ANNOUNCEMENT: Co-founder of GWTW, Barbara Collins is having some health issues which necessitate her stepping back from the active day to day administration of the website. Because of this, we will no longer be publishing a regular quarterly newsletter, although we may still send out announcements from time to time which may be of interest to subscribers. Please pray for Barbara and the rest of the GWTW team as we set priorities and make decisions regarding the future of this ministry.
by Gay Anderson
All Scripture quotations taken from The Amplified Bible
Just having celebrated our Lord’s resurrection, His victory over sin and death, we are moved to reflect upon one of the countless blessings His victory has purchased.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians that through our Lord’s death and resurrection, the dividing wall has been broken down. Both Jew and Gentile are to express their identity as one new man in Christ, having all freedom to come before the throne of grace through the blood of Christ Jesus.
Our Lord’s high priestly prayer recorded in John’s gospel, chapter 17, reveals His heart cry for all of us to be one in Him, even as He was in the Father and the Father in Him. The end result would bring the world to believe the Father has sent Him. Notice our Lord stresses this unity is only IN Him. It cannot and will not come from any other source. Our Lord has made us one and given us unity in Him; therefore we can never produce unity which commands God’s blessing. Remember the unity behind building the tower of Babel? God can only pass judgment upon man-made expressions of such unity. Ephesians 4:3 tells us to “be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of (and produced by) the Spirit in the binding power of peace.”
I Corinthians 12:18 tells us “God has placed and arranged the limbs and organs in the body, each (particular one) of them, just as He wished and saw fit and with the best adaptation.” What an encouraging word for each of us to know that though we may not hold a place of prominence, we each should recognize the Father’s wisdom in fitting us together according to our giftings, anointing and abilities. The Body of Christ must either function as a whole or it will function inadequately.
There should be no place for competition in the Body of Christ, so let the word be: Don’t compete, contribute! The Apostle Peter wrote that as we all have received a gift, we are to employ it for one another, which brings us to a most important aspect of life in Christ and that is mutual care for one another. The evidence of our love for Him and one another is the convincing characteristic of the Christian.
Psalm 133 proclaims: “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity... for there the Lord has commanded the blessing, even life forever more (upon the high and lowly).” We carry in these earthen vessels the treasure of His life, so we have the awesome privilege of revealing the Christ as the world looks on. Willam Barclay wrote, “Here is the supreme glory of the Christian - He is part of the Body of Christ upon earth.”
by Barbara Collins
What does it mean to be “gathered together” in Ephesians 1:10? What is a “dispensation”? It literally is the ruling or management of a household. In other words, rule and order prevail. When? In the “dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in ONE all things in Christ . . .”
What if the churches of Jesus Christ had not been trying to produce kingdom conditions in their country and society? Rather, if they had been reaching for the “fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death,” would the Lord have delayed so long? As we have mistakenly tried “to build and establish His kingdom on this earth, we have actually held back His coming because we did not understand the times.” (E. F. Strother, The Glory of the Body of Christ, pp. 23, 26.)
Or, what does “quickened” or made “alive together” in 2:5 signify? Since our Lord made Christ a curse for us (Gal. 3:13), Christ took our place that we could be made alive together with Him in fellowship and union which translates into redemption! By grace, we are saved, not by our tears, striving, or self effort but by His grace.
And raised us up together by the power of His grace “which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead” (1:20) and caused us to be seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (2:6).” Do you see what “togetherness” really is and how important it is to be “in” something which makes all the difference? The other night, it was storming outside which I could hardly hear because I was “in” bed “in” my home. The secret of the Christian is he can be living at home “in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” and yet be walking with God on this earth. That’s the difference between “the inner and the outward life, and the value of the outward life depends upon the depth of the inner life.” (A. T. Schofield, “Study for Today” in Yesterday, Today, and Forever, pp. 50-51, 62.)
Lastly, we are “builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.” (2:22.) First and foremost, this place of God, whether we’re talking about the building of the house of God being our homes or the church, is a place of rest. The Lord asks the question in Isaiah 66:1—“Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?” Indeed, Stephen quoted this scripture in Acts 7:49-50 to prove that God’s New Testament plan is to live in humans, and not in man-made temples. How does the individual find that place of rest? He finds it by doing the absolute will of God.
The Lord spoke to me recently and said: “I will hold you responsible for the calling I have upon your life, not for all the needs you meet.” In other words, I may have to pass up many needs on the way to ministering to the need to which God has called me. If the need were the call, I would be continually distracted. When responding to God’s call, you are placing yourself at the mercy of the Lord’s resources rather than others. Time distinguishes between who is doing the calling because if it really is God, the call will grow stronger each passing day. You can make yourself ready for God’s call when He touches your lips with a live coal from the altar (Isaiah 6:6-7).
The most vital thing you can do when you go to a church, or to an assembling together of the saints, is to take the presence of God with you. It is only the presence of God that you bring with you along with other people with which you are gathered together that causes God’s living and divine presence to be made manifest. When you discover you are gathered together in Christ, made alive together, raised up together, seated together, and builded together, you have a deep and abiding joy as you find yourself together in Him!