The House of God: The Greatness of Christ and His Church (continued)
The House: The Place of God's Government (continued)
So what we have in the Book of Acts sets this very clearly before us. There the Church is under the government of heaven, and it is a very effectual Church. But when the Church got under the government of man, it lost its effectiveness. The government of the Church requires a heavenly position, that is, a Church, or a House, that is wholly according to Christ. That is necessary for heavenly government. The government of the Lord will come by way of things being just according to Christ. "This is the place of My Throne!" What place? - The place that is according to Christ. Everything here in this vision is Christ. Christ stands over everything. Everything takes its measure and its character from Christ, and this is the place of the Throne.
And then this is a House that is entirely ordered by the Spirit. You notice the place of the Spirit in this House? - "The Spirit lifted me up, the Spirit brought me in, the Spirit took me out, the Spirit took me around." All this is in and by the Spirit, and this is the consummation of the Church government.
The government of this House is the government of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit may use men, He may choose those who are called elders, but there is a great deal of difference between the official and the spiritual. You can be what is called an elder officially, and not be an elder spiritually. If you are an elder spiritually, you are bound to become that officially. Your spiritual measure will be recognized; and whether you are made an elder or not, you will be one if you are spiritually one. The government, I am saying, is spiritual. The men of the New Testament were described as men "filled with the Holy Spirit." They were the apostles, they were the elders, they were the deacons. That was the thing that made them what they were, men "filled with the Spirit."
The House: The Vessel of God's Life
Then on to the third thing. This House is the channel, or vessel, of God's life. Out of a house, like this House, Life flows. It is from this House that the Life flows. You do not have to start the Life flowing, you do not have to make this Life. This Life spontaneously comes from a stream. You do not have to go and collect buckets of water and then try to pour them out of this House. There is nothing official about this. There is nothing second-hand about this. There is nothing of men's doing about this. The Life just springs up! and it flows out, it flows out of a House like this - a House where the Lord's Throne is, a House where the government of heaven is, a House where the Lord is. Out from that House the Life flows. The testimony itself is in that Life.
John said, "This is the testimony." Do you want to know what the testimony is? The testimony is not a system of doctrine and teaching. The testimony is not a technique. "This is the testimony, that God has given unto us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son" (1 John 5:11). The testimony is in the Life; and when the testimony is in us, when the Life is in us, the testimony is in us. So the testimony of everything is Life. That is a searching statement!
Life is that which determines the presence of the Lord. Life is that which tells whether things are according to Christ. Life tests whether this service is the service of God. Life tests everything. The question is, "Is it ministering Life? Is this thing a living thing, and is it pouring our Life, pouring out Life to the ends of the earth?!" If that is not rue, then there is something wrong with it. It may be a very wonderful technique and system, but there is something wrong with it. Everything is tested by "THE LIFE."
(continued with # 46 - (Christ is the Great Spiritual Order)