stir up our heart to do the noble work of building up the church as His dwelling place. The more we spend time with the Lord, the more we will be infused with His desire to build the church, for He cares only for one thing today: the building up of the church as the Body of Christ.
We need to tell the Lord,
Lord, grant us the willingness to do something for Your building. Fill us with wisdom, understanding, and grace for the building up of the church. Stir us in our heart to do the noble work of building up the church. Lord, give us wisdom and knowledge that we may know how to contact every one of Your people. Be our wisdom and our knowledge in contacting the saints for the building up of the church. Keep us contacting You, having fellowship with You, and being filled with the Spirit so that we may be those who co-build the church together with You!
Being Willing to be Emptied to be Freshly Filled with the Spirit to Build the Church
God stirs us up for His building, and He wants to use us, but He doesn’t want to use our natural ability or zeal – He wants us to just be open vessels which He can fill and flow through for the building up of the church.
God will use only you, not what you have or can do. Therefore, you must empty yourself. To empty yourself means to have an absolute openness to God….What part of you needs to be unloaded? Your capability, your knowledge, your wisdom, your education. It is only when you are empty that God can come in to fill you. When God fills you, it is His Spirit who fills you….We need to empty ourselves, knowing that whatever we can do is not counted; it is not only rejected but even condemned by God. Whatever the old man can do is condemned by God. We have to realize this. Then we shall see our need of God and will pray constantly and instantly. Witness Lee, Practical Talks to the Elders, ch. 7
How can we be filled with the Spirit of God if we are so full of our ideas, opinions, ability, and desire to do this and that for God? Every day and all the time we need to learn to empty ourselves, unload everything of ourselves before the Lord in our fellowship with Him, and be freshly filled with the Triune God through much prayer.
Our Christian life is a life of prayer – if we are short of prayer, we are short of the Spirit (Col. 4:2). In 2 Kings 4:1-7 the widow who had a small jar full of oil could fill all the empty vessels which she borrowed from her neighbours, but when there was no more empty vessel, the oil flow stopped.
When we stop having a vacancy in our being for the Spirit of God, the filling of the Spirit stops. If we have an unlimited vacancy in our being, the Holy Spirit will fill us in an unlimited way.
We need to provide the Spirit a place to work in us; we need to pray and ask the Lord to dig deeper in us and create more vacancy in us so that the Holy Spirit can fill us. For this, we need to be emptied of anything of ourselves and our past experiences, relying on nothing but on the Spirit’s fresh filling.
We need to have the instant and constant prayer, realizing that we need the Lord to fill us and rejecting ourselves so that we may be filled with the Spirit. When we are emptied and have a prayerful spirit, we will have a fresh filling of the Spirit, and whatever we say and do will be for the building up of the church.
We simply need to be willing to be emptied and unloaded so that we may be freshly filled with the Spirit to build up the church as the dwelling place of God. Our lack is this continual prayer; we are short of prayer, and therefore we are short of the Spirit.
When we come to the Lord and open to Him in prayer, allowing Him to expose the things we need to drop and reject in our being, we will receive the real wisdom and understanding of the Lord concerning the situation, concerning people, and concerning the church.
May the Lord keep us in a prayerful spirit with a prayerful attitude so that we may pray instantly (moment-by-moment) and constantly (day-by-day), seeking the fresh filling of the Spirit for the building up of the church.
When we are willing and empty and continuously praying, we have the wisdom to work in the divine nature and to minister to the needy ones the very Christ they need; we will not minister or speak in a general way, but we will have the word from the Lord for those in need.
We need to be filling, empty, and continuously praying, and we will be filled with the Spirit of God; then, we will have the wisdom, understanding, and skills needed for the building up of the church as the dwelling place of God.
Lord Jesus, make us willing to be emptied and unloaded so that we may be freshly filled with the spirit to build up the church as the dwelling place of God! Oh Lord, may we be filled with the Triune God every day and all the time! Keep us in a prayerful spirit, always seeking to be unloaded and emptied before You in prayer so that we may be freshly filled with the Spirit. We want to have the wisdom that comes from the Spirit so that we may work in the divine nature and minister to the needy ones the particular Christ they need for their growth in life and God’s building!
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 Practical Talks to the Elders, ch. 7 (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:
# Lord Jesus Christ, we seek Thy face; / Within the veil we bow the knee; / Oh, let Thy glory fill the place, / And bless us while we wait on Thee. / Shut in with Thee far, far above / The restless world that wars below; / We seek to learn and prove Thy love, / Thy wisdom and Thy grace to know. (Hymns #773)
# Oh to be but emptier, lowlier, / Mean, unnoticed—and unknown, / And to God a vessel holier, / Filled with Christ and Christ alone! / Naught of earth to cloud the glory, / Naught of self the light to dim, / Telling forth His wondrous story, / Emptied to be filled with Him. (Hymns #589)
# Praying always in the spirit, / Never by our human thought! / Fellowship with God the Spirit / Only thus to us is brought. / Praying always in the spirit, / Thus expressing God’s desire; / Staying with the Lord in spirit, / We’ll be wholly set afire. (Hymns #780)
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