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Saturday, November 26, 2016

11/26 Church reconstruction
                       The starting point, three stages of construction and finally breath of life 

Jeremiah 1:13-16        And the word of the Lord came to me (Jeremiah) a second time saying “What do you see?” and I said “I see a boiling pot facing north.”  And the Lord said to me “An evil will come upon the inhabitants of the land from the north.  I will call the families and kingdoms of the north, says the Lord, and they shall come and each one shall set his throne at the gates of Jerusalem, against all the walls and against all the cities of Judah.  And I will speak my judgment against them touching all their wickedness, those who have forsaken Me and burned incense to other gods and who have worshipped the works of their own hands.”

Ezekiel 37:1-14            The hand of the Lord was upon me and carried me (Ezekiel) out in the spirit and set me in the midst of a bone filled valley.  Then He caused me to pass all around them and there were many bones in this open valley and they were dry. 
Then the Lord said to me “Son of man, can these bones live?”  And I answered “Oh, Lord, only you know.” 

And again He said to me “Prophecy to these bones and tell them ‘Oh, dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.  Thus says the Lord God to these bones I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live.  And I will lay sinews upon you, lay flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you and you shall live and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I was commanded and lo, as I prophesied, there was a noise and there was a shaking and each bone come into is proper place, bone upon bone.  And as I watched, sinews (Strong’s 1517 thong, tendon) and flesh (Strong’s 1320 nakedness, self) came upon them and skin (Strong’s 5785 leather, hide, naked) covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then He said to me “Prophecy to the wind, prophecy, oh man, and tell the wind ‘Thus says the Lord God, come from the four winds, O breath, O, breath and breathe upon these slain that they might live.’”

So I prophesied as He commanded me and breath came into them (the dry bones) and they lived and stood up on their feet and they were an exceeding great army.
Then He said to me “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel and behold, they complain that their bones are dry and our hope is lost for we are cut off from our parts.  Therefore tell them that I say to them ‘Thus says the Lord God, behold O my people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of those graves and I will bring you into the land of Israel.  And when I have opened your graves, you will know that I am the Lord, for I have said it and I have done it.  Says the Lord.’

Of course, Father is speaking to Israel in these two passages but He tells us that the principle still applies today.  His wrath is going out against the disobedient (Jeremiah) and today, that’s not just the world but Israel and it includes todays New Covenant Church, the church of the New Testament because we have not completely followed His word – as we should.
But, more importantly He is telling us He is repairing, reconstituting today’s church (Ezekiel) so we can perform and function as He has always intended.  He is restructuring His church, bringing us up out of darkness and bringing us into His glorious light and we will know that HE IS GOD.
Father’s reconstruction or resurrection of the church
For centuries, the church has hung on by its spiritual teeth, hanging on to the ‘hope’ of eternal spirituality with God because we have confessed Jesus with our mouths and believe God raised Him from the dead.  These are the dry bones the church has existed as since shortly after the apostolic period.

The following passages give us a little deeper insight into the church happenings since Jesus, issues that still persist in today’s New Covenant Church, the church of e New Testament.
Revelation 2 & 3

            Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7)
God tells the church at Ephesus: acknowledges their works, ministries, patience and not putting up with evil, they’ve discover false apostles by trying them and have not faltered in service
However, they have left their first love (God), for if they don’t return to how they lived at first, their candlestick will be removed.  (They had forgotten about living for God).

            Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11)
He knows their works, trials and poverty,
but they have allowed blasphemous Jews into their midst.  (False teachers)

            Pergamos (Rev. 2:12-17)
I know your works, where you live and where Satan’s seat is. They have held to the faith, not denied His name, even to the martyrdom of Antipas
However, they’ve allowed those who teach false doctrines into their members, allowed stumbling blocks, eaten things offered to idols and committed fornication. (False teacher & ungodly practices)

            Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29)
                        He says I know your works, love, service, faith and patience
However, they have allowed a false prophetess to teach, seduce and commit fornication with the members and cause them to eat things sacrificed to idols. (false teachers, loose living style – unmarried sexual activity and ungodly actions)

            Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6)
Watch, strengthen what you have and which are ready to die.  Some walk in white
Because works have not been perfect before God.  I will come upon you like a thief in the night because you don’t watch. (hearts have strayed, right actions, wrong reasons)

            Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13)
I know your works, set an open door before you for you have a little strength, kept my word and not denied My name.  You have kept the word of My patience.  I will bless you for your faithfulness. (good actions bring good rewards)

            Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22)
                        I know your works
However, you are neither hot nor cold so I will spew you out of My mouth.  You are self-sufficient and don’t even recognize your own shortcomings.  Try you works in fire and I will bless you and will chasten (refine) you in MY love.  (knowing the word of God but not taking a stand for it.  Our hearts shall be tried and if they are truly pure, we will stand, if not we will fall away like followers did in Matt.6:60-66)

Also, note, that Paul’s letters to the churches: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians and the Hebrews nor to overlook the letters to Philemon (a Colossian slave owner) and Timothy (evangelist & Bishop at Ephesus).

As the angel did with John in Revelation, Paul always commends the good being done, but then addresses the ‘deficiencies’ noted.  God is doing the same today.  In Ezekiel He notes that the ‘Dry Bones’, the very rudiments, basics, of the church have ‘hung’ in there maintaining Jesus is Lord and the resurrection, but there have been occasions against today’s church as well. 
For nearly 700 years, Father has been addressing those deficiencies and is now breathing (true) life back into His church.

An earlier impetus for church growth may have been Wycliffe’s bible, originally translated 1380-1395, circulated & reedited in early 1400’s).  The bible was aimed at laity (the common man) and was declared heretical because it was not authorized by the church, nor was Wycliffe clergy.
So starting there and scanning the major movements in the church over the centuries we see

Protestant Reformation (1500 -1600’s) (sinews, tendons and ligaments)
Holiness Movement (1700-1800’s) (flesh, muscle)
Pentecostal Movement (1800-1900’s) (skin, outer covering)
Apostolic/Prophetic Movement (1900-2000’s) (true breath of life

Look at the centuries covered here, when the influence of Wycliffe’s bible is factored in the 14th, 15, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and now the 20th centuries can be counted, making this the 7th century Father has been reconstructing His church.  Until Wycliffe, the Catholic Church and the Latin Vulgate were the core of Christianity.  The Wycliffe bible started shaking things up, a shake up which hasn’t stopped, even today.

Through Ezekiel (Ezek. 37:1-14) God shows how He has been  ‘remanning’ His church by taking dry bones, placing connective sinews to those bones so they can hold their proper place in the body.  He then adds muscle so these bones can move and be effective.  He then adds an attractive outer layer of skin so those old bones look like a body.  Finally He has Ezekiel to command the four winds to bring the breath of life into those old bones and they stand up and live.

Take note of the sequence used in Ezekiel.  God adds substance to the foundation, the dry bones, then he adds flesh or the very essence of a man, then He adds the skin, a covering form man’s nakedness
If you will, Wycliffe’s bible brought attention to those old bones in the valley.

The Protestant Reformation added ligaments, sinews and tendons so those bones could stay connected in their proper places.

The Holiness Movement added some muscle to those bones so they could move – the meat, for living a holy life for God.

The Pentecostal Movement added the skin covering.  With the ‘Baptism’ of the Holy Ghost, the church started looking like it was supposed to.

Through the Apostolic/Prophetic Movement, the church is realizing it needs to have “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”.  It’s not just doing works living a good life,  nor just speaking in our spiritual language (tongues) but it is indeed moving into a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father communing in Him, abiding with Him and realizing that this can be realized through Jesus Christ through obedience and surrender to the Holy Ghost, allowing Him to fully operate in our lives, not quenching Him (1 Thess. 5:19).

The early church KNEW who Jesus was and for a season lived like it.  But just as Paul had to write letters to remind the fledgling churches not to lose faith, man has slipped away over the centuries, eventually into the falling away mentioned in 2 Thess. 2:3.  Now, grant it, we haven’t seen the revelation of the son of perdition, yet, but the foundation for his coming is being laid – big time. 
Over the past several centuries Father has bought His church from bare, dry bones as the church has always known that Jesus is Savior, identifying and bringing our ‘bones’ into proper alignment and connecting them (sinews), through the solidifying of our foundation of faith to today by giving our faith the ability to be put into action (flesh), through to where He is breathing His Spirit back into His church (skin) so His church will come to know that He IS God and He can do ALL that He said He could/would from the beginning and that He desires a most intimate relationship with each one of us, individually.

God created all that is in six days and on the seventh He ‘rested’ and saw that which He created was good.  Well, it was ALL good until Adam & Eve disobeyed Him.
But Father has been reconstructing His church now for 600 years and we are now in the seventh.  What does the number seven mean?  Completion!  Spiritual perfection!  We are in the seventh season of reconstruction.

This is the season God is maturing His church so we can start acting and living like we truly know who He is, who we are and that we can now have a solid relationship with Him and in Him through Jesus Christ because the Holy Ghost is alive, well and operational within us (this is a growing season).

I’ve heard in some quarters that Jesus can’t come back until the world is ready to receive Him.  Excuse me!  If we could make the world acceptable to Jesus, why would we need Him to come back?  What Father IS doing is preparing His church, His body, His bride so no one will get left behind when the bridegroom does comes (Matt. 25:1-13).

Things are coming to culmination and awesome things are going to start happening.  But, where awesome things happen, so does awesome resistance.  So for awesome things to happen, God’s children need to be awesomely prepared – and that is exactly what God is in the process of doing.  Preparing us to be ready to meet Jesus when He does return so none (of His church) will be left behind.  Amen

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