By J. W. Arnold
Exodus 25:8-9, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Now watch what God says; …if they don’t provide me something I won’t come, it’s in your hands, you create the atmosphere for me and I’ll show up, if you think it’s too much of a bother to build a sanctuary for me, have it your way, like Burger King…. “Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (9) According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.”
Ephesians 2:19-22; “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (21) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; (22) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
I don’t know whether it’s just my expectation level is on a different wave length than yours, or maybe your grasping all that I’m trying to say, but maybe you’re just not emotionally inclined; I don’t know. But I want you to understand something; it is a tremendous honor and blessing that God would want us for His house. I mean that’s mind-boggling. If you would’ve taken an inventory, or survey, of most of “Christianity”, if you would tell them that we are God’s house, God’s building, God’s temple, God’s body; they’d think you’ve flipped out. But God has always had this desire to be among His people. And I keep reading this over and over and over and over and over; Exodus 25: “Let them build me a sanctuary.” Let them make Me a place that would be my particular place and I’ll manifest Myself there all the time, if you’ll make it according to my pattern. Now don’t just throw something up and say, “Well, God will show up.” …No, I’m going to give you specifics and exact things of how I want it done, and if you’ll do it according to the pattern I give you, I promise you I’ll show up, I’ll manifest myself there.
God Speaks To Us On Our Level
Now you’ve heard me teach for years and years; there’s no such thing as God coming and going. When the scripture talks about God in human terminology, He only does that so we can understand. Like when the Lord smelled, in Genesis 8, a sweet smelling sacrifice; God doesn’t have a nose. He does that so He can cross a bridge…a chasm, because there’s such a difference between Him and us. Okay, we are spirit beings in a body, but we function mainly in these five senses. You know your five senses, taste, see, smell, touch, hear. Well, God doesn’t have any of that stuff. He’s absolute, total Spirit. So when he turns around he says, “and the Spirit of God moved.” Well God fills all time and space; I told you, he can’t go nowhere. Or, “the Spirit of the Lord left”…when Ezekiel saw that vision where the glory of the Lord departed. Okay, if you’re not careful, you’ll say, “Well, He went off to Chicago somewhere.” He can’t go nowhere! What He’s trying to teach you in human terminology is; I have withdrawn My manifested presence. See, you have the omnipresence of God – fills all time and space – but what we’re usually wanting is the manifested presence of God. So that in His omnipresence, if the situation is created just right, BOOM, the omnipresence will step back and the manifested presence will move. And you’ll sense it and say, “Whoa, boy, God was in that place.” He was in that place before you got there! It’s the manifested presence that we want.
So when God uses human terminology like; His right hand, or His right arm, or the eye of the Lord…now come on, look how silly it would be if we didn’t grasp the concept. “…The eye of the Lord runs to…; now when did an eyeball ever have legs? “… The eye of the Lord run to and fro….” He’s trying to be indicative of the searching, all-knowing, all-seeing eye of God. His eye ain’t running nowhere. “…His own arm brought Him salvation….” He don’t have an arm; He’s Spirit “…The government will be upon His shoulder…” He ain’t got a shoulder. He uses human terminology to communicate with us, so that we can understand what He’s talking about See you gotta get it; He’s other than us. That’s why He says in Isaiah 55; “…my thoughts are different than yours, my ways are higher than yours.” And the problem that God has always had, is people always trying to bring Him down into this little cubicle, so they can control Him and do to Him what they want, but He won’t; He won’t do that.
He said, “I am other than you.” But He does allow Himself to condescend in expression, so you can grasp what He’s saying. Like, have you ever said, “Boy, the Lord really touched me.” What touched you? Hand? Eyeball? Tongue? Nose? What touched you? His foot? His garment? What touched you? It’s the manifesting of what He is touches you. Watch; when God said; …I want a sanctuary, a house, a building…. but that desire that began in this physical manifestation of Moses’ sanctuary continued through David’s tabernacle; went on into Solomon’s temple and was now finalized in the body of the man Jesus. Because in Hebrews 10 He said, “Offering and sacrifice thou wouldst not; but a body thou hast prepared Me.” It has always been God’s desire to finally indwell His creation, but He had to start dwelling among them before He could ever get in them.
The revelations of God are always progressive. It’s like first grade, second grade, third grade, junior high. Okay. In the body of Jesus Christ, God’s desire was answered for a moment. He called His own body…”destroy this temple, three days I’ll raise it up. My father that dwelleth in me, he does the works.” So the body of Jesus was the temple of God, while Herod’s temple was standing there and it wasn’t the temple of God. So you can have a sanctuary uninhabited. Watch; you can have churches uninhabited, because unless it’s built according to the pattern, the potentate ain’t going to show up. It’s gotta be according to the pattern. Even when they offered strange fire…remember in the Old Testament when Aaron’s son did that stupid thing and decided to offer strange fire? God just killed them both. Pow!! Not only killed them both, but then turned around and told their father; …by the way, don’t cry…. These people have provoked the Lord; I’m not playing games with you people.
You see, in our modern concept, in our western mind; we still have this concept of democracy, the White House, voting in November. That does not apply with God. I’ve told you a hundred times; God’s not an American. He’ll never be an American. He can’t get voted out and He can’t get voted in. He’s the potentate all by Himself. And what we’ve gotta do is un-westernize our mind and get it easternized, because in the eastern people, they have the kingpins. They have the monarchs; they have the rulers. And in the east, they learn that you don’t just approach a potentate, or a monarch with; “Hey, boy! It don’t happen that way. There is a certain way that you approach a monarch, or a king, or an emperor, or a ruler. “…Well, God is the ruler of the whole universe….” You don’t really think He’s so desperate that He needs us just to sloppily run in there? It won’t happen! And He tolerates a lot of foolishness from a lot of people, but it’s a dangerous thing to play. Even one of God’s anointed kings, who had anointing oil on him; that was only for Kings and Prophets and Priests. Uzziah, remember him? And he went and took that censor and said; …well I’m the King, I’m going to be Priest today…. And they grabbed a hold of him and said; …naw, I don’t think so, Jack…you’re stepping out of your office, you ain’t got no business in this…, God said; …these people approach Me, and you run the palace…! And he went in there with the incense and God smacked him in the face with leprosy. Before he ever walked out, the leprosy was rising up in his head. And he died in a several house although he was the king of Israel, he lived the rest of his days as a leper, because God turns around in the scripture says; …I will choose who will approach unto me and I will choose how they approach me….
God’s ‘Operation Occupation’ Is The Holy Ghost
Now see, our generation has so magnified the mercy and longsuffering of God; it’s almost prostituted the holiness and the righteousness and the fearsomeness of God. Now watch; Jesus was the temple, Amen? He was God’s human temple. The problem was; he was the only temple, so He has to go do something for us, because He wants a lot of temples. Okay. So; Jesus gets crucified, sheds his blood, reconciles man back to God; but here’s what happens; he leaves in a glorified body. He ascends to Heaven. Guess what? Now God has no visible representation of Himself again, because the only one He had was Jesus, and he just left on a cloud. So now God’s back without a witness, again. He has no witness in Herod’s temple, ’cause He ain’t there. The only place He was; was in this resurrected man Jesus and he took the elevator and left. So God starts stage two. Stage two was that “I’m going to have temples, I’m going to make a body, I’m going to have a sanctuary, it’s going to be a living organism, a building, it’s going to be filled with the same thing that filled this one, lonely, body of Jesus…. So, while this resurrected body ascends, He sends back the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and in this upper room; in Acts 2; he now fills 120 temples. You gotta get this.
So here’s 120 human beings that have now been given one of the grandest experiences ever. They now become the residence of God Himself. While across town, in this ornate beautiful edifice, God ain’t doing nothing over there. But these people are over there talking in tongues and worshiping God and magnifying God and they’ve now become God’s new house. And they pour out, you know the story, they pour out into the street and they say, “What meaneth this?” And they hear them talking in their own languages the wonderful works of God. They preach the Gospel to them; the death, the burial, the resurrection. They preach repentance, water baptism in Jesus name, the Holy Ghost talking in tongues. Three thousand are added to the church. So in one day, God has gone from one ascended man to 3,120 houses.
When Jesus got here as that little naked bambino; that little bubala; in Bethlehem…. Okay…that little naked baby, born to that guy Joseph and that gal Mary, was God in the flesh. 1:23 of Matthew, “Emanuel, God with us.” Come on, 2 Corinthians 5:19, “To whit God was in Christ.” John 14, “My Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” So Jesus… God was in the house, but the house was flesh and the house called Himself, “I’m the temple of God, I’m the house of God, I’m the building of God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9 tells us, the New Testament church; “Ye are God’s building.” In Hebrews 3 it says, “Ye are God’s house.” The writer of over half the New Testament, Paul the apostle, says, “Ye are God’s body.” You get what I’m telling you?
So, as the incarnation allowed Jesus to be the flesh of God…you ready…the new birth now allows every one of us to let Jesus put flesh on for a robe. It’s called, “Christ in you, the hope of Glory.” Look at someone and say, “God’s inside of me, don’t mess with me.” We’ve heard it so long we’re not impressed with it. It is so mind-boggling that we could actually be the flesh of God.
The Church, God In The Flesh
Well, now I’m going to mess with your theology. As Jesus was God in the flesh, so the church is. God ain’t in this house. Not in His manifested presence, in His omnipresence. But in your body and my body, if you received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, you got the manifested presence of God. I can’t hardly get anybody in the church to agree with me, or even smile. But if you could look in the mirror you’d say hey boy, hey gal, guess what you are? You’re God manifest in the flesh. You’re nervous right now. See, the difference between Jesus being God manifest in the flesh and us being manifest in the flesh is magnificent. It’s worldwide. The difference was, He was the fullness. We only have the earnest of our inheritance. We just have a deposit of deity. He was the total package. 2:9 of Colossians says, “In Him dwelleth all the….” Oooh, God, I feel the Holy Ghost, excuse me the manifested presence just went by for a second. He was the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
We are not the fullness of the Godhead bodily. In John 2:23-25, when I preached Sunday morning, He knew what was in men. Why? `Cause all of what we want, the gifts of the spirit, were resident in Him. He was the fullness of the Godhead. But we need the gifts of the Spirit so that we can focus and function in the spirit. That’s why we need God to once in awhile quicken a word of knowledge to us, or a word of wisdom; or, we have to have a discerning of spirits. That’s not the modern-day discerning of suspicion–that’s not the discerning of spirits. When it talks about the discerning of spirits, it talks about evil spirits and God spirit. Not talking about whether somebody’s a fake or nothing, that’s not what the issue’s about. We need the power gifts; the gift of miracles, the gift of healing, the gift of faith. Those gifts operated in Jesus all the time. Oh, yes they did. We need the utterance gifts, the vocal gifts. Come on, we do need tongues and not we do need interpretations. We do need gifts of prophecy. We need them to utter through us. But they’re resident in the body, the corporate body. And according to Paul’s writing in Corinthians, there are certain people that God bequeaths gifts to that are resident in them all the time.
God has used me at different times in my little ministry to operate in the gifts of the spirit, but not with the frequency that I want. Not with the power that I want. I’ve been used of the Lord at different times… tongues and interpretations. I’ve been used in gifts of prophecy. A few times in my life God has given me a word of knowledge, but it comes and goes, it’s not resident. And I think the residency of those things is really God’s desire for us, but we’re too much alive. We can so easily misapply these power gifts that it gets dangerous. It’s like giving a three-year-old kid a loaded gun; you know? And after a while you start believing your own press reports. God can trust his gift power with people who are constantly dead, because it’s Christ doing the work and you don’t stop to get your picture taken.
In fact, someone was just talking to me about putting a bunch of our tapes on the Internet and starting a video and audio library thing. Is that correct? Isn’t that what we were talking about? People are writing and wanting all kinds of tapes and stuff. And they suggested something and immediately it was rejected. That wanted to call it the “Jeff Arnold Ministries.” I like, blew my stack. I said, “I’ve seen and heard Jeff Arnold ministries; it stinks. I wouldn’t buy one of his tapes.” Now maybe “The ministry of Jeff Arnold” might be different. But I don’t like that….well.
The Ultimate, Filled With The Fullness Of God
Now watch, if you will just turn your Bibles one page. You’re in Ephesians 2:20, turn just one page, Chapter 3. Here’s where I believe God is trying to take us to. Okay. Watch this; Verse 17, let’s go to Verse 16; “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory….” Where is His glory? Inside you! “…to be strengthened with might by his spirit…” here it is, “…in the inner man. (17) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love.” There’s the bummer, ’cause that’s the anchor that keeps you from being a charlatan and a charader and a pretender. It’s being rooted and grounded in love that would keep you from ever misusing the gift of God and the power of God to hurt somebody. (18) “That ye may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height…” here it is, here’s what I think God is trying to take us to, (19) “…and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” I think that is the purpose of the progression of the Holy Ghost in the church. You do not get the fullness of God when you get filled with the Holy Ghost. You get the earnest of your inheritance and God’s desire is to allow that deposit of deity to expand to a place of fullness. And the only thing that keeps it back from expanding is, my flesh won’t die. I want to be able to use the gift, the power, the residency of God, but still use my mind and use my controlism — and it won’t work.
See, God is only magnified and glorified through dead folks. “…Can these bones live? Lord thou knowest.” When He resurrected that whole valley of dry bones; you think those dry bones jumped up and said, “I’m somebody”? The prophet jumped up and said, …five minutes ago you was skeletons, you didn’t even have no sinew, or muscle, or tissue, or breath in you; man, you owe everything you got to another world: how can you stand there and pose for a picture…? How could Simon Peter and John, on the way to the temple at the hour of prayer…now notice; they’re going to a temple, but they’re the temple going to the temple! And there laying was this poor crippled slob at the door of a temple that God ain’t in. And here comes two temples. How could they have the audacity to say to this poor crippled man, “Look on us.” Is that ego? Vanity? No! It’s two dead men that’s been resurrected that want the man to look on the residency of the Spirit of God. “…Silver and gold have I none, but what I give, I give you freely, in the name of Jesus, get up.” And the minute the miracle happens; read the story in Acts 3; the guy’s jumping up and down, he’s holding on. Isn’t it always funny that he had to hold on to Peter and John?
You know what I think? This is just me…I think the reason he held on, is because Peter and John were just going to prayer; “…it’s no big deal, the Lord loves you and He heals you. I gotta go to prayer.” And he’s holding on to him. They’re not staying to get their picture taken. It was this finger…or…it was this grip. No! It was two dead guys on a way to try and bring some life to a dead temple, and it was the power of God in them that was released through them. And so, here’s these two temples walks into Herod’s temple. Read it. They’re on Herod’s porch, everybody comes running, “What’s goin’ on?” “Well, these two temples are in here making a mess in this dead temple.” …And the guy’s still holding on to them, leaping and jumping and having a ball. And so what does Peter do? What all good, dead people do, “don’t look on us, as if somehow by our holiness, or our righteousness, or our power, we made this man whole.” Then it goes into his dissertation: “God has raised up the man Jesus, His own son that you murdered and killed and you desired a murder in his place, but God raised him up by His name, and by His power this man stands here whole.” So, you could always tell when a person’s really dead. The minute that any praise comes, it’s always redirected. “…Oh no, don’t give it to us, here it is, here.”
You could really take your own temperature and pulse and find out how alive you are according to how much credit you receive. “…Well you know, I prayed for him.” “Oh, well, he probably only got what you can give him.”
Let me read Ephesians 1; turn back over. Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” We already got the blessings, we just don’t know how to get them. (4) “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” There’s that word again, love. (5) “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom,…” now the beloved is Jesus Christ, “…In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Did you get all that we just read? Let me go a little bit further. Verse 11, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” That’s God Almighty. (12) “That we…” here it is, here’s the kicker, here’s where we clash, “…that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” We are to be the praise of His glory, so that when people come among us, whether we are in jubilee celebration service, or we are on the job somewhere, we are to be the praise of His glory. What is he saying? That God be honored in our lives; that God be magnified and glorified in our lives.
That’s why we preach holiness. I wish we could really get it right; Godly characteristics. You be filled with the love of God you couldn’t possibly lie to anybody. The love of God dominates you. The love of God wouldn’t let you take advantage of anybody. That’s why the Lord said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets, hear 0′ Israel the Lord our God is one and him only shalt thou love and serve with all thy heart, mind, soul and strength. Second is like unto it, love thy neighbor as thyself.” You do these two commandments, you fulfill all the law. Why? Because all the law honors God and treats your fellow man with decency and respect and integrity. There would be no robbery, there would be no rape, there would be no molestation, there would be no dishonesty. If I loved you like I oughta love you, I wouldn’t even talk bad about you. If there would be any criticism, it would be private and constructive.
If I was really full of the love of God, like I want to be and I feel God wants me to, I couldn’t even sit down and listen to some scuttlebutt about somebody talking about, “Well, you know what he did and what she did.” My ears would close up, But sometimes there is, in us, a lack-luster love for other people and the garbage dump finds a way in. Oooops…. Oooops. Are you with me? Let me go a little further; “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” That’s the gift of the Holy Ghost. Watch; “which is the earnest of our inheritance.” I told you that a minute ago. It’s the earnest. We only got a deposit. We didn’t get the fullness; we only got a deposit, but the deposit has got the nature of God in it so full and real that the deposit could take over every aspect of our body, if we would be willing to let God control us.
How many times of I told you…what is real Christianity? God possession! That’s what it is. Anything less than that is just a growing. Real Christianity is God possession. “…Here’s my money, take what you need.” “Show me what to do.” “Here’s my time, here’s my home, here’s my life, here’s my gifts, here’s my talents, here’s my abilities, my potentials, my capabilities. Here you go. I’m yours.” You know, if we’re supposed to be the Lord’s bondservants, and His bond-slave, how come we have so many rights? I never heard of so many slaves having so many opinions. It’s almost like we’re God’s slaves, but we’re forming a union and certain things we don’t want God to do; we just go on strike. I’m assuming you’re hearing me.
Now watch. According to Romans 8:29, “…For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate.” Now do you understand? Don’t ever let those two words scare you. Foreknowledge and predestination are not the same, but they are imperative to our understanding. We do not believe, as Presbyterians, I used to be a Presbyterian so I can say this: We do not believe as the Presbyterian Church preaches and teaches; predestination of the soul. That’s a concept of a lot of people that say certain people were born to go to Hell and there’s those who were born to go to Heaven. That would make God an animal. That’s not so. That doesn’t mean that God does not know who’s going and who ain’t going. You cannot make Calvary selective. Bible said his blood was shed for the sins of the whole world. It’s hypocritical if we say it’s shed for the whole world, but its only for, as some people say, the “elect.” Not so.
The Issue Is Conforming To Jesus Christ – Willing To Die
If you read the scripture it will settle the issue forever. Read it again. “For whom he did foreknow,…” okay wait a minute, there’s the answer. Foreknowledge of God always has to do with, and only has to do with the who. Just remember that. For whom he did foreknow…that’s the foreknowledge of God. He knows all the who. Predestination does not have to do with who. Predestination has to do with what. Read. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…” that’s what predestination is. For those God foreknew, He predetermined and predestined for them to be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ. That’s the whole issue. That’s when all the rub comes. Too many of us just want to “be saved, not go to hell.” That’s not the issue. The issue is conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. It’s easy if you’re willing to die. It’s hard if you want to stay alive and call the shots. Believe me.
Watch; I don’t want to be gross, but, if somebody dies and the undertaker takes him, the reason why he can put the smile on their face, or change their hairdo, or put in them in a suit, is because there’s no resistance from the stiff. I mean; he’s going to work on them and do his hair and put a little make-up on him, so they look pretty good in the box. It’d be very hard if he was trying to work and the guy says, “I don’t like my hair that way.” Can you imagine going to a funeral and when you went in to see a loved one, or a friend that you knew, and you looked in the box and he was all like…. You’d say, “What happened? He’d say, “He was resisting me.” “Well, maybe he’s not dead.”
Now you’re smiling, wait a minute. Here we are, “What’s a matter with your kids, God?” “They’re resisting me.” “Maybe they’re not dead.” “Maybe you need to kill them again.” Now you’re smiling and laughing, but Paul is indicting us as people, “…I die daily.” “Everyday?” “Yup.” I start my prayer meeting in the morning; man, I die out to myself, I ask God to let me die, let my lusts, my drives, my emotions, and let you just live and direct my life and just help me to be sensitive, and you can just turn me any which way you want. Easier said than done, until we get to a place of understanding. The way we’ve been doing it has not worked to the degree that God wants it to work. Just look at your neighbor and say, “I just wish you’d hurry up and die so that God can fix you up.” You think I’m kidding you?
Watch; the only way to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ is; 1) death must reign in us; 2) there must be an expanding of what’s inside us to the outside contour. Shirt fits, trouser fit, eat too much junk…expand. Shirt fits nice, trousers nice. God’s got an image in his mind, “…this is what I want for my church; now I got to get inside you and I got to push and push and shape and work….” But we keep waking up and saying, “Hey, what’s all the pushing going on?” And then what God does, when we resist him…here’s what God does; he just steps back and says:
“Oooh, I gotta put you somewhere and get you dead again.”
“Ah God, I just look stupid, I ain’t stupid. I’m ahead of that class. I’m el Presidente. God, I want to be like you.”
“You don’t know what you’re asking for, Jeffrey Wayne.”
“Yes, I want to be like Jesus. I just want you to be conforming me to your image Lord.”
So what does He do? He lets all hell break loose in my life. People steal from me and people talk about me and damn me and run me down and ridicule me and problems and problems and problems. Now I’m going, “Hey, I can’t handle this!” He says, “I didn’t expect you to handle it, you’re dead.” And it’s almost like we jump up and say, “Who’s dead? I’m right here. I’ll grab this and take care of this.” Now you can smile all you want to, but every one of us…we get pushed far enough into the corner, we’ll reach out, we’ll grab a hold of this thing and take care of this. Have you ever just really pushed hard.. “Men I’ll tell you what!” “I’ll tell you how the cow ate the cabbage!” “I’ll straighten this….I’ll get me a lawyer!” And God is going; …man, I’m having resurrections here I haven’t even called for yet…. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to be an undertaker to try and fix a bunch of stiffs that kept getting up?
“…Would you please lay down. We gotta get you ready for the funeral.”
“Well, I’m not finished yet.”
Now your laughing, but I’m going to tell you; this process can be a bummer when you keep wanting to get back up. Come on. Don’t play the hypocrite with me. Don’t pretend. Have you never been pushed somewhere by a life situation, by your own lack of temperament, and have said, either out loud, or under your breath, “You pushed me about as far as you’re going to.” What does that mean? “I’m fixing to come out of the corner and raise a bunch of Cain.” But God’s not going to be glorified by it. God’s not going to be magnified by it. And we’re going to get an “F” on our report card and we’re going to have to go back through the process again until He can get Himself…listen; God is interested in fresh corpses. That’s all He wants is corpses, because if he can kill us and get us to die out, then he can resurrect us and then it’s Christ in us. We’re not living, but Christ liveth in me.
You need to grasp this. It is a great privilege and a honor and a glory, of what God accomplished through the man Jesus of Nazareth, or, you need to grasp it, that it’s an honor and a privilege and a glory for what God used the man Jesus Christ of Nazareth to accomplish, or…what did he accomplish? He started and built a church. He put Himself in the body of the church. But if you don’t grasp the honor and the privilege and the glory of it, then being the church will become a drudgery instead of a delight, and you won’t even see yourself as being the church; you’ll just come to church.
Let me read 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;…” Christian corpses, passed away, “…behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” God has not given to us the ministry of correcting everybody. He has given unto us the ministry of reconciliation. And you can’t reconcile people if you keep alienating them. A brother offended is harder to be won than a city that’s fenced. You can’t damn the darkness; turn on the light! There’s nothing wrong with you examining the darkness and telling someone, “Well, here’s what’s wrong with the darkness, but here’s the answer.” When’s the last time any of us told anybody, “You know, I used to be like you…but, I used to do all that kind of stuff, but God helped me, showed me a better way.”
Watch. (20) “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” That’s a legal term. Righteousness is imputed to us. The Holy Ghost is imparted to use. They’re not the same. Righteousness is a judicial term. You’re declared righteous. But when God…He does not impute the Holy Ghost, He imparts the Holy Ghost, which means the Holy Ghost can expand. The divine nature of God can take more control of areas of our life. You see; what our problem is:
God says, “I declare you righteous.”
“But I feel unrighteous and sometimes I act unrighteous.”
Doesn’t matter. You are declared to be the righteousness of God. What that needs to do is become art impetus in our life, so that we would live righteously. “Well, I try.” Well, that’s the problem, you need to die. Don’t try: die. Paul said, “The life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me. For it is not I that liveth, but Christ in me.” You see, the confusion and the argument and the conflict comes from two wills. And until Jesus could subject and submit his will to the divine will, we had no Calvary. And without Calvary we have no harvest. Remember, John 12:24, the seed? “Except Except a corn of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Now we always like to relegate that at the end, good ol’ Jesus, ol’ nifty Nazarene guy had nothing to do but hang on tree one afternoon, so he did all the dying. I don’t think so. That’s why Christianity is a disaster in a lot of places, ’cause, we’re letting Jesus do all the dying. He wasn’t just talking about himself. He was talking about us dying. He was talking about us surrendering:
“So, Brother Arnold, I repented and I died to my sins and…,” “Really?”
“And I died out to myself.”
“Well, I see a lot of yourself around here.”
“I noticed lately myself just thriving quite well. But I keep begging God.,.ohh, God, just somehow let me be conformed to the image of Jesus and let me….
See, my concept of conformity is; walking on the water, raising the dead, cleansing lepers, healing the sick, feeding the multitudes. His is; being spit on, lied on, blasphemed, no friends, no family, aloneness, constant dying, death, death, death. If you’re not careful you get frustrated with it; “Man, I’ve been seeking God and seeking God.” Why don’t you just die? There’s never been a resurrected man that ever posed to have his picture taken. There’s never been a resurrected woman that ever stood up and gave their story to Word Of Flame Publishers and said, “Let me tell you how I resurrected myself.” Uh oh….
Faith To Die; Then Resurrected
Hebrews 2:9-10. (9) “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels…” watch this; Jesus made a little lower than the angels, “…for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” You get it? God will even give you grace to die. See, what our problem is; we don’t trust God enough to let us die, although we keep blowing off, “He’s the resurrection.” But we won’t die. “…He may have ran out of power, and if I don’t protect my image and I don’t defend myself and if I don’t stand up for my rights….” That’s the other problem: slave’s ain’t got rights. Boy, I’m messin’ with you.
2 Timothy: 1:7-10. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;…” (oh, oh; there’s afflictions to the gospel) (9) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ,…” now watch what he did, “…who hath abolished death,…” he abolished death, “and hath brought life and immortality….”
First death has to be dealt with. He abolished death. That doesn’t mean people don’t die. It means that death no longer has the power it used to have to hold its captives. He abolished death, okay, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. So in other words; after death comes life and immortality. So, why wouldn’t we want to die? Watch; let me try this one. 1 John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” So, what is he saying? That the good things of God has just started in us. There’s great stuff laying ahead. Watch; (3) “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
I shouldn’t have to rant and rave and tell everybody how to live and how to dress and how to do. If you’ve got this hope in you, it oughta be a driving force in you. It says every man would purify himself, even as he is pure. Okay. God’s desire for a house is being accomplished in his body; the church. But it’s being accomplished to a particular end.
Look, the Lord is accomplishing His desire for a sanctuary, a temple, a building, a house, a body, in the church. But it’s to this end: it’s not just so we could…w000…feel the Holy Ghost…and we are “the church.” No! There’s a purpose for this. Watch what it says; 2 Corinthians 4:3, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” That’s the order. Christ Jesus…and we’re just servants. Now watch; (6) “For God, whom commanded the light to shine out of darkness,…” he’s going way bad to Genesis “…hath sinned in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” You want to know where the glory of God was, it was in the face of Jesus Christ. Watch; (7) “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels…” what treasure? The glory of God! The same glory that descended in Solomon’s temple and David’s tabernacle and Moses tent. We have it earthen vessels. Watch, “…that the excellencey of the power may be of God, and not of us. (8) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. (9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
Please hear me, some of you sweet darlings that are going through a bunch of hell and chaos and troubles and pressure. Welcome to the process of the Master. The only reason you go through trouble and perplexity and problems and pressure, is because you have a treasure in your earthen vessel, and God is trying to get that glory to be manifested through my dying and your dying. Watch this; (10) “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” I give you permission to write in your Bible. You need to write in the margin of your Bible: suffering/shining. (11) “…For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake.” Why? “…that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” What is he saying? Only as we allow the working of death to ourselves, death to our wills, death to our desires, death to our ego, death to our pride, our striving, our foolishness, our controlism, will the life of Jesus ever really be manifest in us.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have the Holy Ghost. It just means the Holy Ghost doesn’t have you. Well, let’s just finish with this thought and I’ll stop here. 1 Peter 4:8-11, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves:…” that’s love, “…for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging. (10) As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Watch, this is so neat, (11) “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth…” you notice what Peter’s doing? Nineteen hundred years before we got here, he’s trying to kill this vanity of flesh. Nineteen hundred years ago. He’s trying to stop it then. Saying …if anybody ministers, let him do it according to the ability of God…. Anybody teaches: let it be as God helps. What is he saying? Don’t let the flesh frustrate this stuff. So apparently they had trouble then. Why? Because God’s always chosen the biggest mess to work with humans. “…that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” That’s the purpose of everything: that God may be glorified. So the next time we throw a fit, the next time we lose our temper, the next time we’re prone to cheat, or lie, the next time we’re involved in something stupid, stop for a minute and say:
“Now listen, I heard that funny looking preacher one night say something about that God may be glorified.”
“That God may be glorified? Glorified-what?” “In the mess that I’m going through.”
“Well, how can he get glory out of it?”
“By you not acting stupid.” By you and I not exercising our rights and our will. By us stepping back and saying, “Okay, slap my face again, go ahead; take another shot at me, you want my coat? Here.” Do you realize that the large segment of so-called Christianity…I read different editorials and articles…they don’t even believe that the beatitudes is for this generation. That was just for some silly stuff years ago. Don’t you get it? It’s the mandate of the Kingdom. It came from the lips of the King. He said, “This is what my kingdom will emanate.” I look at that and I go, “What?” Read it, Matthew 5:6-7. What? No wonder we used to sing that of song in Pentecost, “I gotta long way to go to be like the Lord.” And the second verse is, “and if I had my way, I’m going real slow.”
Philippians 1:20 “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed,…” oh God, I wish I could say that, “…but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”
“What makes you so powerful, Paul?”
“Well, I’m not my own and I have no right to be here and I’m a debtor to grace and mercy and I’m not on an ego trip. All I want to do is magnify God. Whether I suffer in a prison or whether I die and they take my head off. Whatever, whether in life or death, I want God to be glorified in my life.”
“But you’re going to die without money, you won’t have any IRA, you won’t have retirement, you won’t have a nice farm in Georgia, you won’t be able to go to North Carolina.” “Yea, but you oughta see where I am going.”
This article “We Are God’s House” written by J. W. Arnold is excerpted from God Is Building Himself A House written by J. W. Arnold.