From observation of the
maladies which come upon the people of God and bring arrest to
His work through them, we have been much impressed with the fact
that the violation of a Divine order is the cause of much
trouble. If it is true that what God is doing in this age is not
just saving individuals as such but constituting a
"Body" and building a "House" by the addition
of each saved one, then the right position of each is vital to
perfect functioning and heavenly order. There is an order, and
there is a position for each member. It is not given to us - let
us say it with emphasis - to appoint the place or to manipulate
into position. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. What we do
say is that each member has his or her place, and God knows what
it is. Under the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit each member
should come into that place. If they fail to do so, or get into a
wrong place, they miss their essential ministry and upset the
effectiveness of the Body.
"Now hath God set the
members..." (1 Cor. 12:18). Articulation is essential to
"Unto each... was the
grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ"
"Having gifts differing
according to the grace that was given to us..." (Rom. 12:6).
There are not a few
illustrations of dislocation and irregularity in the Scriptures:-
Dathan and Abiram and their
company (Numbers 16).
Aaron and Miriam (Numbers 12).
Saul going over the head of
Samuel (1 Sam. 13:9).
Uzziah presuming into the
priest's office (2 Chron. 26:16).
Paul has very much to say on
matters of order in the Church, and it is not merely the
individual position which is of importance, but the relative
factor and element. Independent action is as dangerous as
dislocation, it robs of covering and protection and exposes to
enemy forces. There is a heavenly order, a spiritual system, and
the relationships and ministries of believers are to be according
to those spiritual principles and a reflection of that heavenly
What Paul says about woman's
place in ministry and the domestic relationships of the saints
can only be understood and appreciated in this light.
When one called of God to do
the work of an evangelist assumes the role of a teacher, or
vice-versa, or any one marked out for a particular functioning
attempts to do some other, or when one goes beyond the scope and
assumes any prerogative which is not theirs by Divine ordering,
they are in the way of an arrested ministry; and more, they will
be landed into serious confusion. People and things - otherwise
occupying a vital position in the Divine plan - put into their
wrong places have the Divine unction withdrawn from them. This
becomes manifest, and the spiritually undiscerning conclude that
the thing or the person is outside the Divine purpose and
accordingly rule them out. Thus much confusion and loss ensues.
Undoubtedly in New Testament
times there was the recognition of the corporate nature of the
Church, and the definite prayer which followed the baptism of
everyone who thereby testified to their identification with
Christ was the initial setting forth of this relative position
and this truth of articulation, adjustment, and function. The
Holy Ghost came in and took up the superintendence from that
time, and any disorder thenceforth was against Him. In these few
lines we have encircled a very wide and important field of truth
and would plead for a prayerful retracing step by step with the
Word. The Holy Spirit's method is to set His seal upon us as we
move according to His leading, not according to our fancy,
choice, aptitude, predilection or ambition.