This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
Tonight I want to speak to you on a very wonderful theme. The theme is the glorious church of Jesus Christ. There are many, many people today associated with the church who have no concept whatever of what it means to speak of the glorious church. But the scripture says that the church for which Jesus will be coming as his bride will be a glorious church. The Greek word for glory is doxo from which we get an English word doxology meaning that which ascribes the glory to God.
Now I came to New Testament Greek by way of classical Greek, the more ancient form of Greek, and I was a student and a teacher of the philosophy of Plato. And one of the basic concepts of Plato’s philosophy is summed up in this word doxo. But in Plato the word doxo means that which seems to be, that which appears, or opinion. Then being a bit of a revolutionary I decided that while I was studying philosophy I would read the gospel of John in Greek during one of my summer vacations from Cambridge University. I announced to my tutor of Greek that I was going to do this and he earnestly sought to dissuade me because he said it would spoil my classical Greek style. All I needed was to have my tutor dissuade me to make me determined to do it. So in the course of vacation I read the gospel of John through in Greek.
Now I was far from God, I made no profession of being a Christian. I was a professional philosopher but somehow this message gripped me. I remember riding on a train from the west country from Sommerset back in London at Paddington Station, was met there by a fellow student and friend of mine, we were going on to Cambridge together. And I said to him, you know, I’ve solved the riddle of John’s gospel. Just like that. I forget how I’d solved it but I’d solved it. Then what really gripped me in John’s gospel, the thing that really puzzled me was this. John used the word doxo and it was translated in English glory. And I thought to myself how could it be that Plato used the word to mean that which seems to be, that which appears whereas John uses it for glory. But some years later when the Lord met me in an Army barrack room in the middle of the night and I was wonderfully born again of the Spirit of God and less than two weeks later baptized in the Holy Spirit in the same Army barrack room—at that time a flood of light came into me and many, many things that I’d read earlier from the Bible came flooding back to me as if I’d read them just five minutes previously. And suddenly I understood this use of the word doxo. In classical Greek, in Plato’s Greek it means that which is seen, that which appears. In the New Testament it means glory. And you know why? Because God’s glory is his presence made manifest to man’s senses. It’s the visible, tangible presence of God. And when I saw that I realized how the word had come from the meaning of that which appears to glory. The glory of God is that of God which appears which is manifest to the senses of man.
Stephen, speaking to this Jewish council in Acts 7 said, the God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham when he dwelt in Mesopotamia. And I tell you tonight that Abraham knew God by his glory. That was what marked him out. He appeared in visible glory to Abraham when he dwelt in Mesopotamia. This so changed Abraham’s life, motives and ambitions that he forsook all to go out into the Promised Land.
And when the scripture speaks about a glorious church it means a church that is filled with the glory of God. A church that has within it the manifest, visible, tangible, personal presence of Almighty God. Not a church that is living on naked faith without any manifestation but a church which through faith has entered into a relationship with God where God’s visible, personal, tangible presence is with his people. And the scripture says that is the kind of church for which Jesus is coming.
If you will turn to Ephesians 5 and read from verse 25 through verse 27—and I’m going to show it to you here in the outline—we have given in the epistle of Ephesians seven distinctive marks of the true church of Jesus Christ as she will be in the day when the Lord comes for her. In Ephesians 5:25–27 we are told this:
“Christ loved the church and gave himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”
Understand this, that Jesus redeemed the church by his blood that he might sanctify it by the pure water of his word. The blood and the water of the word are both needed to make the church ready for the coming of the Lord. I do not ever belittle the blood of Jesus. It is the redemptive price by which we are bought back through his sacrifice on the cross out of the hand of the devil. After we have been redeemed by the blood it is the purpose of God that we shall then be sanctified and cleansed by the washing of the water by the word. And I do not believe that any Christian will be ready to meet the Lord who has not gone through the sanctifying, cleansing process of being taught and disciplined by the word of God. Jesus redeemed the church by his blood that me might then sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word with the purpose that he might present it to himself as it says in verse 27:
“A glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
There are the three marks there stated concerning the church for which Jesus will come. It is to be glorious, it is to be marked out by the manifest presence of God in her midst, it is to be holy and it is to be without blemish.
Now if we turn back into Ephesians 4 and to read verse 11–13 we find there the process by which this church will be made ready for the coming of the Lord. And it speaks here in Ephesians 4:11 of the five main body building ministries of the church.
“He [Christ] gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some shepherds [or pastors] and some teachers.”
There are the five great body building ministries: apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. And he gave these ministries in verse 12:
“For the perfecting [or equipping] of the saints for the work of the ministry.”
Not that these basic ministries should do it but that they should equip the saints to do the work of the ministry for the edifying or building up of the body of Christ. Verse 13 describes the terminus to which we are moving:
“Till we all come [the King James says] in the unity of the faith.”
But the Greek says into the unity of the faith. It is the terminus towards which we are moving and then it says in the King James:
“And the knowledge of the Son of God.”
But the Greek word means not merely knowledge but acknowledgment. The acknowledging of Jesus, the Son of God.
And the way by which we will come into the unity of the faith is only through the acknowledging of Jesus Christ. It is not by sitting and discussing doctrine. If there is one thing sure, discussing doctrine does not unite Christians. The only way in which we will be united is by coming together around the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as we acknowledge Christ in his headship and in his supreme authority over every aspect of the church, then we will come into the unity of the faith. You see, the doctrine of salvation is meaningless without the person of the Savior. The doctrine of healing is meaningless without the healer. The doctrine of deliverance is meaningless without the deliverer. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is meaningless without the baptizer. But when we acknowledge the Savior we believe in salvation. When we acknowledge the healer we believe in healing. When we acknowledge the baptizer we believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit. And we acknowledge the deliverer we believe in deliverance from evil spirits. In every case the road into unity is not the road of doctrinal disputation and discussion, it’s the acknowledging of the Lord Jesus Christ in his glory, in his authority, in his headship and in every aspect of his ministry. And as we acknowledge Christ in all that he is to the church we are brought through the acknowledging of Christ into the unity of the faith.
And through this we are brought into two further parts of God’s will, reading still in verse 13:
“Unto a perfect man.”
The word perfect would more plainly be translated unto a mature full grown man. And then it says:
“Unto a measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
The key word I believe there is fullness. Until the church of Jesus Christ, as his body, demonstrates Christ in all his fullness, in every aspect, in every grace, in every gift, in every ministry, the church is equipped to manifest Jesus. You see, at the present time we manifest to the world a pathetically small part of the totality of Jesus Christ. There is much of Jesus which the church is incapable of demonstrating to the world. But God is going to bring the church into that place where the corporate body of Christ will fully reveal the totality of Jesus Christ in his personality and in his ministry to the world. This is what it means by fullness.
So we have altogether, I believe, the seven distinctive marks of the church as God is preparing to make her for himself that he may then take her to himself. She shall be glorious, filled with the manifest presence of God, holy, without blemish, coming into the unity of the faith through the acknowledgment of Jesus Christ in his headship and Lordship, and thus will come into maturity and will be in a position to manifest the fullness of Christ to the universe.
And if you turn back just one further chapter in Ephesians, to the third chapter, you find this wonderful prayer of the apostle Paul for the church beginning in verse 14 and reading through verse 19. And I do not intend to dwell on this in detail but Paul says:
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, [notice it must be in the riches of his glory] to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; [the Spirit is the one who ministers the glory and makes it available] that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height...”
What I want to point out to you is none of us can comprehend this individually. It is only as we come together with our fellow believers with all saints together, we are able to comprehend the totality of Jesus Christ. The height, the depth and the breadth and the length. And then Paul goes on to say in verse 19:
“To know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Is that not a most tremendous statement that the church of Jesus Christ as God is going to bring her forth is going to be the dwelling place of all the fullness of God. The totality of God in all his nature, in all his power, in all his aspects will be manifested in the church. There’s only one other place that I know of where the phrase the fullness of God is used and that’s in Colossians 2 where it says of Jesus, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” In Christ God was manifested. Totally. Not partially but totally. But when the Holy Spirit has completed the work of forming the body of Christ, in the body of Christ, the church again, the fullness of God will be manifested. But do not ever imagine that this will ever happen to you, a little unit on your own. It is only as you come together into the unity of the faith and the acknowledging of Christ that you will be able to comprehend with all saints the breadth and the length and the depth and the height and thus be filled with all the fullness of God. This is the purpose of God for the body of Christ, the church.
Now I want to turn back to the Old Testament, to the prophet Isaiah and give you an outline from Isaiah’s prophecy of how this will come to pass. If you would turn to Isaiah 59 and begin at the 19th verse and we shall actually read on into Isaiah 60, concluding at verse 5. But we’ll take it in two phases. Verse 19 begins with this statement:
“So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.”
God is going to manifest himself in such a way that the whole earth will fear before him and will see his glory. And then the second half of the verse relates to our situation:
“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”
The truth is the enemy has come in like a flood. The enemy is the devil. He has infiltrated every area of national life in the United States. Political, social, the schools, the colleges, the seminaries, the universities, every aspect of national life in this country has in the past few decades been systematically infiltrated by the forces of the enemy. I believe most of you here do not need to be convinced of that. I listened to a preacher that took one hour to convince us of that and stopped there. I thought, God forbid that I should ever close on that negative note. So I want to take it for granted with you this evening that we acknowledge that the enemy has come in like a flood. Not only has he come in in the world but above all he’s come in the church. This is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel where the people of God and their inheritance are desolated by an invading army of insects. And I’ll tell you the church has been invaded through the centuries by God’s great army of judgment. The cankerworm, the locust, the caterpillar, the palmerworm, they have all moved in and desolated the inheritance of God’s people. But God says at this time his Spirit will move amongst us. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, then the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
Now the standard which the Spirit of God uplifts is just one person and that is Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit does not uplift a human personality, he does not exalt a doctrine, he does not exalt an institution. He’s come to the church to do one thing. Jesus said in John 16, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall glorify me. He shall take of mine and shall show it unto you. The ministry of the Holy Spirit within the church is to reveal, uplift, magnify and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the standard uplifted by the standardbearer, the Holy Spirit.
Now in an ancient army when they were hard pressed and in danger of defeat the standardbearer was instructed by the commander in chief to find a piece of elevated ground, stand there and lift up the standard. And when the soldiers in that army, looking ‘round, saw the uplifted standard, that was a sign to them that they were to gather and regroup around the base of the standard. And this is what has been happening in the past decade in the church. The Holy Spirit has begun to uplift the standard, Jesus Christ. And from every section of the church God’s hard pressed people, in danger of being overrun, scattered and finally defeated have turned around and seen an uplifted standard. Not a denomination, not a church but the Lord Jesus Christ. And every person who acknowledges that standard has begun to move around the standardbearer. It isn’t a standard for the Baptists, it isn’t a standard for the Catholics, it isn’t a standard for the Assemblies of God—it’s a standard for every person that says for me, my faith is centered in Jesus Christ. He’s my standard. I’m a Christian first, a Baptist second. A Christian first, Assemblies of God second. A Christian first, Roman Catholic second. When I see Jesus, no matter who uplifts him, he’s my standard. I’m going where people acknowledge and worship the Lord Jesus Christ.
And that is precisely why we are here tonight. The Holy Spirit all across this nation is uplifting the standard. And from every section of the church men and women who say Jesus is what matters are coming around that standard. And God is regathering his people.
Now let’s go on to verses 20 and 21.
“The redeemer shall come to Zion and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.”
There will be a returning of the people of God to the Lord and of the Lord to his people. The redeemer shall come to Zion, his people, and to them that turn from transgression. We have to turn from our backsliding, our carnality, our self sufficiency, our sectarianism, our rebellion. We have to repent and turn back. And when we turn from our transgressions to the redeemer we find that the redeemer has come to Zion. Restoration has come to the people of God. And restoration is fulfilled in verse 21 in the restoration of the Spirit of God to the people of God. And so God goes on to declare in this context:
“As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.”
This restoration is not partial nor is it temporary, it’s final and it’s permanent. When the Holy Spirit comes back to God’s people now, we are never going to be without the Spirit of God again. This time God says it’s for you, your children and for their children forever. This is the great final restoration of the Spirit of God to God’s people who have been living so many centuries like orphans without the comforter.
And then we go on—though there is a chapter division I believe the prophecy is consecutive—into the 60th chapter and we come to verses 1 and 2. We notice here a tremendous contrast, a contrast between light and darkness. And the message is to God’s people, to Zion, verse 1:
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people [of the earth]; but the Lord shall arise upon thee and his glory shall be seen upon thee.”
This is where we are just now. It is true. Darkness is covering the earth and yet grosser darkness is going to cover the peoples of the earth. Let’s be realistic. The Bible clearly reveals it and we can see many evidences of a kind of darkness that we have never even contemplated before beginning to engulf the inhabitants of the earth. But in the midst of the darkness the message of God to his people is the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Here is the contrast. The light is getting brighter, the darkness is getting darker. And we have come absolutely, conclusively to the parting of the ways. Neutrality from now on is ruled out. Jesus said he that is not with me is against me. Every one of us is going to have to make a decision and make a commitment. Do we love the light? We will come to the light. If we refuse to come to the light Jesus said it’s because our deeds are evil. And this is the condemnation that light has come into the world and men love darkness rather than light. This is the choice that confronts each one of us here tonight. Am I going to come to the light, am I going to walk in the light? Am I going to be part of the light, am I going to be identified with the light and the purposes of light in the earth? Or am I going to hide away in the darkness as it grows darker and deeper across the face of the earth and over the peoples of the earth?
I’d like to give you three scriptures that I believe all illustrate this truth. Genesis 15:5. Abraham was pleading with God about the sons that had been promised to be born to him. And he said I have no sons. And the scripture says the Lord took him out on a dark night and showed him the stars of heaven and said count the stars. So shall thy seed be. And Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Now God showed me by revelation in the middle of a sermon once that this applied to us. For the scripture says through faith in Jesus Christ we are the children of Abraham. You’ll find that in Galatians. And God said to Abraham, your children are going to be like the stars of the sky. And I saw this. Normally speaking, when the sun is shining or even at night when the moon is shining and the lights are gone you do not pay much attention to the stars. They are largely to be ignored. But when the sun has set, when the moon is not shining and when every natural source of light has been extinguished, in the pitch darkness the stars shine brighter than you ever saw them shine before. And that is precisely how it’s going to be at the close of the age. As darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people, as the night gets darker and darker, the children of Abraham through faith in Jesus Christ are going to shine out like the stars in their glory. This is the place where we’re coming.
And then we look in Song of Solomon 6:10. Here is a sudden glimpse of the bride coming forth in her glory.
“Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun and terrible as an army with banners?”
The world recoils in amazement. The world has never seen a church like this. Who is this coming forth like the morning? After a night of darkness here is something that is like the rising of the sun. She is fair as the moon. The business of the moon is to reflect the glory of the sun. And you know of course that the moon appears in phases; quarter moon, half moon, three quarter moon and full moon. It waxes and wanes. And the church of Jesus Christ has waxed and waned. But when the church comes back to full moon she will fully reflect the whole glory of the Son. That’s what the world is going to see, a full-orbed church, completely reflecting the glory and brightness of the Son.
And then it says she will be clear as the sun. Though she is as the moon, she will have the righteousness and the authority of the Son of righteousness, Jesus Christ, imputed to her and she will be terrible as an army with banners. Who has seen a church that is terrible to the forces of evil and darkness, sin and Satan? But there’s a church coming forth that’s going to cause the forces of Satan to tremble and flee. And I believe that.
One thing God has shown me in experience, and this is about the devil, there’s one message the devil fears more than any other message and it’s the one I’m preaching to you tonight. It’s the message of what the church is going to be and what the church is going to do to the devil. And the devil fights against this truth more than against any other truth.
Let’s turn to Revelation 22 and see the same truth brought out in another way there. The last book and almost the last verses of the Bible. Revelation 22:10–12.
“And he said unto me, seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. [the end time] He that is unjust [or unrighteous], let him be unjust [or unrighteous] still. He that is filthy, let him be filthy still. He that is righteous, let him be righteous still. He that is holy, let him be holy still. Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me to give every man according as his works shall be.”
You see, the time is at hand. Jesus is coming quickly. And what is the message then? Listen, it’s a fearful message. He that is unrighteous, let him be still more unrighteous. He that is filthy, let him be still more filthy. He that is righteous, let him be still more righteous. He that is holy, let him be still more holy. You cannot stand still, you’ve got to go up or down. But to be stationary, to be static, to be neutral is no longer possible. If you’re unrighteous, go on friend, live it up. If you’re filthy, get filthier still because you don’t have long. And if you’re righteous, don’t trust in your righteousness. Be more righteous. If you’re holy, be more holy. Nothing deceives God’s people so much as to believe their salvation is a static condition that you arrive at through going forward at the altar of a church and saying a little prayer, shaking the pastor by the hand. I used to have the tag on ‘sinner.’ Now I’ve got the tag on ‘saved.’ Friend, that is a caricature of salvation. Salvation is not a static condition, it’s a way of life.
Proverbs 4:18 says:
“The pathway of the just [the righteous] is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
And Job 17:9 says:
“The righteous shall hold on his way and he that hath clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger.”
Righteousness is a way, it’s not a seat you sit in in a church with a tag on your back saying ‘saved’. And if you’re not moving in the way of righteousness, if the light is not getting brighter on your pathway, you’re going astray. For the path of the righteous is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Millions of Baptist and millions of Pentecostals are deceived about what salvation is. And I have to acknowledge a certain measure of responsibility for allowing them to be deceived. I’ve preached the message of salvation which was not in line with the word of God. Salvation is not a merit badge for having sat fifteen years in a church pew. It’s a way of life that’s progressive. And we have come to the place where you’re either going up or you’re going down. You’re either getting brighter or you’re getting darker. But neutrality is finished. Compromise is at an end. If you’re going to be righteous, be more righteous. If you’re going to be holy, be more holy. And friend, if you’re living in filth, Jesus said this—have you ever thought of this. He said he that is filthy, let him be still more filthy. Go on, friend, you don’t have long. You better live it up because it’s coming to an end and that quickly.
I remember a minister, I don’t want to go into this in detail, but he had a problem. His problem was pornography. He was a youth leader in a well known large church of a well known denomination. But he was gripped with pornography. His room was filled with pornographic volumes and he could not keep away from the dirty movies. And he phoned me one year and came to me and counseled with me. I told him how to repent, how to be delivered. The next year I was in the same area again, the same man phoned me. I said, you had your chance, why didn’t you act on what I told you last year? He said I think I ought to come and see you now. I made an appointment, he didn’t keep it. He phoned me the next day and said I’m sorry I didn’t keep that appointment, I went to a dirty movie. And you know what I said to him? I said, you better go on and live it up because you don’t have long. He that is filthy, let him be more filthy still because he’s not got much longer. I never thought of that scripture in that light but oh, how it applied to that man. A youth minister in a large well known denominational church involved in the filth of pornography and dirty sex movies. And yet pretending that he wanted deliverance. Friend, if you want deliverance I’ll tell you one thing, you better get desperate. And don’t expect the preacher to be desperate for you. If you want to be filthy the Bible says go on and be still more filthy. That’s the words of Jesus.
But if you want to be righteous, you better go on and be still more righteous. And if you’re headed for holiness, go on and be still more holy. There is no stopping from now till the end. That’s the way. The moment of decision, the darkness getting darker, the brightness getting brighter. The earth covered with darkness, the church filled with glory. You can be negative and talk about the darkness, it’s true. Everything you say could be true. But as for me, I prefer to focus my attention on the light. Some people know the antichrist is coming. I know that too. But my good news for the world is that Christ is coming first.
Let’s move on. Just continuing in this outline. What will be the result of the church manifested in glory? I believe these next three verses of Isaiah 60 tell us and I want to go through them and apply them in a practical way. Verse 3:
“The Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
Nations and rulers will turn to the church. Do you know that the majority of rulers of the nations today are at their wits end? They do not have an answer to their problems and they know it. You can elect one president or another. You can elect a Democrat, you can elect a Republican but neither of them has the answer to the problems of this nation. Is that true? I believe it to be true. And do you know where many of them are turning? To a certain lady that lives not far from here who is a fortune teller and clairvoyant. I know as a matter of fact that the man that was nearly elected president but did not get in is a regular client of that lady. Why are men in positions of leadership going to fortune tellers? You know why? Because they know that natural reason and understanding does not have the answer. But to my way of thinking, it’s a reproach that the president of the United States should seek to a clairvoyant when the church of Jesus Christ is in Washington D.C. I believe if the church were what she should be, we’d have the rulers of the nations lined up at our door saying do you have the answer. And I believe it’s coming. The nations and their rulers are going to turn to the church for her answer in these dark hours that lie ahead. We’d better be ready to come out with an answer that’s not based on natural reason. We ought to be like Daniel and like Joseph. In the critical hours of two great Gentile empires those Gentile rulers had to go to young Jewish men because they had more than natural wisdom. They had an answer from God that placed them immediately on the highest position of authority in a Gentile empire. The God of Daniel and the God of Joseph is the God of the church of Jesus Christ. And we need to be able to go like Daniel and Joseph to the Lord for an answer and take it to the rulers. And I believe the time is at hand when we shall be doing that.
Verse 4, the young people come in. The church is told:
“Lift up thine eyes round about and see all they gather themselves together. They come to thee. Thy sons shall come from far and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.”
You see, there’s a great deal in the last day prophesies about the young people. Acts 2:17, “it shall come to pass in the last days saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.” There is coming a tremendous influx of young people into the church of Jesus Christ. It has already started. Hundreds of thousands are coming in. Especially on the west coast, in California, they are having baptismal services of young people where four and five thousand young people are being immersed in the sea in water baptism and testifying of their faith in Jesus Christ. Both Life and Look have carried major articles on what God is doing among the young people. It’s the fulfillment of the prophecy. Thy sons shall come from far, thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions. You know what I believe? I have it deeply laid upon my heart that we should have an answer for these young people when they come. And I do not believe that they will ever get into the institutional church as we know it. And my prayer is God forbid. But I do believe we have a responsibility to give them a simple pattern of Christian life and discipline which they can apply without becoming fossilized and institutionalized as you and I have been for so many years. That’s my belief.
The 5th verse, what will happen to the church? This is the one I love.
“Then thou shall see...”
The church is beginning to see after being blind for centuries as to who God is and what God is doing and the purposes of God. Then thou shall see. And the next thing, flow together. That’s what’s happening. That’s why you’re here tonight because the church is flowing together. The Lutherans, the Baptists, the Pentecostals, the Catholics are flowing together. Lots and lots of little streams are trickling down from lots and lots of different areas and they’re all joining one great stream that’s becoming a river. And this river is going to become a great river and it’s going to flow forth into a mighty ocean that shall fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.
The first time God ever gave me interpretation, I’d been baptized in the Holy Spirit about 48 hours, I was lying on a straw mattress in the barrack room where I slept as a soldier. I spoke in an unknown tongue and without realizing it I began to interpret. I didn’t know what it was but I knew that I was not choosing the words that I was saying. I was astonished. And I remember them as clearly as if they happened last night. It shall be like a little stream, the stream shall become a river, the river shall become a great river, the great river shall become a sea and the sea shall become a mighty ocean. You know what I believe? I believe it. What did I know about revival? You could have talked to me about revival and I wouldn’t have known what you were talking about. I didn’t have any doctrinal knowledge of scripture. No background in evangelical circles, nothing. But the first time God ever spoke to me individually he told me what he was going to do. And I’ve lived from then until now just over 30 years and I’m at the point where I see the great river beginning to flow. But that’s not the end. The great river is going to become the sea and the sea is going to become a mighty ocean. And here it is in the word of God. Then shall thou see and flow together; the Baptists, the Methodists, the Pentecostals. Every one that sees the uplifted standard of Jesus Christ is coming down from his little corner, his little hill place, his little valley, trickling down into one great stream and it’s going to flow out. When Ezekiel saw the living waters that flowed out of the temple at the close of his prophetic book, when they began to flow they were just deep as the ankle. He went forward a 1000 cubits, they were up to the knees. Another 1000 cubits, they were up to the loins. And the next 1000 they were waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And when the church gets as deep as waters to swim in the church cannot be passed over. The church is no longer irrelevant. The church is no longer out of date. When the river is flowing deep enough for us to swim in, the world will know we’re here.
You know one thing I feel about the rapture? It should be that when we’re gone the world will miss us. At the present time I doubt whether the world would know the rapture has taken place. But when we go, they’re going to miss us. That’s my conviction.
Let’s look on in verse 5, I’m coming to the climax of my message.
“The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee; the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”
Where it says forces it should be wealth. The wealth of the Gentile world is coming to the church. Do you believe that? I do. And that’s what I’m going to preach about now. The wealth of the Gentile world coming into the church. God ordained three great structures to be built for his glory by his people. The first was the tabernacle of Moses. The second was the temple of Solomon. The third is the church of Jesus Christ. I know there were other buildings but there was none in the same category as these three. Each one of these buildings had a divine pattern, each one had a divine provision and each one had a divine purpose.
And I want to share with you the provision and the pattern for the temple of Solomon. Turn with me to 1 Chronicles 28 and let’s look there at the words of David in connection with the preparation for the building of this great temple. 28:11:
“Then David gave to Solomon, his son, the pattern of the porch and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chamber thereof, and of the inner parlors thereof and the place of the mercy seat, and the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit.”
You see, David got the pattern for the temple by the Spirit of God, by divine revelation.
“Of the courts of the house of the Lord, of all the chambers around about, of the treasuries of the house of God and of the treasuries of the dedicated things; also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the Lord. [Now listen:] He gave of gold by weight for things of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; silver also for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service. Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick and for the lamps thereof; and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.”
Every item of gold and silver, the exact weight of gold and silver required to make that specific instrument was provided specifically by David to the last dram.
“And by weight he gave gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and likewise silver for the tables of silver. [verse 17:] Pure gold for the fleshhooks...”
You know when I read that I thought to myself, what a building when even the fleshhooks are made of pure gold. That’s something.
“...and the bowls and the cups, and for the golden basins he gave gold by weight for every basin, and likewise silver by weight for every vessel of silver. The altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims. All this [in verse 19] David said, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.”
The entire pattern was given supernaturally by the Spirit of God in a diagram, in a blueprint which God gave David by the Holy Spirit. Every vessel, its exact structure, its pattern its weight and the exact amount of gold or silver required to produce each vessel was all given by the Holy Spirit and the material was provided by David.
Now, move on with me into the 29th chapter and look at this provision of gold and silver.
“Furthermore, David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son whom alone God hath chosen is yet young and tender and the work is great. For the palace is not for man but for the Lord God. Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God.”
You know why God loved David? One reason is because he did things with all his might. When he prepared for the house of the Lord he prepared with all his might. You know what else David did with all his might? He danced before the Lord. Did you know that? With all his might. When David did things, he didn’t do them by halves. He was wholehearted in worship, wholehearted in giving, wholehearted in consecration. And that’s one main reason why God loved David. He said:
“I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, wood for things of wood, onyx stones and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colors and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.”
Doesn’t that make you feel wealthy? When I read that I begin to think what a wonderful God I’ve got. There’s no stinginess, there’s no meanness, there’s no narrow-mindedness with God. It’s got to be abundant. It’s got to be glorious.
“Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God...”
Have you set your affection to the house of God? I’m not talking about a brick building or building of stone. I’m talking about the church of Jesus Christ. Have you set your affection to the house of God?
“...I have of mine own proper good, [my own personal fortune, not anything that came from the treasuries of Israel, my own private fortune. Listen to this:] which I have given to the house of God, over and above all that I have prepared for the house, even 3000 talents of gold of the gold of Ophir...”
Just stop and consider for a moment. I made some calculations, I do not claim to be exact. But I believe that you can say fairly accurately a talent of refined gold in the time of David would be worth about $25,000 today. And David out of his own fortune provided 3000 talents of gold. You know how much that is? 75 million dollars. Did you ever stop to think of that? He started life as a little shepherd boy but because of God’s blessing, out of his own personal fortune and apart from what Israel gave, the treasuries of the nation, he gave 75 million dollars worth of gold and we won’t even go into the calculation of the silver. We’ll just leave that on one side. That’s the small change.
Now then, listen, verse 5:
“Who then is willing this day to consecrate his service unto the Lord?”
He said, now I’ve given 75 million, what are you people going to do? And it says:
“The chief of the fathers and the princes and the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly. And gave for the service of the house of God of gold 5000 talents and 10,000 drams.”
Leave out the drams and take the talents. 5000 times $25,000 is 125 million dollars of gold. You add up what David and the fathers gave out of their own private wealth, it’s 200 million dollars. And if you consider that was only the gold without any of the other materials, you could multiply that by at least five times for the total material used in the temple and you’d get a billion dollars. And then you calculate the value of all that had to be imported, the cedars from Lebanon, the stones that were cut, the labor, you’d have to say at a conservative estimate the temple of Solomon was a multi-billion dollar building. Why? Because it was for the glory of God. And nothing in it was to be skimped, nothing was to be second class, everything was to be of the very highest standards according to an exact pattern. And everything that was needed was provided to the last dram, item by item. For every gold candlestick, every gold hook, every gold plate, every gold dish, the exact amount of gold was specifically provided.
Now this is a pattern and a picture of the church of Jesus Christ. As we come to the close of this age, God is going to complete the greatest building that the world has ever seen. It’s going to make the temple of Solomon look insignificant and cheap. You know what that building is? It’s the body of Christ, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I believe in this generation it is God’s purpose to complete this building. And you know what I want to tell you? Just as the wealth of God’s people was needed to complete the temple of Solomon, the wealth of God’s people is going to be needed to complete the work of the church of Jesus Christ on earth. Can you say amen to that?
I hope you’re with me. Because now we’ve got out of the spiritual and into the material. Or are we still in the spiritual? What do you think? Do you believe it’s unspiritual to talk about gold and silver? Then the Bible is a very unspiritual book. And the new Jerusalem is a very unspiritual place because its streets are paved with gold. Listen, just as the temple of Solomon required the wealth of God’s people for its completion, so the church of Jesus Christ is going to require the wealth of God’s people for its completion. And God is going to enable his people to give as abundantly to the church as they gave to the temple of Solomon in proportion. Now this is my firm conviction.
Do you know that this is one reason why I’ve become an American citizen? You may laugh but it’s the truth. I’m speaking in all earnestness when I tell you that I came to the conclusion as a Britisher relatively new to the United States, that God had a special destiny and purpose for the United States of America. And it isn’t too easy for a Britisher to see that. I know and you know that God has blessed this nation materially, technologically in every way as no nation has ever been blessed in the history of the earth. You know that? You’re aware that this is not a matter of argument, it’s a matter of simple statistics. Why? I believe because God wants the wealth, the technology, the skills of the United States to be used to complete the house of God. I really believe that. I’m not just saying something for the sake of making an effect, I actually believe that this is the destiny of God for the United States of America. And you know what I have begun to pray? I have begun to claim the wealth of the United States for the kingdom of God in this decade. And you know why I believe I’m going to get it? Because I’m claiming it in the name of Jesus. Now I am not claiming it for Brother Prince. Please understand me. I am not out after anything for myself. But there is nothing more tragic than to be blessed with material prosperity and have no vision as to how to use it. You see, that’s the tragedy of the young generation. Everything has been dumped in their lap, they’ve got abundance and they have no vision.
Now friend, prosperity is a blessing. Poverty is a curse. Prosperity without vision is just frustration. What I want to give you tonight, and I’m near the end of my message, is a vision of what you can do with your prosperity. I’m not going to ask you for an offering but I’m going to ask you what David asked the elders. Who is willing to consecrate his service to the Lord? That’s my question. Are you willing to consecrate yourself to the Lord. That everything you earn, everything you do, your talents and abilities shall be devoted to the one thing that’s going to stand when everything else crashes, and it’s going to crash, there’s going to be one thing standing. The kingdom of God and the church of Jesus Christ.
Turn with me to the prophet Haggai in closing. You’ll see that God has clearly forecast this in scripture. Turn to Haggai 2 and we’ll read verses 6–9. This is the close of this message.
“For thus saith the Lord of hosts, yet once it is a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations.”
And this is quoted in Hebrews 12 as the final great intervention of God in judgment on the nations. The final shaking. God is going to shake everything that can be shaken. Friends, your insurance policy can be shaken, you know that? Your Cadillac, your Buick, your house, your investments in the bank can all be shaken, you realize that? I’m not criticizing you, I’m not in any way belittling material prosperity. But realize it can be shaken. You know that. How many of you can remember the Depression and remember what happened then? You know what can happen to this nation. It can be shaken.
What is going to stand, what is God’s purpose? And he says:
“The desire of all nations shall come...”
This is the King James version but the correct translation is the treasures of all nations shall come. Where? To God’s house.
“And I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house [the church] shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Can you see the great purpose, while everything else crashes and trembles and shakes all around us, while the darkness gets deeper, the perplexity of nations increases, kings and their rulers are going to turn to the risen light of the church of Jesus Christ, they’re going to bring their treasures into the church that the purpose of God for the close of this age may be accomplished. And what is God’s purpose? I’ll give you one closing scripture. Matthew 24:14.
“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.”
That is specific. That’s what’s going to bring the end. The preaching of this gospel of the kingdom, the full gospel of Jesus: Savior, healer, baptizer, deliverer, is going to be preached in all the world to all nations. Then shall the end come. Now listen, let’s be sensible. God says the silver is mine, the gold is mine. Did you realize that? If the devil has money, he stole it. Whom does it belong to? God. And he never gave the devil any legitimate right to that money. God’s people apologize for having money. It’s the world that should apologize, not God’s people. We’re entitled to it. The silver is mine, the gold is mine, the glory of this latter house shall be greater than the glory of the former. In other words, God says bring me the silver and the gold into my house and you’ll see what I’ll do with my house. The gospel of the kingdom must be preached to complete the church of Jesus Christ. For it must come from all kingdoms and nations and peoples and tribes and languages. The gospel has to be preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, not just a watered down human version, give your heart to Jesus—but a gospel that’s a demonstration of the Spirit and of power such as Paul preached. This gospel of the kingdom is to be preached in all the world, then shall the end come.
What is your part and mine? It’s to dedicate ourselves without reservation to promoting the kingdom of God. To seeing the gospel goes forth into all nations and the whole world. This is the only rational use of your assets, your talents, your silver and your gold. And I say to you as David said, Who then will consecrate his service this day to the Lord? How many of you really have dedicated your life, talents, service and wealth to the one thing that’s going to stand? The completing of the body of Jesus Christ. And if you have not yet done it, how many of you would say in the light of what you said tonight, Brother Prince, I see there’s only one rational, sensible purpose in life. It’s to live for the completion of God’s house that it should be filled with his glory and every stone set in place and I am willing to take my place and do my part.
Now in the presence of Almighty God, if that is your decision—and remember, it’s a decision made before God and not before man—I want you where you are to stand to your feet. Do not do it if you’re not willing to stand behind it. Now those of you that are standing, I want you to join with me in dedicating ourselves to the service of the Lord. Would you say these words after me? Lord Jesus Christ, I acknowledge you as my Savior and as my Lord and as the head over all things to the church. And I now dedicate myself, my talent, my time, my strength, and my wealth to the glory of your house. Accept me and what I have and from this day forward guide me and direct me that I and what I have may be used to the maximum to glorify the house of God. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.