Ministering to the Deliverance and Life of the Elect
1 Peter 2:4-5; Ezekiel 44:15-18
We have been seeking to see some of the major features of this spiritual house, remembering the words of the apostle, "Christ as a son, over [God's] house; whose house are we" (Hebrews 3:6). Those features which we have already contemplated are that this spiritual house has as its object, in the first place, the setting forth of the exaltation of the Lord Jesus; in the second place, to be the vehicle through which the glory and pleasure of God are ministered to.
The Presence of a Spiritual House the Signal for satanic antagonism
Now for a little while we will dwell upon the third of those major features, which is that, in the purpose of God, this spiritual house is here to minister for the deliverance and life of the elect. We will not dwell much much upon that last word, "the elect". We need not be particularly taken up with it. It is the people of God who are in view; the Church which is foreknown, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, chosen in Christ before the world was, and the spiritual house exists to minister for the deliverance, and to the life, of that people. This is the great vocation of the people of God, or a part of that great vocation. So great, so vital is it, that immediately upon the bringing in of the Church, all hell was moved from beneath against it. The very bringing in of the Church was the signal and the occasion for a mighty move on the part of the enemy, a move along many lines and by many means, two of which can be clearly discerned, and indeed are being forced upon our attention in these days, if we recognize the fact that behind all that is taking place on the earth at this time there is a spiritual system of things. That twofold move on the part of the enemy from the beginning has been, firstly, by subtle working on the inside to bring the Church to a collapse inwardly; and secondly to overwhelm it by sheer force. I think we need say no more by way of indicating the nature of things. That is indeed satanic and a satanic method.
The first indication in the Church's history that satan was at work was by that secret, inward, subtle movement of the enemy through Ananias and Sapphira, and it was pronounced immediately to be satanic. "Why hath satan filled thine heart ..." It was something right from the inside and a subtle movement of satan to bring about internal collapse. But for the swift judgment of God upon that thing, it would have spread like a canker. it would have worked subtly until the Church was seething with that sort of thing. Then, not long after, the other form of satanic activity became manifest, namely open, direct aggressive force to try by direct means to crush and trample under foot this instrument of God which had been brought into being; and all that which has been pursued relentlessly and on an ever-growing scale down the ages is itself significant as to the greatness of the vocation of the Church. It is indicative that satan recognizes the issue to be himself or the Church; these two cannot proceed together.
Let me say again that we are not without ample evidence that the present world happenings are not merely political and temporal, but are spiritual in their nature and essence, and, as even men of the world recognize and pronounce, they are satanic in their background. If that is true, we may come to one conclusion, namely, that it is not just the suppression of certain peoples on the earth which is in view with satan. It is to get at something within or among the peoples which is a menace to that world domination of satan through his antichrist. If that really came home to our hearts as it ought to, and as it may yet be brought home more forcibly by sheer force of circumstances, we should recognize that not only is our existence as the Church at stake, but that we are up against the great test, perhaps the final test, of whether we are fulfilling our heavenly calling.
The Assault of satan Against Christ in His House
You see, the whole effort of satan from the beginning has been to destroy the life of God's people here on the earth. Christ's life in the Church is the objective of satan in this dispensation, and, inasmuch as the Church is called into relationship with the working out of God's eternal purpose - for the Church is not only called according to that purpose - but is the elect instrument for the working out of that purpose - that very fact must involve the manifestation of the most terrible power that this universe contains against God's purpose.
(continued with # 11 - "The Greatness of God's Christ")