By Roy Burner - Minister of the Gospel
A spiritual church has the empowerment towards the saving of the soul; through the Spirit of God, and utilizing the gifts of the ministry provided (1 Corinthians 12:28). There has been a withdrawal from the manifestation of God's Spirit in many churches, which no longer seek the power of God's Spirit; nor the gifts of the Spirit. (Comment)
The gift of the Holy Ghost (that of God's Spirit) was emphasized on the Day of Pentecost, when the apostle Peter said: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2:38-39).
Jesus said: You shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you (Matthew 28:18-20). This commission was not only given to the disciples of Jesus' day but also provided for the empowerment of the church to continue to evangelize the world!
Scripture reveals: You, as lively stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5).
I have been in the Pentecostal realm since being born-again, in Christ, in 1978. I have observed a vast difference, with the spiritual church concept lessening; not being of the same caliber, as previously witnessed!
A Sunday school commentary noted: Many Christians have been lulled into believing that all is well. There may be small victories, a revival here, a church doing a good work there, but where is the moral outrage necessary to petition God for a new reformation or another great awakening (that of a spiritual church)?
Scripture tells of the laying of the foundation for the temple of the Lord; with the people shouting with a great shout. But many of the ancient men, that had seen the first temple, when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice (Ezra 3:10-13).
It had been about 50 years since the first temple had been destroyed, and many of the older men (referred to as ancient men) who had seen the earlier buildings now wept because of the sorrowful contrast in size and splendor.
The prophet Haggai asked: Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing (Haggai 2:3)? A Bible commentary noted: Although the builder of the second temple prayed for the shekinah glory to return, there is no record that it ever did.
God, through the prophet Haggai, gave hope in saying: The glory of this latter house (or temple) shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord; and in this place will I give peace (Haggai 2:9). This prophecy would be fulfilled at the return of that glory in Christ Jesus!
Let us pray that the shekinah glory of
yesteryear will return with the renewal of a spiritual church rather than "Ichabod" being applied which means: The glory is departed.
Scripture reveals that Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). His love was reflected on the Cross of Calvary as He suffered and died for all of humanity. Had He desired He could have called twelve legions of angels to deliver him from that moment, but stated: How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, thus it must be (Matthew 25:53-54).
In the earlier days, which I mentioned, the manifestation of God's Spirit was readily manifested in a spiritual church. In a little Pentecostal church, where I yielded my life over to the Lord, during a Sunday morning worship service; God's Spirit moved in a mighty way. I felt as if I was temporarily placed on the cross of our Lord. I felt no pain or suffering, only an overflowing love that extended throughout all generations!
It was a brief moment in time but it made me realize Jesus' great love that extends to hearts and lives of all generations; those who will accept that love! His invitation is: I stand at the door, and knock (the door of one's heart); if any man hear my voice, and open the door (only you can), I will come into him, and will dine with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20).
Scripture reveals Jesus' desire for a spiritual church: That he might sanctify (or set it apart), and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:26).
Scripture reveals that the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Jesus made the atoning sacrifice, offered in His body, the punishment rightly due us for our sin, shedding His blood that the repentant in heart would be cleansed of all sin!
Scripture reveals: That he (or Christ) might present to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27). A spiritual church, holy, unblamable, and unreprovable in His sight; justified by His righteousness, washed in His blood, and sanctified by the Spirit of God!
Scripture reveals that the Church was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20). In whom the building (the Church as a whole) being joined together grows into a holy temple (a spiritual church) in the Lord. In whom you are built together for a dwelling place of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22).
Christians are viewed as a dwelling place in whom God lives through the Holy Ghost (or that of His Spirit). Jesus in knowing that he would no longer be with His disciples; after having ascended to be with His Father in heaven, said: It is expedient (or advantageous) for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (or that of God's Spirit) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you (John 16:7).
The promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. Scripture records: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they (about 120 gathered together) were all with one accord (or purpose) in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them cloven (or divided) tongues like as fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost (or that of God's Spirit), and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-3).
What a glorious day! The Church not just a social gathering with secular entertainment; but with the power of God's Spirit, a spiritual church. A new awakening provided by God, and the Lord Jesus Christ; through the Spirit of God, to being a blood-bought, soul-cleansed, Spirit-filled, child of God!
Let us pray for restoration towards a spiritual church, according to God's Word, as lively stones, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices (of praise and worship), acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5)!
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