BUILDING THE HOUSE OF GOD
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The purpose of gifts and ministries is to bring each believer to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. The purpose of bringing each believer to maturity is to provide a house for the Father and Christ. The purpose of providing a house for the Father and Christ is that They might dwell among the people whom They have created and whom They love.


Table of Contents

Introduction
The Purpose of the Gifts and Ministries

The Purpose of Our Being Brought to Maturity

The Purpose of the Coming of the Father and Son To Dwell in Us

Conclusion


BUILDING THE HOUSE OF GOD

Introduction

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3—NIV)

I like to think about goals, and then ways of arriving at the goals. I like to keep ends, and means to those ends, separate in my mind.

In the 1960s a learning model termed "programmed instruction" was introduced to those of us working in the public schools. Programmed instruction sought to make us more conscious of goals and encouraged us to design our methods in terms of clearly stated goals. I did not see wide acceptance of this approach at that time. Perhaps nowadays, since I have left the profession, the situation has improved.

People do not always think in terms of clearly-defined goals. As someone said, "It is easy to forget you were sent to drain the swamp when you are up to your neck in alligators."

Public-school people often are up to their neck in alligators and become so involved in methods and fascinated with them that progress toward stated goals is not measured sufficiently often. The students may be tested at the end of a year and the results may be greeted with applause or dismay—including an element of surprise. The results would not be so startling if progress was tested more often.

The public-school systems in the United States waste tremendous amounts of time and money because they are methods-oriented and not goal-oriented

Teachers in many instances do not teach what is going to be tested. The concept of transfer of training has been researched again and again, and to my knowledge the investigations have yielded but one answer: learning does not transfer except under specific conditions. You will learn what you have been taught—almost precisely that.

You would think such an idea is so obviously correct it needs no elaboration. This is not the case. How often have you heard it said if we teach children to "problem solve" they will become more proficient in arithmetic?

The professionals toy endlessly with schemes to improve the ability of the child to learn, in a general sense, and then test him on specifics.

In spite of the abundance of research on transfer of training, the practice of teaching generalities in the hope of improving specifics continues.

Any teacher can knock the top off an achievement test by finding out what is going to be tested, not the answers but the specific skills. Then teach the particular skills. Forget about trying to develop a general ability. The rule is, you learn what you practice.

Oh well, I cried in that wilderness long enough with meager results. But I did have fun blowing the top off a test that measured achievement in the operations of arithmetic.

Now I am crying in another wilderness. I think the Lord has impressed on me what He is doing, where He is going.

I will tell you the plan right now, and then you can quit reading and go about your business.

The ascended Lord Jesus has given us numerous gifts and ministries for one purpose—to build each member of His Body to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. The gifts and ministries are means to an end. The end, the objective, is perfect members in a perfect body.

The purpose of bringing each member to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ is that God and Jesus may have a house in which to live. Bringing us to maturity is the means. The end is a suitable dwelling and place of rest for the Father and the Lord Jesus.

The purpose of providing a dwelling and place of rest for the Father and the Lord Jesus is that They might be able to live among the saved nations of people and bless them. The dwelling of God in us is the means. The end is the ability of the Godhead to live among people.

This is all I am going to say, so you can leave now—unless, of course, you would like to find out where all this is in the Bible.

Here goes!

The Purpose of the Gifts and Ministries

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (Ephesians 4:7—NIV)

Every member of the Body of Christ without exception has been given the grace of a gift or ministry to the Body. Perhaps ninety percent of the gifts and ministries are not operating in the Christian assemblies at the present time. This may be because churches are thought of as places where the pastor is to gather as many people as possible under one roof, not as an assembling of a body of believers who minister one to the other.

You know what? In too many instances the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being used as a business. A pastor sees how many people he can get to come to his building and how much money he can raise. He works at getting more people, more money, more people, more money so he can build a bigger building and house more people.

The pastor is very nice to people. He preaches a positive message because he wants as many people as possible to attend the services at his building. His success is measured by the number of people who attend his services. It is a game—and not a bad way to make a living!

Since it is God's will in the present hour that Christ come to maturity in the believers, and since the only manner in which Christ can come to maturity is through the operation of the numerous gifts and ministries in each group of Christians, it seems we are going to have to start thinking about our goals, and then the means of attaining those goals. As part of overhaul of the services, the gifts and ministries lying dormant in the congregations must begin to operate.

You have a ministry in the Body as do I. But we cannot discover or operate our particular contribution until we really present our body a living sacrifice and thus prove the will of God for our own life and ministry. Also, there must be in the services an expectation that people will minister, a suitable climate that will encourage widespread ministry, and an opportunity to minister. This change from the pastor-congregation model will take a period of time to develop properly.

Sometimes a great ministry is prophesied over a believer, a true prophecy. But the individual never presses forward in God until the words that were spoken become a reality in the material world.

American Christians do one of two things: either they get as far as talking in tongues and then occupy themselves primarily with the challenging and interesting elements of our culture; or else they try to be "God's man of faith and power" and run around the countryside trying to force God to do something. As God said, "When they bring their offering of consecration to Me and ‘slay their bull’ it is as though they were murdering a man."

How many people do you know who have been pushed over when they were prayed for because the "minister" was trying to prove he or she was a powerful man or woman of God? We are not to get so involved in the American culture we have little or no time each day for prayer and reading our Bible. Neither are we to rush out in a fit of personal ambition to try to save the world. We are to think soberly in terms of the measure of faith God has given us, and then use our talent in the marketplace as the Lord leads.

We must keep ourselves ready for service, day after day, year after weary year. We always are to pray, read the Bible, and wait on the Lord as though we were the mightiest of apostles, even though we are not being used at all as far as we can tell. The Lord loves faithfulness and diligence!

It is of the utmost importance that Christ be formed in us in the present hour. The tares of wickedness are coming to maturity and the same must be true of the wheat of righteousness, the wheat that is Christ.

He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe. It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, To prepare God’s people for works of service, so the body of Christ may be built up. (Ephesians 4:10-12—NIV)

There has been some teaching that these are four (or five) special ministries whose task is to make ministers of the rest of the believers. We think this is a flawed interpretation.

No passage of Scripture, especially the Book of Acts, tells of four favored ministries making ministers of the other Christians.

There are not four or five especially favored ministries. Notice in the following passage that the Scripture does not support the elevation of four ministries but puts all the gifts and ministries under the same category. We all have been given grace.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:27,28—NIV)

Can you see, in the above passage, that there are not four "special" ministries?

Second, the clearly stated purpose of all ministry is the building up of the body of Christ. There is to be no confusion over this point.

Let us think of the above passage this way: God has given various gifts and ministries so each member can make his or her contribution to the goal, which is to build the Body of Christ. God has given to some people the gift of apostleship so they may build up the body. God has given to some people the gift of pastoring and teaching so they may build up the body. God has given the ministry of evangelism to some people so they may call out the elect from the world that the elect may begin the process of being built up as part of the Body of Christ.

Does this make sense to you? Does it fit all the pertinent passages, including the twelfth chapter of the Book of Romans and the twelfth chapter of the Book of First Corinthians?

Now look at the passage again in the light of what we have said.

I am going to use the New American Standard since I think it is a bit clearer.

He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; (Ephesians 4:10-12—NASB)

God gave to Paul to be an Apostle that Paul, as a saint, might be equipped to build the Body of Christ. As we read the Epistles we can see that Paul was not intent on equipping other people with gifts, although he exhorted Timothy to stir up the gift that was given him by the laying on of hands. By far the greatest work of Paul was to build the Body of Christ, to travail in birth until Christ was formed in the believers.

Ephesians 4:11 could very well read "and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, and some as helps, and some as dispensers of mercy, and some as administrators." Then we would be in harmony with the twelfth chapters of Romans and First Corinthians.

It is definitely not scriptural that there are four elevated ministries whose role is to produce lesser ministries. The goal of all ministry is to build the believers to maturity. One reason all the gifts and ministries are not working is that we tend to elevate some as being "ministers" in a special sense. The believers in America love to give such "ministers" their spiritual proxy while they occupy themselves with making money, their hobbies, professional sports, and other items of interest.

Another error we have made is that of overemphasizing the ministry of evangelism, saying we all are evangelists. Since we define evangelism only as reaching the unsaved we almost completely neglect the goal of building the members of the Body to maturity. If you want a shock, search the New Testament and find out how many times the term "evangelism" is used.

The emphasis of the Epistles is on building the believers to maturity, not on sending them out to "minister to the lost." Read the Epistles and see if this is so.

Like the educators of the public schools in America, we need to go back to the drawing board and think about our goals. We have made our goal getting everyone we can into our church building. This is not the goal. The goal is to build the members of the Body of Christ to maturity.

Your assembly and my assembly will never achieve God's purpose for its existence until each member is operating the grace of ministry given to him or her. Do you feel the fourth chapter of Ephesians supports my statement?

Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13—NIV)

The above is the goal of all ministry: that each member of the Body of Christ attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

By unity of the faith is not meant we all believe the same doctrine or theology. It refers to the way we make the decisions of life. If we present all of our decisions, great and small, to the Lord Jesus for His will to be done, then we are in total unity with all other members of the Body who give over their decisions to the Lord.

But if we make some decisions according to our own ambitions and agendas, then we come in conflict with those who give over their decisions to the Lord and also with those who live according to their our ambitions and agendas, pleasures and lusts.

We all shall come to the knowledge of the Lord and the unity of the faith that is in Jesus when every decision we make is of the Lord. Then, and only then, there is no conflict, no division.

We have just taught that the purpose of our receiving gifts and ministries is that each member of the Church, the Body of Christ, might come to maturity in the Lord.

Next we will consider the purpose of bringing each member to maturity. Obviously this is not so we can recline on our couch in our mansion in Heaven. Such retirement requires little maturity.

The Purpose of Our Being Brought to Maturity

Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious—that you,~ O LORD God, might dwell there. (Psalms 68:16-18—NIV)

Does the above passage sound familiar? It ought to. This is the Psalm that Paul was quoting in the fourth chapter of the Book of Ephesians.

The "rugged mountains" refers to religious people, including self-willed Christians, who look with envy at the saints who have taken up their cross and are following the Lord Jesus. Satan can always enter self-willed people and motivate them to slander the saints.

Pharisees and priests murdered Jesus because of envy. Satan is envious of Christ and can always move in people who are envious of God's elect.

The mountain that is the object of envy is Mount Zion. Mount Zion is a symbolic term referring to Christ—Head and Body.

Now we come to the purpose of building up the members of the Body of Christ to maturity: "where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever." God has chosen to reign and dwell forever in Mount Zion, in Christ, Head and Body.

God is seeking a house for Himself. In that house there will be many dwelling places. The dwelling place is first Jesus Christ, and after that the members of the Body of Christ.

Each saint, if we could see him or her in the spirit realm, is as a great palace of which the building blocks have been torn down and are lying around in random order. The purpose of the gifts and ministries given by the ascended Christ is that the palace that each saint is will be erected, block placed next to its block, until a majestic structure has been erected.

Christ went to the cross, and then to Heaven to sprinkle His atoning blood before the Mercy Seat. After this He sent forth His Holy Spirit to accomplish the work of building the many varied palaces. Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, has given a variety of gifts and ministries to the members of the Body that the Body might build itself up in love.

God is very fussy about His dwelling place. First of all, He will dwell only in Christ; so if we want to have God dwelling in us we must have Christ built up in us.

The millions of chariots are referring to God's saints. Each saint is to become a chariot in which God can go here and there.

The Lord has come from Sinai, from the Law of Moses, into His people through Jesus Christ. At one time God's people were governed by the Law of Moses. Now we are governed by the forming and dwelling of Christ in us.

The forming and dwelling of Christ in us is the new covenant. Christ must be formed in us, which is a transformation of what we are in personality. Then the Father and the Son come to dwell in our transformed personality. Once the new covenant is formed in us we become God's covenant with the nations of the earth.

When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious—that you,~ O LORD God, might dwell there. (Psalms 68:16-18—NIV)

The gifts from men, or consisting of men, are given for the purpose of forming a dwelling place for God.

Several times in the Scriptures we find reference to God's plan to build a house for Himself.

You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance—the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established. (Exodus 15:17—NIV)

The above verse may be the first indication of God's plan for man—that man be the dwelling place of God.

"Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8—NIV)

The Tabernacle of the Congregation was to be a sanctuary for God where He could dwell among the people of Israel.

And then the great question:

This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." (Isaiah 66:1,2—NIV)

Heaven is God's throne, not His house. God's house is composed of those who are humble and contrite in spirit and tremble at God's Word.

When Jesus said, "In My Father's house there are many dwelling places," He was not referring to Heaven but to Himself and His Body.

Don’t you believe I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. (John 14:10—NIV)

Can you see from the above verse where we get the idea that Jesus Christ is the House of the Father?

However, we also are living stones in the same house.

The question of Isaiah, Chapter 66 is repeated by the first martyr.

"Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me?" says the Lord. "Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?" (Acts 7:49,50—NIV)

Paul states clearly that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are being made the eternal house of God.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22—NIV)

And then Peter.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:4,5—NIV)

It is obvious from the Scriptures that the purpose of the gifts and ministries is to build each member of the Body of Christ, each living stone, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

It is clear also that the purpose of building each member of the Body to maturity is that the Father and the Son may have an eternal dwelling place.

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23—NIV)

It may be of interest to the reader to note that the Greek term translated "home," in the above verse, is the same word translated "mansions" in the King James Version, or "rooms" in the New International Version, in John 14:2.

Now that we have established the purpose for the gifts and ministries, and the purpose for bringing the saints to maturity, let us think for a moment about the purpose for creating a house for God, for the Father and the Son coming to dwell in us.

The Purpose of the Coming of the Father and Son To Dwell in Us

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3—NIV)

To understand what is going on here we have to realize that on the new earth there will be two groups of people, the saints and the members of the saved nations.

Of all the things I teach, the one that proves to be the most difficult for Christian people to understand is the idea of the saved nations, of there being saved people who are not part of the Christian Church.

The Christian Church is the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, the holy city. In addition it is the tabernacle, the eternal dwelling place, of the Lord God of Heaven.

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. (Revelation 21:9,10—NIV)

I cannot understand why so many Christians cannot grasp the fact that the new Jerusalem is the glorified Church!

Look at the passage above.

"I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."

"And showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem."

So it is beyond dispute that the new Jerusalem is the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.

Now, could anyone question that the wife of the Lamb is the Christian Church? I know some teach the Lord Jesus has two brides, a Gentile bride and a Jewish bride. But this is so contrary to what the Apostle Paul taught that it is useless even to discuss such an error.

The Bride of the Lamb is the Christian Church. That is all there is to it. The Lamb has only one bride, and it is the Church.

This means the new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church. I guess the reason Bible teachers have trouble with the new Jerusalem being the glorified Christian Church is that they want us to stay in Heaven forever. They do not understand the eternal plan of God to dwell among people.

However, until a student of the Bible realizes thoroughly that the new Jerusalem is the house of God constructed from God's elect, the one Seed of Abraham, it is absolutely impossible to understand the Kingdom of God or the eternal plan of God to dwell among people in His tabernacle, His house.

How could the new Jerusalem be anything but the glorified Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb?

Note the following characteristics of the new Jerusalem:

And Bible scholars have trouble identifying this city as the Church of Jesus Christ?

I can't see where there is anything left in Heaven that I want. All that is desirable to the human being has come to the new earth.

How do you feel about this?

The city is referred to clearly as the "dwelling of God," in verse three of the twenty-first chapter.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3—NIV)

We already have presented several references that state the Church, the Body of Christ, is being built as a dwelling place of God. Here the holy city is referred to as the dwelling of God.

Now, what we are dealing with here is the purpose for the coming of the Father and Son to dwell in us.

We have shown somewhat clearly, I think, that the eternal dwelling place of the Father and the Son is the new Jerusalem (the Throne of God and of the Lamb are in it).

Does the Book of Revelation tell us why God and the Lamb have chosen to dwell in the holy city, the new Jerusalem—the glorified Christian Church?

I think it does, and rather clearly. The same concept can be found in the Book of Isaiah.

The purpose for the construction of the eternal house of God is that God might dwell with people, might be with them, might be their God.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3—NIV)

The question now is, who are the men with whom God has decided to dwell?

The answer is, the nations of saved people on the earth.

The passage is not speaking of God dwelling with the people who are part of the new Jerusalem. The people who are part of the new Jerusalem are God's elect, His true Israel, the royal priesthood, the Body of the Christ.

The passage refers to the nations of saved people, the "sheep nations," who are not members of the Church but are the inheritance of Christ and His coheirs.

Until the reader grasps clearly that the new Jerusalem is the glorified Church, and its purpose is to govern and bless nations of saved people on the new earth, much of the Old Testament and the New will remain obscure.

In fact, the new Jerusalem is the Kingdom of God that John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus proclaimed.

This actually is a simple picture but it has been lost in our traditions of the Christians going to live forever in mansions in Heaven.

There are the sheep nations of the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew. It seems obvious that, although these are the people for whom the Kingdom has been prepared, that they are not part of Christ's "brothers," not part of the Body of Christ.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34—NIV)

But let's see if Revelation itself suggests there are saved people on the new earth who are not part of the Church, the new Jerusalem. but rather are ministered to by the saints of the new Jerusalem. After all, the Lord Jesus referred to us as "the light of the world," and this is what the new Jerusalem will be.

We already have mentioned the fact that Revelation 21:3 says "the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them." I think the current view is that these "men" are the saved people of today, that is, the Christians. Given the testimony of the entire Scriptures, I believe the current view to be incorrect.

Let's proceed.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes." Again this usually is applied to Christians in Heaven and is quoted as such to comfort the believers. What if it had nothing to do with the believers but with the people of the world who were being comforted by the believers? An exciting thought!

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7—NIV)

Perhaps the above verse is referring to the fact that the Christian who lives the victorious life in Jesus will inherit all that is presented in the last two chapters of the Bible, including the people on the earth. Maybe, as suggested by the second Psalm, the inheritance of the Lord and His coheirs includes the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. Perhaps these nations that Christ prayed for are not the Church but the inheritance of the Church!

The city, after all, is Jerusalem! The nations of the earth will walk by its light. We have quite a bit of Old Testament to support this concept.

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24—NIV)

Does the Old Testament in fact teach that nations of saved people on the earth, who obviously are not Israel, will bring their wealth to Israel, to God's elect?

Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:3—NIV)

Obviously these nations are not composed of lost people. They are coming to the dawn of God's Glory on His elect who are, of course, the one Seed of Abraham, the members of the Body of Christ.

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29—NIV)

The "promise" is that in the Seed of Abraham all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Do you want to become a blessing to the nations? You will if you allow Jesus Christ, the one Seed, to become your Life.

You know, one of the most destructive models of biblical interpretation ever to pervert the thinking of God's people is called "Dispensationalism." It is because of Dispensational thinking that Christians believe we Gentiles will be up in Heaven while there is a Jewish Kingdom on the earth operated by physical Jews.

This is why the scholars have such a time with the new Jerusalem being the Christian Church. But stop and think. We have listed the fact that the Throne of God and of the Lamb are located for eternity in the new Jerusalem. The Throne of God and of the Lamb!

How in the world could the Throne of God and of the Lamb be dwelling in a city made up of Jews in the flesh, when Paul said in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile but only the one Body of Christ?

Who would want to be stuck in Heaven when the fullness of the Glory of God and of Christ are dwelling on the earth? The truth is, it is time for the people of God to utterly renounce the destructive philosophy of Dispensationalism, to cast it from our midst. It has done enough harm. Let God's ministers of integrity recognize we have been wrong all these years and return to the simple truth of the Scriptures.

God's elect are one new Man, Jews and Gentiles, in Christ Jesus. There is no other elect of God. Any Jew who is to see or enter the Kingdom of God must be born again of Jesus Christ. Once he is born again he is an integral part of the Body of Christ, that is, of the one body that includes Jews and Gentiles by race.

Any other concept is clearly against the teachings of the Apostle Paul. That devout ministers cannot perceive this obvious fact leads us to believe the blindness is spiritual. If devout, intelligent scholars cannot perceive the simple truth of the Kingdom of God, then the blindness must be spiritual!

There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— One Lord, one faith, one baptism; (Ephesians 4:4,5—NIV)

We are right back where we started, in the fourth chapter of Ephesians. This is significant, if you will think about it.

If you will reread the entire Book of Ephesians you will notice the emphasis on the one new Man, also on the House of God. It all makes sense. There is no such thing as a Jewish church or Jewish Kingdom. There is only the Body of Christ, the one body, the one Spirit, the one hope, the one Lord, the one faith, the one baptism. This fact is unmistakably clear in the New Testament, particularly in the Epistles of Paul.

But back to Isaiah, as we consider the fact that there are two groups of saved people on the new earth: the Church, and then the nations of saved people who are the inheritance of the Church and the reason for God and Christ wanting to have a house in which to live among these nations.

Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. (Isaiah 60:5—NIV)

Compare the above with the following.

The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. (Isaiah 60:26—NIV)

These appear to be the same event.

Notice also:

And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6—NIV)

The sixty-first chapter of the Book of Isaiah has quite a bit to say about the relationship between the elect and the saved nations. The chapter starts off with the building up of the members of Zion into oaks of righteousness. After they are built up they minister to the peoples of the earth.

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. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. (Isaiah 61:3,4—NIV)

And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6—NIV)

Today we are being built into oaks of righteousness. When that has been concluded and the elect have learned to live by the Life of Jesus, then He and we shall appear and bring judgment and justice to the nations of the earth. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God prophesied by John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus.

Conclusion

We have presented to you simply understood means and ends sequences. Let's see if you can remember them.

The purpose of gifts and ministries is—?

You've got it! To bring us to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The purpose of bringing us to maturity is—?

Right! To prepare a house for the Lord.

The purpose of preparing a house for the Lord is—?

Check! To make it possible for the Father and Christ to dwell among the people whom They love.

The mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us, the hope of glory. The glory that we hope for includes our being raised from the dead and returning with the Lord Jesus to receive our inheritance—the nations of saved people and the farthest reaches of the earth.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalms 2:8—NIV)

Of all the things I teach, the concept of the saved nations may be the most difficult for believers to grasp. The idea that there shall be multitudes of people who will be saved from God’s wrath seems to be so contrary to what is commonly taught as to prevent ready understanding. Yet, until we perceive from the Scriptures that there shall be nations of people who will be saved into the new heaven and earth reign of Jesus Christ, but who are not members of the Church, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem, we cannot possibly comprehend the Kingdom of God.

The members of the Church, the royal priesthood, have been called from among the ranks of mankind to be specially holy to the Lord. This is why they are termed "saints" (holy ones). God is willing that all people be saved by believing in Jesus Christ and being baptized in water. But the royal priesthood was chosen from the beginning of the creation.

The royal priesthood, which is the Church, the Body of Christ, consists of people who have been chosen of God to be changed into the moral image of Christ and to be His brothers. They shall serve God, as does the Lord Jesus Christ, throughout eternity as representatives of God’s Person to all of God’s creatures.

Even though the saints have been called from the beginning of the world, they must lay hold on that for which they have been laid hold of by the Lord. It is possible for someone to take our crown, if we are not careful to make our calling and election certain by fighting the good fight of faith.

According to the Scriptures, the Lord Jesus is to fill everything in God's creation.

Christ is:

Far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:21-23—NIV)

And we are there with Him, seated at the right hand of God in the highest Heaven. We are His body—"the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."

Christ is our Life. When He appears we will appear with Him. More than this, He will appear in us, and through us shall establish His rulership over all of God's creatures.

Our goal is to be God's eternal house. To attain this goal we must give everything to Jesus, with no exception.

The Lord is looking for such people today. Will you be one of them?