“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28 NKJV).
One of the spectacular visions that John the beloved saw when he was banished to the island of Patmos for the testimony of Jesus Christ was the vision of “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2 NKJV).
The unique and impressive wall of the Heavenly Jerusalem, a city whose maker and builder is God, is a model or pattern wall for today’s Church.
The impressive wall of the New Jerusalem which John the beloved saw in a striking vision coming down out of heaven from God highlights the major attributes or qualities that all the men and women in the leadership position in the Church, who constitute the spiritual walls of the Church, should possess and evince.
In every generation, God is always looking for and calling some men to make up or build a spiritual wall for His people.
Prophet Ezekiel reveals God’s mind, saying, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Eze. 22:30 NKJV).
“You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the LORD.” (Eze. 13:5 NKJV).
The Scripture reveals that the New Testament believers are living stones that make up a spiritual house for God.
1 Peter 2:
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NKJV).
Among the living stones that make up the spiritual temple of God some are divinely, specifically and strategically positioned as “the wall.” These are men and women in position of authority or leadership in the Church.
While the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Good Shepherd and “the Gate” to the sheepfold, yet He has graciously called and given some believers the privilege and responsibility to be His under-shepherds. These God’s chosen and appointed leaders in the Church are those who constitute “the spiritual wall of the Church.” They are the spiritual walls for the flock of God!
Beyond nurturing, feeding and caring for the sheep of God, the shepherds or spiritual leaders in the Church are also charged with the responsibility of watching over, protecting and defending God’s flock against the encroachment and invasion of the world and the devil.
Paul gives this admonition to the elders of the Church at Ephesus.
27 “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
29 “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
31 “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (NKJV).
This admonition is for all Church leaders today!
Our churches today are filled with all sorts of abominations and evils because many of our spiritual leaders or shepherds whom God has strategically positioned as “the spiritual wall” are too weak, feeble and shallow to defend the Church against the floods of ungodliness, pollution and corruption.
The Holy Spirit is therefore calling for a rebuilding and reconstruction of the spiritual walls of today’s Church.
In order to build a strong spiritual wall that can stop the encroachment and advancement of the world and the devil against the Church, it is imperative for us to carefully examine, study and understand the peculiar foundation, the height, the width, and nature of the model wall of the Heavenly Jerusalem where God dwells and no unclean thing can enter (Rev. 21:27).
First, let us examine the peculiar foundation of the model wall of the New Jerusalem.
14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (NKJV).
The foundation of a building, though underneath, is very significant. It is the depth of the foundation that determines the height of the building. A shallow foundation cannot carry or support a skyscraper.
The impressive height of the wall of heavenly Jerusalem was standing on twelve solid foundations of all kinds of precious stones, bearing the names of the twelve apostles of Christ (Rev. 21:14, 19).
Similarly, church leaders today must have spiritual depth in God’s Word. Unless we are built on the foundation of the apostles (apostles’ doctrine) with Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone we shall remain a weak, feeble and porous wall that cannot stop the invasion and infiltration of the world and the devil (Acts 2:42, Eph. 2:20-22, Jude 1:3).
Unfortunately, many of our spiritual leaders today are men and women without any spiritual depth. It is their spiritual shallowness that is responsible for the spiritual and moral deficiencies or weaknesses staring us in the face in the Church today.
Damnable heresies and false doctrines have infiltrated the Church because many of our spiritual leaders are too shallow in God’s Word.
Second, the twelve foundations of the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem was also said to be made up of twelve solid and precious stones.
19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. (NKJV).
It is the nature or strength of the foundation materials that determines the strength of the building or the structure on it. A foundation made of weak materials cannot carry or support a strong building.
Our spiritual walls today are weak, feeble, and unfit to stop the encroachment of the adversaries because the spiritual foundations of many of our leaders are weak. Many of them are not built firmly on God’s Word.
The Scriptures vividly describes that the wall of heavenly Jerusalem was built on twelve foundations with the names of the twelve apostles written on them (Rev. 21:14).
The foundation of the apostles comprises the body of teachings, the revelations, the principles and doctrines of Christ which were passed down in the Church by the apostles of Christ. This is what our brother Jude called “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3 NKJV).
Nothing else offers a solid, firm, secure and enduring foundation for any believer or leader than the foundation of the apostles with Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (NKJV).
Our walls (spiritual leaders) are cringing, collapsing and crumbling before the enemy today because many of them are not built on a sure, firm and solid foundation of the apostles with Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.
God is calling all those in the leadership position in our churches today to prayerfully and carefully examine their spiritual foundation – its depth and nature. This starts with examining your life to be sure that you are genuinely born again through faith alone in the person of Jesus Christ and His finished work.
Do you have a witness of the Spirit in your heart that you are a child of God?
Now is the time to locate, identify and fix every hidden fault, crack or weakness in your foundation so that you can be strong and fit to defend and repel off ravenous wolves from God’s flock.
The third striking feature to consider and emulate from the model wall of the New Jerusalem built by God is its impressive height and thickness – 200 feet high and thick.
16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. (NKJV).
Imagine a wall of such height and thickness!
The Church today needs leaders who are spiritually mature, high, thick or strong as her spiritual walls.
Men and women who occupy leadership position in our churches must not be babes in spiritual understanding, or immature, undiscerning, unstable, untrained and inexperienced in godliness and in the handling of the Word of life.
Unfortunately, in many of our churches today, it is the carnal, sensual, ungodly, unrepentant, unregenerate, unlearned or unskilled men and women in God’s Word that constitute the spiritual walls (the spiritual leaders).
Any wonder they cannot stop the invasion of the flood of ungodliness and immorality into their churches?
Our spiritual leaders (the spiritual walls of the Church) may not be able to withstand the pressures, violent attacks, and aggressions of the adversaries this end-time unless they grow up in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, thereby becoming strong in the power of God’s might (2 Pet. 3:18, 2 Cor. 4:8-10).
However, true spiritual growth and thickness require spending quality time daily or regularly in God’s Word and prayer, and discipline and diligence in following the Lord’s instructions and teachings. Spiritual muscles are mostly built up during personal, deep and intimate fellowship with God.
Servants of God are called to be good examples to believers in longsuffering, perseverance and patience. Sadly, many of our spiritual leaders today are weak and porous spiritual walls because they are slothful in the study of God’s Word and prayer.
Many are only pleasures-seeking and comfort-loving. Their inordinate passions for the ephemeras make them to be easily swayed by doctrines of demons, and quick to compromise the faith of old for title, position, fame and wealth.
Lastly, another feature or attribute of the wall of heavenly Jerusalem that spiritual leaders today must possess and manifest is the nature and quality of its material.
The Scripture reveals that the material or construction of its wall was of jasper.
18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. (NKJV).
Jasper is the most precious stone, clear as crystal. In the Scripture, God’s glory is often described as being like a jasper stone.
The heavenly Jerusalem was described as “Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” (Rev. 21:11 NKJV).
As thick as the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem was, it was as transparent as crystalline jasper to reveal the incredible beauty of the city. Among all precious stones, only jasper is colourless; it is clear as crystal. This depicts never-ending glory and purity.
It is God’s desire that the spiritual walls (spiritual leaders) of the Church today will be like jasper: pure, transparent, and unstained by the corruption of the flesh and the world, and ever reflecting the glory of God.
Beloved, as a spiritual wall of today’s Church, your life is expected by God to be like a jasper stone – clear as crystal and reflecting the nature, glory, image and character of Christ.
You are supposed to be honest, plain, upright and forthright in all your dealings. Truth, honesty, integrity and transparency must be your watchwords in all your transactions with the people.
The Scripture admonishes you to “be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim. 4:12 NKJV).
For a spiritual leader, vastness in God’s Word is not optional. You must seek to be balanced and versatile in God’s Word. Enough of laziness, slumbering and frivolities! It is time to be disciplined and diligent in the study of God’s Word and in prayer.
Like the early apostles (early church leaders), let us shun all frivolities and distractions, but “give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4 NKJV).
Let us grow up to be great, thick and high spiritual walls around God’s flock entrusted to our care.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, deliver me today from all distractions and frivolities, and from slothfulness and slumbering. Dear Holy Spirit, help me to become disciplined and diligent in laboring daily in the Word and prayer, in Jesus’ name. Amen.