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Sep 1999 - Editorial

Zeal for the house of God can manifest itself in a desire that things are done rightly according to the revealed will of God. As when God instructed Moses about the Tabernacle furniture, 'see that thou make them after their pattern, which hath been shewed thee in the mount' (Ex. 25:40). The design of the sanctuary would certainly be marred if divergence were allowed from the divine pattern, and if innovation of human devising began to characterize what was to be a dwelling place for God. It was this unity of pattern that the apostle Paul realized as being not only desirable, but essential to the nature of the house of God. There can be no doubt that his zeal was born of love for Christ and His Word. Such was his concern that he could say, 'so ordain I in all the churches' (1 Cor. 7:17). 'The apostles' teaching and fellowship' were equally precious to the elders whom he appointed in every church. Those whom the Spirit of God had made elders were encouraged to give 'diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace' (Eph. 4:3), so that the churches of God should not become divergent in practice.

Letters of commendation are an affirmation of such unity and of fellowship. Those who visited other churches of God carried a letter requesting that the bearer should be graciously received. These disciples were named and identified, and when they travelled, as the number of churches increased, they would experience a welcome ensured by the commendation. It was essentially the church's commendation, and not self-commendation.

In the series Lovers of God's House, this month Martin Dyer shows how Asa's reign was evaluated by the ways of David, and how both Asa and Josiah in their turn had a decided influence on the Lord's people in their own generation, through a determination to do that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.

George Prasher's further contribution on New Testament Churches of God takes the apostle Paul's work in Ephesus as an example of the wisdom of waiting for the moving and direction of the Spirit of God, and of the receptiveness of earnest-hearted believers to further revelation of God's will. The seed of the word of God was consistently sown, and not only was the grace of God evident in the Gentiles, but the Spirit's power was felt in a wide area of Asia. Those comprising the Church of God in Ephesus knew the blessing of forming part of a holy temple in the Lord, by contrast with the heathen worship of Diana.

This month's FOCUS offers a spiritual perspective of the Kosovo crisis, warning against complacency, yet drawing on divine reassurance, and emphasizing the ongoing need for earnest prayer.

In the first of a short series entitled Disability and Dignity Paul Merchant takes up the life of Jacob to show how physical disability in the intervention of God need not prove an obstacle, but can bring with it a new view of life with a rich spiritual dimension and a place in the purposes of God.