The Church Structure
There’s a revelation I would like to share here, and it concerns the structure – the form, the container – the Body. We all know the Church is the Body of Christ. The body is an extremely important part, so the spirit and the soul; the power and the anointing; the glory and the character; the gifts and the fruit; the calling and the destiny, can function properly.
Have you noticed, that before the Lord places His Spirit, first He always makes the form that will contain Him. First is the form and then the content in it. We can see that everywhere throughout the Bible. I will give you just seven quick examples:
When the Lord began creating the Heavens and the Earth, the Bible says the Earth was without form and void (Genesis 1:2). It was a shapeless mass. Some Bible scholars say this was not the initial creation process, but rather a recreation one, after the Earth had become formless because of a certain disaster. Whatever the case might be, we can see that the Holy Spirit could not do anything, except move upon the waters and wait for God the Father to start speaking the word and bringing ORDER (form, structure) in this place. Then and only then the Spirit could fill every part of this new creation with Himself. Without the proper order and structure, He would still be moving upon the waters. There are waters of devastation in our life too, that have come because of a certain calamity, and the Spirit of God is waiting for God’s word to come forth in our life, bringing Divine order, form and structure.
When the Lord created man, first He formed the body out of the dust of the Earth, and then, when the form was ready, He placed His Spirit in man, breathing the breath of life into his nostrils (Genesis 2:7). First was the form, and then the life in that form.
When the Lord established the institution of the family, the man said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:… and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24). So many married couples are trying desperately to become one spirit and one soul, and it would help so much if they all understand that if the Lord is going to place His Spirit and His heart and mind in their marriage, they must first become one flesh – one form – one structure – one body! This is spirituall language. Spiritually to become one flesh and one body. Amazing, isn’t it? Think about it! Once the conducive structure is in place, the Lord is ready to fill it with His Spirit.
When the Lord commanded Moses to build a Tabernacle for the Lord, the Bible says that the people were building it according to a precise design given to Moses. It was a very detailed and complicated work, and they had to finish it completely, every detail being in place, nothing missing, nothing broken, nothing out of place, and then, the Glory of the Lord (His Presence, His power, His essence, His character, His gifts, His fruit, His plans, purposes, intentions, and destiny) filled the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:33-35). This is an amazing portion of Scripture. It signifies that when Moses finished the work, setting everything in its proper place and order, the Glory of the Lord came and made this place alive.
When the Lord took Ezekiel to the valley filled with dry bones, it was a picture of death and destruction. So what was Ezekiel supposed to prophesy first, in order that life could come back in those dry bones? You guessed it – he had to prophesy the structure first – the forming of the bones into a body, the gathering of all these bones, the coming of the flesh, skin and everything else, and then, finally, he had to prophesy about the Spirit to come and make the bones alive. Can we see already that the Spirit comes when we present to Him a place – a form, a structure, a body? That’s so important! (Ezekiel 37).
When the Lord established the institution of the Church, first He worked towards the establishment of the structure of His future body of believers while He was on Earth, and then, at Pentecost, He poured His Spirit upon His Church. He called His Church – His Body – The Body of Christ. Christ means Anointed One. That includes His anointing, His power, His gifts and fruit – His everything. We are the Body, that contains His Spirit. Isn’t this the greatest privilege one can ever have? As a Body of Christ, we become “bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh”. That’s why we are also called the Bride of Christ. As Adam’s bride, we become one with Him by becoming a part of His Body, and then, His Spirit comes to dwell within us. Then, we become one Spirit and one mind with Him also. Whew! That in itself is such a vast subject, so it definitely can not be explained at length here, but it sure is enough to make us think.
The Bible says that even evil spirits seek a body to be able to express themselves in the Earth, as well as carry out their wicked plans, strategies, and schemes. They consider the bodies of people their houses (Matthew 12:43-45). They can not operate without a body. That’s why they pleaded with Jesus to at least send them into pigs’ bodies, in stead of sending them in the abyss, where they could find no rest. So, the body is important to evil spirits as well. That’s why the Bible expressly says that we are a temple of the Holy Spirit and that we should be extremely careful about what we are doing with our bodies. Our bodies are for the Lord and for His purposes, and we must present them as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him and Him only (Romans 12:1).
So, we can see from all these, and many more examples, that the body, the structure, the form, is extremely important. In a global aspect, this is really something the Church should pay attention to. Because if the Body is not properly structured, it will not be able to fulfil its destiny completely. You see, we can have all the revelation truths being restored and all the power and anointing and glory at our disposal, and yet, not move in our Divine destiny, because the structure of our life, our family, our church or our nation can be crippled and thus, not being able to hold all the precious things coming from the Spirit of the Lord.
Through the years of Church history, the structure of the Church has been changing with every new revelation truth being restored and with every new minsitry office and function being revealed. At the time just prior to the Protestant reformation started by Martin Luther, there was a total chaos in the Church structure, and that’s why, this period is called: The dark ages of the Church. It reminds us of the condition of the Earth in Genesis 1:2 – no form, no structure, no shape, no body. Hereby – no Spirit and no life, but at the same time – a great potential. So, since the time of Martin Luther, the Lord began to reshape again the structure of His Church, parallel with the restoration of revelation truths and offices. We can see the progression from a shapeless mass, to a Church that little by little began to assimilate God’s truths of being born again, being baptised in water and in the Spirit, living holy life, living by faith, living separated for God’s plans and purposes, using our God given gifts, talents, and abilities, expressing the fruit of the Spirit in our daily lives, praising and worshipping the Lord more and more openly and from the heart, praying with more intensity and power, getting deeper in God’s word and so much more.
Then, we see another progression. The Lord started restoring the office of the evangelist. The structure of the Church changed immediately. Large tent meetings and open meetings mark this period of time. The structure was a mass gathering for the purpose of winning the lost. Then, when a considerable number of lost people got saved, a change of structure was needed again, to accomodate all these people, so they didn’t fall away. The pastor’s office came to help, providing Jesus’ love and care for the thousands of newly born people. Then the office of the teacher provided another structure, more conducive for the education of God’s people in all present truth. Many Bible Schools came into existence, many Theologic schools, many spiritual seminaries, many books have been written, many Christian Universities have been established, providing education on campus, through correspondent courses or even through online study. Then, with the coming of the office of the prophet and the apostle, the Lord had to change the structure of the Church again to a more flexible structure that would allow special training gatherings to be formed, where people could be individually trained expressly for the work of the ministry, moving in the gifts, the fruit and the authority of the Holy Spirit.
Now, when the five fold office has been restored compeltely and is gaining momentum as a combined ministry force (apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors and evangelists working together for the equipping of the saints), more and more the Church is coming into the original structure the Lord had in mind for it – the Structure of the Body!
More and more believers begin to realize that they are a part of something bigger, a part of a Worldwide Corporate Body, and that by finding their place in that Corporate Body, they will contribute to its growth in the Lord (Ephesians 4:11-16). More and more, believers are finding out, that they are not just to be lay people, coming to Church once or twice a week, listening to the man or woman behind the pulpit, and having no other responsibility whatsoever. Every believer is a king