I recently spoke very briefly about how the body of Christ is designed to function and someone requested I expand on my thoughts so here they are. Paul told us that the events of the OT were written as examples for us (see below). So let me share some of what the OT teaches about the oneness Yahweh desires in His body so we can learn from this example.
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10:11 (NKJV)
In Exodus 26 Yahweh instructed Moses on how to build the tabernacle.
6 And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains together with the clasps, so that it may be one tabernacle. Exodus 26:6 (NKJV)
11 And you shall make fifty bronze clasps, put the clasps into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one. Exodus 26:11 (NKJV)
The piece I want to highlight is Yahweh’s focus on the tabernacle being one. This was one of the aspects that Yahweh emphasized. There is no mysterious meaning in Hebrew, the word simply means to be united or one. So, if as Paul noted this was written to teach us something what is it teaching us? While the tabernacle was the place of worship and communion with Yahweh. I have noted in previous teaching how the different aspects can represent our spirit, soul, and body. However, it also represents a corporate body. Peter tells us this.
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:4-6 (NKJV)
Peter tells us that as believers in Jesus we as living stones are being shaped into a spiritual house. Paul framed the same concept a bit differently in Ephesians 4:11-6 and said the following things would result from the proper functioning of the five-fold ministry in the church. Paul said the proper functioning of the five-fold ministry would flow from understanding that these gifts are given;
- for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of serving,
- for the building up of the body of Christ,
- to bring the church into the unity of the faith (not doctrine) and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
- to bring the church to maturity, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
So that the church, in maturity:
- would be stable,
- would speak the truth in love to further mature the body,
- would be nourished by what the joints supply (a joint is a relationship between two parts),
- would be knit together in right relationships, and
- would grow effectively in love.
This brings us back to Exodus 26 and the tabernacle being one. He is looking to see His church move in unity, as one. If you have ever played on a sports team or watched one you can tell when there is team unity. There is a flow in the team actions, the team seemingly takes on a life of its own and moves with a harmony that supports, protects and leads. If you have ever been part of such an experience you will treasure it, this is how we as the church are called to function.
So how do we get there? Have you ever studied a construction site at the beginning of a building project? A hole is dug and a foundation poured. Then all the materials are brought in so the floor, walls, roof and other parts can be assembled. When the supplies are brought in all the basic parts are there but it certainly does not look like a house! In the same way if we purchase a boxed piece of furniture at one of many large stores we realize, once we take all the parts out of the box, if it was not already obvious, we can see there is some assembly required! In a similar manner, having all the different members of a church congregation in one place does not mean you have a spiritual house – some assembly is required.
We need properly functioning church leadership and a body all operating in their gifts to see His house properly built. Yahweh said the tabernacle was to be one, all the seemingly disparate parts expressing a unity of purpose and function. Let us pray for this leadership to be further raised up and released and for all of us to operate in our gifts and callings.
More to come…