The Rising Church

                             ‘The Rising Church’


“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”                                                                             Romans 5.v17


We think of death as an end of life, but when we understand death as separation, then we can see how death can reign in a life, for a life that is separated from the life and the truth of God, is a life in which death reigns. For an unbeliever, death reigns because their sin separates them from a holy God, until by grace, through faith they accept God’s solution to their sin separation problem; Jesus Christ as Saviour.

But we also are painfully aware that as believers, those who have accepted the presence of God into our spirits, we can also live in defeat, live a life where the Spirit of God, the life of God, is not seen or heard through us, but rather we live looking and sounding much like the world around us. Believers too can live as if separated from the Spirit of God. In fact, if we want to know why the gospel has not had more of an effect in this nation or others, we have to come to the conclusion that the messengers (the Church) are not living lives that demonstrate that the message is true. The Bible confirms that as believers we can either be conformed to this world, or be transformed into the likeness of Christ (Rom.12:2). So separation from the life of God can still affect a believer, in that the life of God, His Spirit, can dwell in their spirit, but not flow out into the realm of their soul (mind, will, emotions), nor their physical body, to a degree that is going to transform them and the people around them. The result is a believer, who does not manifest/display the life of Christ, the life of faith, the life of the Spirit, but lives the natural life in the natural realm, living more in fear than in faith, more aware of what they don’t have, rather than what they do.

So how separated does much of the body of Christ feel from the presence, the power, the Spirit of God? The answer can be heard in our prayers and songs which for years have cried out for God to ‘pour out His Spirit’, ‘send His fire’, ‘pour water on dry ground’ or ‘send revival’. We love to tell Him how thirsty we are for Him and how this land would change if only He would do something more, and send more of His Spirit to us. The problem is that much of this language and imagery comes from the Old Testament, from the cry of a people under a different covenant to us, a people who had not the Spirit of God indwelling them. It has been well said that there are two things we cannot ask of God. We cannot ask Him to do what He has already done, nor ask Him to do what He has told us to do.

We may be impressed by our zeal in crying out to God to ‘send His fire’, but the prophets of Baal also looked quite zealous as they sang the same tune (1Kings18:27-29). If the truth is that God has already sent His fire 2000 years ago (1Cor.6:19) then our prayers are likely to be as fruitful as theirs. The early Church did not pray for revival to come to an area, rather the Holy Spirit directed them to send a revived man into an area and the Spirit arrived in him! (Acts 8:5, Acts 13:2, Acts 15:12). The New Covenant way to bring a move of God to an area was to either send a believer full of the Spirit into that area (Luke10:2) or tell the one who was already there to stir up what is already in them (2Tim.1:6, Hebrews 10:24, 2Peter.1:13, 2Peter.3:1)

The Old Testament is full of images of God’s people crying out to Him to do something but New Testament epistles written to born-again believers tell us something radically different. They declare that we now have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph.1:3), that we are now complete in Him (Col.2:10), that the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead now lives in us (Rom.8:11), that we are now one spirit with Him (1Cor.6:17), that His divine power has already given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2Peter1:3), that we even now have the mind of Christ (1Cor.2:16). We are told in fact that we are now seated in heavenly realms with Him (Eph.2:6) and that as He is, so are we in this life (1John.4:17). As Paul had to declare to the Corinthians, so it appears the Holy Spirit still has to declare to the modern Church who cry out for God to send His Spirit, “ you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?”

1Cor.2:12 tells us of two spirits; ‘the spirit of the world’ and ‘the Spirit that comes from God’ and that the work of God’s Spirit is to convince us of how much God has freely given to us. In contrast, to be led by the spirit of the world, is never to be satisfied and continually looking for the next new thing (Acts 17:21). It is to live with a sense of lack that our thirst has yet to be satisfied. If that is what our confession is, through prayer or song, then we need to examine what water we have been drinking, for Jesus clearly told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she drank the living water that He would give her, then she would never be thirsty again for it would become in her a fountain welling up to eternal life (John 4:14, John 6:35). Is that not the same fountain of His Holy Spirit that Jesus spoke of when He described the work of the Spirit in us as ‘rivers of living water that would flow from our inner-most bellies’ (John 7:38)

So what breaks the barrier that is separating, that is holding back the power of the Spirit from flooding out of our spirits into our souls and into the world around us? What is powerful enough to cut through the barrier between soul and spirit? Hebrews 4:12 declares that the living powerful Word of God is able to pierce through the division of soul and spirit. Jesus said that the truth would set us free, so those who have an ear to hear, hear now what the Spirit is saying to the Church. You have already been gifted an abundance of grace and the gift of His righteousness for this purpose, that you could freely avail of all the resources of His Kingdom which He has already given to you (Luke12:32). Up to this point you have been more conscious of your sin than of your righteousness, because you have lived more conscious of your soul that thirsts, than of your spirit who rejoices. Let the Church now awake as a giant who has been sleeping. Awake to righteousness and sin not. Awake to the riches of the glory of the gospel of grace, that Christ now lives in you (Col.1:27) and let the fountain of His life burst forth to flood your souls and this land. This is the rising Church, the righteousness conscious church, the church in the spirit, renewed and transformed, who have boldness on the day of judgment for they have come to know that ‘as He is, so are we in this world’ (1John 4:17)