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-- © GodSpeak International 2001 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Rodney Hogue <RodHogue@aol.com> http://www.restorationdepot.org
Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net> http://www.godspeak.net
Editors: Teresa Seputis & Bob Hawley
Transcriber: Nichole Marshall

Prayer-School Course #17

Getting In God's Order

Lesson Three

New or Renewed?

By Rodney Hogue

We spent the past two lesson looking at God's five primary purposes for the Church. These five purposes don't change, but how they manifest will change. How they express themselves will change.

When God does move, He'll move through the church. In other words, God uses His people. When God is going to do something He's going to use His people to do it. Let me share an example. II Chron 7:14 says, "If My people who are called by My name would humble themselves and pray, seek My face and turn from their wicked ways...", then He will come through. God is waiting for His people to be involved in this. God has called His people, His church -- and His church is coming up and rising to the task.

Ephesians 1:22,23 says, "He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all and all." The church is the agency that God will use. The church is the body of Christ. It's the hands; it is the feet of God on this earth. It's the agency in which God will accomplish His purposes and the church is what you see around you. Not the walls, but the warm bodies next to you -- that's the church.

The church isn't a building. Sometimes we talk as if the church were merely a building. We say things like, "I think I'll go down to the church." No, you're not going to the church. The church isn't walls, it isn't buildings, it's the people. The church isn't an organization it's an organism. It's something that has life; something that life flows through, something that is knitted together. That is the church.

The church is a body of believers who walk in covenant with each other to fulfill the purposes of God on this earth. The body has to function. People have to be related on this earth. It's physical, the church is connected. People are related. God's process for accomplishing His purposes will also be done through restoration. God said that's what He's up to today.

I kept hearing people say that God is doing a new thing and I was really interested in that. So last night I looked up every Scripture that had the word "new" in it. What God is doing on the face of the earth isn't new to God, and it certainly isn't new to the church. It's just new to us. So it's a "new thing" because we haven't seen it before. Scripture talks about new wine. New wine evidently becomes old wine. I found that the word "restoration" was used about 100 times and half of it was used to talk about God restoring things of old.

Amos 9:11-15, I believe this is a prophetic word for today. It says:

"In that day I will restore the falling kingdom of David. It is now like a house in ruins and I will rebuild its walls and restore its former glory and Israel will possess what is left of Edom and all the nations I have called to be mine and I the Lord have spoken and I will do these things.

"The time will come, saith the Lord, when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested, then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine and I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens. They will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in the land that I have given them, saith the Lord your God. They will never be uprooted again."

That passage is a picture of restoration. I came across passage after passage after passage of the word "restoration." God is restoring the fortunes of old. I believe God is restoring us to a New Testament church. The church in the New Testament was filled with power; it was filled with order, God's order, authority and purity. It was fluid. It wasn't something that was set up and institutionalized. It had order, it had authority, it had all of that, but it had power and it was fluid in where it went.

But the church got away from that. Historically speaking, what happened? In the first few years, the fire was there, the zeal was there and thousands upon thousands of people where coming into relationship with God. And the wildfire spread and spread and the more they tried to contain it the more it spread. They couldn't stop it, they couldn't kill it, and they couldn't crush it until they institutionalized it. In 303 A.D., Constantine came on the scene -- thought he was doing the church a great favor and made it the official religion of the Roman Empire. He baptized all of his troops. They didn't have to be saved, they didn't have to have a relationship with God, but he thought he'd make them Christians anyway. He couldn't figure out any way to do this so he had the troops parade past a "priest" and they were sprinkled they walked by. He wanted to have a Christian army.

This gave him a bunch of pagans who were Christians in title only. And the church began to degrade from there. It was going bad, it was going downhill. After a while, as Christianity became the "popular" thing to do, the church began to have mixture in it. It began to pull pagan things in and then the church was thrust into the Dark Ages. During that time the church was really weird. They did some strange things and they had some unbiblical beliefs and systems. Most people were in ignorance because they couldn't read, they didn't have a Bible. They just received what somebody else told them. In fact, Scripture was available only in Latin and Greek in those days and most common people did not speak these languages, much less read them.

About 1,000 years ago, there was a turning. It wasn't a quick turn. It wasn't a sharp turn. It wasn't a U-turn. A little bit of light pop up. Translations of the Bible pop up here and there and people began to have a hunger for the Word. So for about 400 years, transformation moved very slowly. But it gained momentum and then all of a sudden it was like a rocket that shot up very quickly. The Bible was printed and they were able to make mass copies of the Bible rather than trying to transcribe everything by hand. Martin Luther came on the scene at that time, began to look at the Bible and talked about salvation by faith and the Reformation began and all of a sudden new life began to spring up.

The church still wasn't at God's final goal for it, but it began to move little by little and then there was another transformation. There was another movement of God and something else was restored back to the church. John Wesley restored our walk with God and some aspects of the Holy Spirit and little by little God has been restoring things to the church. At the turn of the century, there was a great movement in Wales and the Welsh Revival down on Azusa Street and it began to move around the world and we find that God is restoring things. God also began to rebirth prayer and intercession in the church, because those are a critical part of restoring the church to what God created her to be. He's restoring the church to New Testament power.

-- © GodSpeak International 2001 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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