You must be very careful to keep that line clearly defined, because, if I am not mistaken, that is just the work of the devil to destroy the power of the Church, and I believe that that is the heart of Revelation 12:11, - "They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb" - and who is it they are overcoming? The accuser of the brethren. He is seeking to cast them down by accusation, and their answer to his accusation is the Blood of the Lamb. What is that? God satisfied, God at rest, and I at rest on the basis of the Blood. They overcame him and he is cast down. They are not cast down when they maintain their position there. The Blood is not something just for initial salvation; it is something for final triumph; it is the final thing. The value of the Blood is a tremendous thing to keep the Lord's people strong and assured, confident, and with the ringing note of authority; God's basis of satisfaction, the Blood of His Son making possible His exaltation.
Well, this is all to do with that necessary, indispensable element of assurance by which the Church is built. The spiritual house goes forward on that line. I believe that that is the secret of the remarkable progress at the beginning. "The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." The Church grew in a way in which it has never grown since, and the great factor in the building of the house then, in the growth of the Church, was that there was this note of absolute assurance and confidence. They were a people who had heart rest, and who knew that Jesus Christ was enthroned. For them that settled matters in their hearts between themselves and God. That is all going back to our previous meditation, but it leads us right on to this further thing which the passages we have read bring especially before us. It is that the spiritual house has its existence for the very purpose of answering to God's own desire, ministering to God's own pleasure and glory. There are these phrases in Ephesians: "That we should be to the praise of his glory"; "to the praise of the glory of his grace," should exist to satisfy God's heart, to minister to His glory, to His pleasure. In this way, the spiritual house is to be God's answer to all that has happened in history.
God' New Creation
In the first creation gathered up into the first Adam, we have seen God surveying His working and saying, It is very good! Then followed breakdown, chaos, ruin in the creation. Out of a ruined creation, God lifted a nation, and the greatest thing that was ever said of Israel, I think,is in that little phrase, "Israel is my glory." What a thing to say! Israel My glory! And in the early days of Solomon, Israel was God's glory. Again come breakdown, failure, ruin. Finally we see God coming back again, coming back on Israel, coming back on creation with a new creation in Christ Jesus. Firstly, as to Christ Himself personally, and being able to say, as we have seen, "My beloved, in whom I am well pleased," I am fully satisfied. In other words, it is the new creation seen in Christ, and God saying, It is very good, I am well pleased."
But then there comes in the Church, the Church which is His Body, which is an extension of the new creation from Christ personal to Christ corporate, and the last thing in view about this Church is its coming down from heaven having the glory of God, or, to use the other words, "presented unto him a glorious church," or again, "when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all them that believed" (2 Thess. 1:10).
That is the end. So that this is God's final answer. There is not going to be another chaos and ruin in the creation. This is God's last answer to all that has gone before of ruin and breakdown. It is the Church, this spiritual house, a new creation.
What the Church Is
What, then, is this spiritual house? What is this Church? Let us not have an objective mentality about this, thinking of it as something somewhere outside of and apart from ourselves. What is it? The answer is a very simple one. The spiritual house of God is Christ Himself! Yes, but not Christ personally alone, but Christ IN YOU, IN ME, the hope of glory. Oh, it is just here that all the mistakes have been made about the Church, with such disastrous results. The Church, the House of God, is simply Christ Himself in undivided oneness found in all those in whom He REALLY dwells. That is all. That is the Church. Seek to root out of your mentality any and every other idea of the Church. It is not Christ divided into a thousand or a million fragments among so may believers. It is still one Christ. You and I are not the Church. It is Christ in you and in me that is the Church! We still remain what we are outside of the Church, still on our natural ground, but it is the measure of Christ in us that constitutes the Church, a spiritual Church, a spiritual house, the one Christ by the one Spirit in all those in whom He dwells. That is the Church. God has never seen in that Church, in that Temple, anything but His Son!. He is the Temple of God and you and I can never belong to the Church save as Christ is in us. I know that is a simple thing to say, but if we would just fasten on that and see what that means; it is one of the great factors of unspeakably great power against the enemy, if only we would live on that basis, if only we would abide there.
There are two ways of approaching the matter, and I see again the great success of satanic propaganda in this matter. I do not know what you older Christians think about it. We can only speak of what we have recognized in our lifetime, but we have lived long enough to recognize the course of things, and to me it does seem, and it more than seems, that, in the last few years, the last few decades, there has been a far greater development and growth of suspicion among Christians than there used to be, so that today it is almost impossible to speak anywhere without people wondering if you are quite sound. It is in the atmosphere. It seems to me that there is a constant alertness to scent something that is not quite sound, and anything that is of God is prejudiced by that attitude, that state of things. The real truth of God is not getting a chance because this suspicion has spread over all the world, among all Christians. Is this quite right? Is this quite sound? Is this quite true? What is the snag here? What is the error in this? It is like that. That is the positive line, and, beloved, I believe that this is one of the marks of this satanic propaganda to bring about collapse from the inside, because it means that there is internal disintegration, there is no cohesion, the people of God are broken up into thousands of fragments by this very spirit and atmosphere of suspicion bringing about prejudice, and the Church cannot move together as a solid whole.
There are very few Christians indeed who can move a hundred percent together, as one, simply because of this. satan brings it into the most intimate circles of Christian life and fellowship, all the time bringing up this horrible element of uncertainty, question. Yes, he has gotten to the inside, and he is bringing about internal disintegration and collapse in a very quiet way, but subtly working through the years, and he can win many bloodless battles along that line. He can take territory very easily along that line and hold it and gain his end of dominion.
(continued with # 8)