“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:28-31).
The strategic meaning for us in this verse is that Mary shall bring forth a son. The Lord prepared Mary to be the mother of Jesus in a very special way. He saw to it that she was in a perfect bloodline, and that she was of the lineage of Abraham. This was so important because she was to be used to prepare a body, a special body, for the Son of God.
Now, in our verse above, a body, the Mary-body, is to be used to create a body for the Son of God to live in. To do this, the Lord would use a 14-year-old girl called Mary of Nazareth.
One of the most blessed thoughts in the Scriptures is the concept of God having a Body ministry. It is one of the best, and farthest-reaching plans, that God has ever shown us. His plan calls for each of us to enter into a relationship with Him whereby we are transformed from the kingdom of darkness (that is, our sinful lives) into the kingdom of His dear Son. He does this by placing His Son, Christ, in us. This means there is no restoration or correction of humans in the plan of God. The plan of God calls for our old nature, the old man, to die with Christ on the cross and for our bodies to become the house for a new creation—the Christian.
God Sets the Stage
This placement of His son in us is what God’s plan is all about. Mary became the epitome of the Body ministry when she was chosen of God to bring forth the Savior. She received the highest calling, for her only purpose in being birthed herself was to bring forth a living Savior to a dying world. Had she rebelled, had she failed, had she fallen short, had she done her own thing, had she lived according to the custom of her own day, there would never have been a living Savior to come forth out of her life.
To make sure the Son had a perfect body to be born in, the Father properly set the stage. For 400 years, the world had been without a prophet. In that time, God prepared Mary. She was of the proper bloodline; she had the proper family tree, dating back to Abram; she had the perfect history. It was God’s choosing. For she was not the highest and mightiest of girls. She was not the most learned. She was not the most famous. She reached the pinnacle of her life after she had performed the work of God. She was a simple, everyday, 14-year-old Israelite girl. She fit into the plan of life for a young girl of that age. She was betrothed to a man much older than she, but she was to have a great control and power in his life. She was to be a spiritual woman chosen of God. Joseph’s role was in keeping with the plan of God, but he wasn’t chosen; she was. Her mission was to fulfill the Father’s plan in bringing forth a living Savior to a dying world.
Mary epitomizes the true Body of Christ. She is the clearest picture of what the true Body of Christ is today. The greatest truth of the Body of Christ today is that every believer is pregnant with Jesus. Regardless of who we are, our only purpose of existing is to bring forth the living Savior to a lost and dying world. As Mary did, we are to bring forth the Son of God. This is to happen in every one of our lives; for this is the purpose for humans on this earth.
Dear friends, time is short. God, alone, knows when the end shall come. Still, most of the world is without the knowledge of who Jesus is. It is necessary that God divinely intervene and do something about His great cause. It is not movements and organizations or men who control the ultimate plan of God. One thing, I believe, God wants is this Mary story to be the example for all born-again believers. We, too, are to allow the Christ in us to be delivered out to the whole world.
It All Started on the Day of Pentecost
That night in Bethlehem, angels announced the birthing and shepherds came to see the baby that had been brought forth, born of the Spirit. Likewise, the true believer of Christ has brought forth the Savior without man’s help. So, the Holy Spirit came to those 120 people waiting in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost for the sole purpose of bringing forth Jesus in their lives. On that day, a new body was formed. That was the plan of God from the beginning. That has been the way God has always moved since the birth of the Christian church. It all started on the Day of Pentecost, and though it has wavered and waned on many occasions and at times become almost extinct, the Holy Spirit has always brought forth the Son from that new Body formed on the Day of Pentecost. Note, it was not a body of the Holy Spirit, even though He had much to do with it. It was the new Body of Christ.
Today, that new Body of Christ is the Church. It started on the Day of Pentecost, still under a Judaistic cloud; but finally, in God’s perfect timing, the Apostle Paul was raised up to clarify and design the true Body of Christ so that it perfectly fit God’s eternal plan. Just as God did at Bethlehem with the Mary-body, and just as He did with the new Christ Body on the Day of Pentecost, it was all done without man’s help. God, alone, births and brings forth the Son. As the Son begins to come forth, a world, even a religious world that has become corpse-like—indifferent, pathetic, non-spiritual, intellectual, and denominational—comes alive. In the midst of all this, God sends the Holy Spirit to be the teacher who causes men to sit up and learn; and suddenly the life of Jesus begins to come forth from the Body of Christ, and His life is manifested upon the earth in a new and living way. All of the needs of humanity begin to be met as humans see that Christ lives in them. God elects that this move of Christ alive should go to the ends of the earth, still without any man touching it; and, just as it was with the Mary-body, Joseph is not used in any supernatural way.
A new move of God we call the Christ-life message has begun to encompass the earth; and a pure Christ has begun to come forth. Little people, insignificant people, unimportant people, common people, just like Mary, just like those 120 on the Day of Pentecost, have begun to bring forth the Son. Always, every move of God goes in cycles. For God to accomplish a greater thing, He must move from a lesser thing.
Do you see the picture? God is doing it the way He has always done it. He never really does anything new. He has already written His plan for eternity. Everything we need is firmly fixed in His eternal plan. True works of grace will always be produced by the same God. Nothing is in vain; no story is in vain, not truth is in vain. All things are working together faithfully in the plan of God. And so, the Lord is raising up the Body of Christ, bringing forth the Son in this day. The great burden grips our hearts that we might preach this Jesus as we never have before and enlighten humanity as to what God is doing.
The Joseph Ministry
Did you ever wonder why Jesus stayed thirty years in Nazareth? At the age of twelve, He was growing in stature physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially. Why did God keep Him there for that training for such a long period of time? Before the Savior actually came forth to die and save the world from sin, the Father had seen to it that He had entered strict training. Those are the years the Father used for the training of a Son.
Now we come to the all-important point that is necessary to Christianity, which opens up the factor of Joseph’s position. He wasn’t a relation by birth; he wasn’t an important factor supernaturally. He was strategically important in providing for raising and supporting the Son. And that brings us to the very important place all believers hold in the plan of God.
Not all will sing or preach or do great visible things in their Christ-service, but each one can carry the gospel in some way. It is at this point that Joseph begins to minister to the Body. He is and intricate part of God’s plan. The Joseph ministry is to take care of the Body of Christ, the Mary-body. He does the work necessary by providing the natural needs. He pays the bills, provides the house (the meeting place). He takes charge of all the natural needs of the household of God, even as Joseph provided for Mary and Jesus as a good husband and step-father.
Today, multitudes still do not know Jesus; and they will not know Jesus without the body-ministry of Joseph. He is necessary, you see. The people who meet in hotel rooms, living rooms, restaurants, or wherever, without the true ministry of Joseph, must begin to consider this truth. Now, we must intensify the move of God for the sake of those who have never heard. We must settle the question of what we will do with this great ministry and message of God in Christ. I feel like a voice crying out in the wilderness, for I’ve always so strongly believed that in the ministry of any group of believers, regardless of where or how they meet, there should be no problem with the meeting or the meeting place because there are those placed in the Body to see that all goes well. The local church is where two or three gather together in His name.
We must get it instilled in us that a move of God is no stronger than your desires to provide a channel to reach those who have never heard. Seeing what Christ is to this Body of believers, the Christ-life believers, there should never be a hesitancy to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. Your children must be involved; your teenagers must be involved, and every hour of your day and life should be planned prayerfully, as to how you will release the Christ that is in your body. That is where Joseph comes in.
Behold the Lamb
The great ministry that God has given to the Body of Christ this day is to bring forth a Savior. This great Body is to make known to all men that a Savior has come. I believe the Christ-life ministry can be likened to the ministry of John the Baptist. Just as God had a man to proclaim the first coming of Jesus, God now has a Body to proclaim the coming of Jesus for the Church. Just as John the Baptist was trained by the Holy Spirit, so is the Body of Christ trained today. It must be trained to bring forth the message of Jesus.
John’s message was simply, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). We must skim off and we must cut down, we must pare everything that hinders us from having a true message in these closing moments of time. I don’t believe the world needs any other message in these last moments of time except that Christ’s life in human beings is their only hope of glory. In Christ is our healing; in Christ is our food; in Christ is our restoration and salvation; in Christ is our new nature; our everything is in Christ. That’s God’s perspective. We have that message now, and that is the message we should be preaching and declaring to all men everywhere.
The Simplicity of Mary
It isn’t all the little details of what we believe that will get the true gospel out. We have seen so many beautiful things in the Mary-body. It isn’t her great wisdom, her great social status, or her prestige that is important. It is her simplicity. We’ve seen that in the Christ-life Fellowship. You can get together four or five Christ-life believers in a living room and have as great a meeting as if 5,000 were there, because now it’s a Christ-simplicity. It’s a different move of God, you see. It has its own personality, and that’s why it is beautiful. We do not worship Mary any more than we worship this body of believers. Jesus is the gifted one. I have Him in me. God doesn’t give me gifts; He gives me Jesus. The Holy Spirit brings forth Jesus out through me, and the gifts are His ministries. We never had anything important before the Christ-life.
In the Mary simplicity, the Holy Spirit is now bringing forth the Son in places we never dreamed before, and that is the beauty of it. Who would ever have thought that Judea would have been the birthplace of a king? Or Bethlehem, that most despicable of all cities? Who would have thought Nazareth would have been the hometown of the Savior? Most of all, who would have thought Mary would have anything to do with such a great ministry? That’s what we are seeing today in the Body ministry. I’m seeing, in very unimportant places and among very unimportant people, in the eyes of the world, a mighty move of God’s Spirit. God is bringing forth the Son where He wants Him. No man has ever been able to touch or have anything to do with the true Body ministry of the Father. Once the Spirit begins to bring forth the Son, it’s not a man’s teaching ministry, not a healer, not a great preacher, but only Christ. God used no man when Christ was birthed. It must always come through the simplicity of a Mary-body.
The Father’s Mission
There were several individual groups who knew the Son was coming forth 2,000 years ago. There was Mary, as well as Zacharias and Elizabeth. There were angels, wise men, shepherds, all who knew this event was taking place. The Father didn’t send any man through the country to say, “Now, every one of you wake up; there is going to be a Savior born down in Bethlehem, and we are going to have a great commemoration day.” No. God always performed His plan Himself because, you see, the birthing of sons is finally the mission of the Father. And, since He doesn’t tell us who they are and where they are, He brings forth the Son in us everywhere we go.
Do you see the picture? We’re coming into a new faith, His faith. We’re coming into a greater hour where men have not heretofore taken spiritual responsibility. God is moving in the world, in believer’s lives, awakening an urgency in our spirits to bring about His intention.
God is not going to save denominations. He is not going to bring them corporately into the Christ-life. This isn’t His plan. He is not going to restore institutional churches. His plan is consistently to pull out believers and to move on. If Jesus delays His coming, I believe we’re going to see groups who have been floundering—waiting on their preacher to get stirred, waiting on their Sunday school teacher to get stirred, waiting on their church to accept the fullness of Jesus—launch out into a new faith walk. I believe God is going to begin a move whereby believers begin to take spiritual responsibility to maintain this message, as has always been the plan of God. The Joseph ministry is going to vibrantly come alive. We cannot do without him. Sooner or later, you are going to need Joseph to maintain the ministry in the home to be in God’s plan. And, until Jesus comes, we’re going to need a ministry of the local home-church bodies to promote the ministry of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
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