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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Body of the Anointed One, #3
And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3—NIV)
The great need today is for the sheep gate, the members of the Body, to be built into oaks of righteousness, the stature of the fullness of Christ. Only then can the nations of the earth be addressed properly.
The Christian believers are for the most part a valley of very dry bones. These bones will live when the ministries and gifts are restored to the churches.
There is an emphasis today on the fivefold or fourfold ministry: the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, or pastor-teachers as you will.
This is a step in the right direction but there is death in the pot. The specifying of a fivefold ministry distinct from the other gifts falls too readily into the clergy-laity distinction, one of the more destructive of the Christian traditions.
Let us lean rather on the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. There we have apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healings, helps and so forth, all in the same category. This categorization reveals that the list of the five (or four) ministries in the fourth chapter of Ephesians is to be viewed in a more offhand manner, not as five clerical offices somewhat superior to the other manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
Thus the Body of Christ is an entity, not a general term for the multitude of Christian denominations. Our observation is that most believers today are not functioning members of the Body of Christ. They are members of the Christian religion but they hardly are a covenant of God with the nations of the earth. They are spiritual babies.
The face of Christianity is changing. That which sufficed previously no longer is adequate. Whoever would be a member of the Body of Christ must mentally go past all he or she equates with being a Christian. It is time for fierce, determined consecration.
There never (to our knowledge) has been a time in the history of the Christian Church when all the ministries and gifts were functioning. Since the Body cannot come to the stature of the fullness of Christ until the ministries and gifts are functioning, the Body has not as yet come to full stature. We believe we have arrived at a new day—a day of bringing into view the ministries and gifts of the Spirit listed by the Apostle Paul.
Here is a focus of consecration for you: read the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. Choose a gift or ministry. Then set yourself to pray for this gift each day if only for five minutes. Tell the Lord that as soon as the gift is manifested in your life you will make the operation of it the most important aspect of your life, waiting on Him each day for wisdom to serve. If the Lord has some other ministry in mind for you He will steer you. But He cannot steer you until you are in motion, just like a ship.
To be continued.