It is to a new life that God is calling us; not to some new steps in life, some new habits or ways or motives or prospects, but to a new life. For the production of this new life the eternal Son of God took flesh, died, was buried, and rose again. It was not life producing life, a lower life rising into a higher, but life rooting itself in its opposite, life wrought out of death, by the death of “the Prince of life.” Of the new creation, as of the old, He is the author. For the working out of this the Holy Spirit came down in power, entering men’s souls and dwelling there, that out of the old He might bring forth the new. Bonar, Horatius.
I personally believe that much of Christianity today has lost its biblical compass, or trajectory, as revealed to Paul and the other Apostles, which I will call, our journey into Jesus Christ, a spiritual pilgrimage into His life and the progressive discovering or unveiling of the newness of life we all have in Christ, in that we were included with Him when the Father raised Him from death. Why a pilgrimage or journey, because a journey speaks of a continual moving forward, making progress, from light to light, from spiritual understanding to wisdom, from faith to faith, and from glory to glory, i.e. the glorification of Jesus Christ. Gods eternal purpose has been and is centered in His Son. When our destiny and purpose takes center stage as preached from many American pulpits these days, then we have moved off of what is Gods purpose and will is. It is never about us, what is ours, our success, our ministry, our gifts and callings, our blessing, no!, it is always about Jesus Christ in whom God has graciously included us, that is, in His Son. As we make this inward journey what we can expect is our self-life and focus diminishing and Christ, and His life increasing and maturing. Many Churches fall into grave error when they become the focus, or they over emphasis something biblical, where Gods has only given His blessing in Christ. If Christ is not becoming your primary focus of heart and life, then you are not making this journey. Many in the Church today seem to be more bent on promoting self, the success and blessing of self rather than the glorification of Christ, which is not Gods eternal purpose. Our life and the Church should become more and more in line with Gods kingdom, where Jesus Christ is glorified.
Christians should have the faculty of spiritual sight within them, should have the capacity for seeing, and should themselves be seeing. Can you say: ‘My eyes are open; I am seeing God’s eternal purpose, I am seeing the significance of Christ; I am seeing more and more as to the Lord Jesus’? Unless it is like that, we shall leave the Holy Ghost behind, and we shall have to turn round and go back to find Him where we left Him, because a life in the Holy Ghost right up to date is a life of continually increasing vision. Vision is absolutely essential, both as to faculty and as to object. T. Austin-Sparks.
Jesus, Gods only source for our right standing before Him, and Jesus, our capability and ability to live the Christian life in a manner that is well pleasing to God where the latter is basically the inspirational teaching based in a God given knowledge and a continual unveiling of His Son, unto Jesus manifestation within, and collectively is that which is noticeably missing in the Church today. In other words, the power of Christ resurrection life working in each of us, unto making personal spiritual progress and gain where the resultant is an increase in knowledge of the Son of God, knowing Him, both individually and collectively, unto His fullness.
…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…
Yes, the Church has understood and teaches that the Father has placed us into His Son, where the believer has been justified, and therefore by God’s grace we have been given a right standing with Him, through our faith in the Sons redemptive work however, many have come short when it comes to their personal knowledge, understanding, and efficacy regarding their union with Jesus Christs death, burial, resurrection, and glory unto the increase of all aspects of both His death and life working in us. Because many have not continued in their personal journey into Christ, His life within remains feeble, weak, and barely recognizable, where many have come up short in their knowing the Son in the manner that He has made Himself available to us, and to the Church.
…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…
Regarding resurrection power, the Church has known this power to heal, cast out demons, to prophecy etc. in other words, given supernatural gifts, and the power accompanying these gifts for the edification and building of the Church however, the Church has not so much known resurrection power in terms of living a holy and upright life for the glorification of Christ, and the Father; mainly due to the fact it has not embraced Paul’s second half of his revelation regarding… and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…where Christs sufferings is our portion, in knowing His life, or should I say the gateway. Therefore, if we are to live in the newness of His life, a life that brings glory to God, we must live in Christ, not only in His glory, but also participating in His sufferings, whom we are married to, unto bearing much fruit to our God.
…you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
Therefore, we are in need of a Spirit given understanding and insight regarding knowing and experiencing Jesus resurrection power, primary, unto living a holy and upright life before our God. It is resurrection power we need to understand, see, and live by, seeing that the Father has gathered all things, old and new, into His Son. Seeing that our new position God has given that He has raised us up with Christ and made us to sit down with Him in heavenly places where our newness of life exists. It is this new position, in union with Jesus Christ, which we must learn to live in, by faith.
…even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
The newness of life is not according to human energy, emotion, animation, nor is it charismatic, nor is it a lot of religious fervor. The life Paul speaks of has many facets and dynamics that work in each of us powerfully. We begin to know the life I speak of only as it begins to dawn upon our heart, as Peter explained.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
Therefore, we all need to make a transition from what is external to what is internal. No longer following Jesus, but abiding in Him, not a coming upon of Jesus presence (external), but His presence in us (internal), and not following in Jesus footsteps, but His given direction revealed within, unto knowing His heart and mind. What we need to understand is that Church tradition, liturgy, church services, much attendance, religious rituals cannot move or change the inner life, or the hidden man of the heart, but the inner life changes in proportion as one responds to the Spirit of life, i.e. listen to His voice, receive His help, comfort, instructions, leading us into righteousness, responding to His convicting of the heart, as the Spirit takes from the Lord, what is His, and reveals it to each of us, in this manner our inner life will respond and truly change.
He (Spirit) will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
We recognize that those things that are Jesus are administered by the Spirit in us. The Spirit is resident in us, in our spirit, and takes from the Lord, that is, His life giving words and speaks them to our heart, where these words are not like those spoken by men but are powerful and full of resurrection life and light. Jesus does not speak to us externally but within by the Spirit in whom we have access to the Father and the Son. When Jesus walked upon this earth we read that His spoken words healed the sick, raised the death, calmed the storms, and cast out demons. In addition, Jesus spoken words opened eyes and the understanding of many regarding the kingdom of God. Additionally, Jesus spoken words instructed not the person but the heart of the person in terms of a moral, upright, and holy life, where many taking notice said, no man spoke like this man. Well, in the same manner that Jesus had spoken to the individual, and the crowds, He now speaks in us; where His powerful word continues to enlighten the eyes of our understanding regarding things from above, things we cannot see by natural means, and are solely dependent upon our God. In other words, Jesus speaking life, and Spirit, to us words that are full of the light of heaven, words that strengthen the soul, and heart, and by His life giving words, the weak grows strong, and the foolish become wise.
You will read in the Apostles letters of their own personal transition from a grace upon them, to a grace in them.
… And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all….the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Also, Paul explained that it pleased the Father to reveal His Son in him. Paul later explained that he no longer lives, but Christ lives in Him. This is the transition which is not accomplished externally, but internally, as we begin our own journey into Christ unto abiding in Him until the morning star dawns in our hearts and we begin to sit at the banquet table of the Grooms abundant life, partaking of His divine nature.
Yet, along this path into Christ, our responsibility is what all of us already know and that is to lay down our own life, deny yourself, picking up our own cross. It is the Holy Spirits instruction, and personal guidance within that gives us the light to see what of the self-life needs a cross. In addition, it is God who works in us to will and work for His good pleasure. The self-life and the flesh left along does not desire after God, nor does it desire after insight into what is in us that is offensive to God; both the flesh and self are very content to remain as religious, traditional, church going believers. Jesus taught, in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapter of Matthew’s gospel how we should desire and walk before God where Jesus deals with both the flesh and the self-life activities that are offensive to the holiness of God. If we are going to desire to lay down our life, picking up our cross, unto seeking holiness of heart and life, it is our God who works in us that we might see and know how spiritually poor we truly are, unto possessing a heart that hungers and thirsts for righteousness, seeking a purity of heart that is in line with Gods own holiness, so that we might know and walk with Him.
Our Journey into Christ is hindered by Spiritual Ignorance
Our primary concern is with our spirit. It is here that the new life resides; it is here that the Holy Spirit operates: it is here that our true education takes place: it is here that we have fellowship with God: it is here that we are to be made strong: it is here that resistance of the enemy is to be established: it is here that spiritual authority is realized. T. Austin-Sparks
Paul had warned the Christians at Ephesus of spiritual blindness and consequently being estranged from the life of God.
…that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him
Due to a state of spiritual ignorance, and a continual neglect of the Holy Spirits voice, consequently, many inadvertently neglect the things of the Spirit and His activities in them, which are the primary causes of living in failure and defeat. In addition, do to ones neglect of the Spirit, who gives us the light of the Lord, we remain blind to self and sin, which both continually usurp the Spirits preeminence in our life. Without sight or insight, we will continue wandering in the wilderness of religion, religious activities, and self-sufficiency rather than walking upright and in a holiness that is based upon our awareness, insight, and focus upon the Spirit who attends to the Son, upon His life, that we might know the newness of life in us.
From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. At the far-in hidden center of man’s being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God. There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual fire. A.W. Tozer.
Because there is major spiritual deficit in many of our local assemblies, neglect of Christ words, His glory, and power, and especially when it comes to understanding what it means to abide in Christ, there is little light, insight, or understanding of one’s unique and daily spiritual union with Jesus, in whom, we partake of His divine life and nature.
…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature…be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might.
This understanding I speak of does not come from this world or its means to wisdom; however this understanding we all seek is given from above, for these things from above are foolishness to the natural and carnal man, but are life to the spiritual man. What had Paul said right after he explained that we were risen with Christ and sit in heavenly places with Him? He said this,
…if then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
We no longer look to the world but above, into the things of Christ, for the things of Christ are those that our Father has given to Him. The things from above, that we are to seek, are communicated to us by the Son, i.e. the Spirit takes from the Son and reveals them to us,
…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
God is Spirit
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.
Notice it does not say God is a Spirit but John explains God is Spirit. If you believe He is Spirit, I would expect that you would also have to believe that because He is Spirit, and has created in us a spirit, that in our regenerated spirit would be the inner most places where all of us can know God, who is Spirit, i.e. where there can be a communication because the two, Spirit to spirit are of the same essence. Yes we need to possess knowledge of God, however, and most importantly, we also need to know Him; knowing Him in our innermost heart, the seat of all that proceeds from us, the place we all truly live and where an unveiling is taking place as Christ glory and light begins to shine from within, through the administration of the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus mind and heart, and where the realities of our religion begin to manifest, in us, where we have a place of full assurance of our faith.
Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, said our Lord, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. The Gospel according to John reveals the helplessness of the human mind before the great Mystery which is God, and Paul in First Corinthians teaches that God can be known only as the Holy Spirit performs in the seeking heart an act of self-disclosure. A.W. Tozer
Our spiritual journey is always into Christ, into God, to know the deep things of God is an inward journey; in our spirit, according to the Holy Spirit, for God reveals them through His Spirit. Remembering Paul’s words to the Corinthians where he explained,
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
Notice, where Paul explains the things God has prepared for us reside. They are not seen with the physical eye, nor are they heard by the physical ear, but are revealed by God, by His Spirit, in our spirit, where such things have a manifold impact to the seat of our spirit, the heart; if the heart changes it changes because God’s grace in Christ has touched it. Also, recognize that you nor I have access to our own heart however it is impacted by what we do, say, yield to, or give ourselves to. Certainly out of the heart flows ever evil thing as Jesus taught, and as indicated in the letter to the Hebrews that our heart is evil and unbelieving from where many doubts flow from. Again, our only hope for the seat of our life to change is but by God’s grace and love, day upon day, month upon month it changes until it is given completely over to the Father in Christ Jesus. If only but an infinitesimal provision of the grace or love of God touches the heart this activity of the Spirit in us has more influence upon us than through many hours of scriptural study, obtaining much knowledge of grace and love, is not knowing the real thing in us. The heart is mysteriously and miraculously touched by God in this manner, and therefore we are convinced, our faith is strengthened and our heart is drawn that much closer to our God who loves us.
…hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
For the difference is pronounced, that is, between the daily reading about God’s love and the actually knowing it.
Additionally, we need to know that Jesus voice comes no longer through audible means, but Jesus communicates through His Spirit to ours. The mind is only a test bed for much reasoning’s, contemplation, and imaginations, and is a library of things filed there to be latter retrieved. Neither our mind, nor physical eye or ear is capable of comprehending what our regenerate spirit most naturally can know, because they are given by the Spirit, and are spiritually discerned and powerfully received. Our regenerate spirit, assisted by the Holy Spirit is our means to know those things given from God in Christ, things above…For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways…. and are only as God chooses to reveal Himself through; there are two things that are miles apart, and they are the knowledge of an apple verses actually tasting one, where all the knowledge in world is no substitute for tasting one….taste and see that the Lord is good…the love of God shed abroad upon our hearts. God manifest Himself only in our regenerate spirit, and only as we abide or remain in Christ and as we obey Him.
…and by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us… if you love me you will keep my commandments and I will manifest myself to you….He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”… if you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love
Abiding in Christ is a spiritual matter and is not an abstract, but should be a daily occurrence and experience which is a normal activity and certainly the place Christians should dwell and is only realized through a robust faith in Christ, from faith to faith, where all spiritual things and blessings, in a mystery exist, and are revealed by God through His Spirit in us as we continue in Jesus commands, which in itself is lifelong journey. Paul explains from where his knowledge came, when he explained to the Corinthian assemblies the activities of God in him.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give us the Light of the knowledge of the glory and majesty of God [clearly revealed] in the face of Christ….God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
It is our God, who continues to reveal more of His Son in a mystery to both the individual Christians, and reveals the fullness of His Son to the collective Church, however if the Church minimizes the Spirit in their life or assemblies then how can we expect to know those things, as explained by the Apostles, as hidden? Our eternity will be filled with this continuous revelation of the Son of God, and to believe otherwise is a grave mistake that many make and teach, and mislead others.
Let me say this up front, if you are personally waiting for a heaven that has a fully furnished mansion in it, with green meadows and sunshine, you better readjust your conception of heaven, and the God in it. Heaven will be a place where the unveiling of our God and His Son will take place all through eternity, where we will see and know more of His supreme and majestic revelation of Himself; His radiance, majesty, glory, and mysteries where spontaneous worship will break out as we see more of Him, i.e. recognizing His grace and love toward us in Christ. It will take an eternity to see God as He is. If God is not your heavenly vision, and desire, then I’m not sure what you are expecting.
…made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
When Jesus said to His disciples I go and prepare a place for you He had been speaking of His finished redemptive work. When He said in His Father’s house are many dwelling places He was referring to our new position in Him, in heavenly places, where we are meant to sit down and dwell. The disciples would no longer follow Christ physically but now, through the Spirit, would know Jesus in a more intimate and definitive relationship, that in abiding in Him. It is this journey we are meant to go on, guided by the Spirit in us who graciously instructs us in things from above, that we might continue to make progress spiritually unto abiding collectively in Christ love.
Abide in Me as I abide in you
Jesus graciously knows He is our safe place, our place of unity, the moral place we seek, our place of peace, rest and spiritual strength, and the place and resource of all given wisdom and spiritual understanding calling all who would hear into Him. Jesus does not accomplish things as many would conceive however, we saw in scripture, that in the mist of much political, moral, and religious controversy, confusion, and hostility Jesus stepped into history gathering to Himself disciples that would carry on His message of the kingdom according to the Will of His Father.
Ultimately, we are making this journey into Christ that we might abide in Him, and in Him, we might come to know collectively the fullness of God and Christ love, i.e. the width, length, depth, and height of His love, and it is this selfsame love that is to be the rule and government in each of our hearts; this is an kingdom government not made with hands, nor reason, nor conceived in man’s soul, but is what rules and governs in Gods kingdom, i.e. it is what proceeds from God Himself, His Agape and as Paul refers to this heavenly kingdom quintessence cannot be ascertained by knowledge, but is what is communicated from the throne of the living God. There can be no other rule or governing state in the Church apart from Christ love collectively in it. If one can govern the heart, all else will fall into place. However, because this love, God’s love in Christ, for the most part is absent in most, something else has to fill the vacuum, because Christian’s know they are to love one another, yet we do so without the substance from heaven, In Christ.
Abide in My Love
It is possible to have an external relationship with the Lord yet an inward relationship with ourselves. When Jesus explained to His disciples He was leaving them He spoke of His physical or external leaving; where the visible relationship they knew would cease however, Jesus also attempted to explain and make His disciples to understand that He would return receiving them to Himself, even though He had just told them He was going away.
…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.
I’m sure the disciples were very confused regarding Jesus statement yet when the Spirit came and began His work in them they would begin to see and understand what Jesus had attempted to explain to them in the upper room that day, when He later said to abide in Him; thus moving them away from an external relationship to an internal one, through the Spirit. In other words, Jesus love and power and life and His instructions they knew when He spoke with them, would continue in them, where now they have an inner witness. If Jesus had not gone to prepare a place for His disciples, i.e. His accomplished redemptive work, there would be no entrance into the kingdom of God and life through a new birth.
God so despised the old life He put it to death and buried it because it was not worth saving. The vessel had to be cleansed first to receive the Spirit that is holy. The new inward communion Jesus had been speaking of He called abiding. Jesus uses the word abide to define this new relationship the disciples would have with Him explaining that He would abide in them however, they also needed to abide in Him, thus the journey begins. The journey is defined as this, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. Where did Jesus go? He went into the kingdom of God and sat down on His throne and the Father put all things under His feet. Many think of this coming again as the second coming however, if you keep the verse and text in its proper context the meaning is quite clear. In addition, if you marry what Jesus said with Paul’s message and revelation, i.e. that we have been raised with Him, and made to sit with Him in heavenly places, again, the meaning is even clearer where the Apostles in their letters use the term in Christ many times.
Our abiding in Christ, who abides in us, is a life journey, whose path is a spiritual one with various goals; a primary one is unto knowing and pleasing the Father, that we might know His love. I believe that we have lost the idea of pleasing God due to how much attention is given in the Church to the doctrine of grace alone. Grace should not set aside our wanting to please our God, which by the way means difficulty, suffering, the endless work of the Spirit that the life in us might be manifest, where this life arch enemy is both the flesh and the natural man. If we are ever going to please the Father He is only pleased by one single life and that is the newness of life given to each of us through Jesus Christ. Anything short of that life is as a odoriferous odor in the nostrils of God. In fact it is so offensive to Him He put it to death, and buried it, and now the natural man that remains Jesus tells us to deny it and pick up our own cross and follow Him. Both the flesh and the self-life are an offense to the things of God and must be put aside, thus is the aided by work of the Spirit in each of our lives. Jesus pleased the Father and in what manner did He do this.
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
Jesus explains to His disciples in what manner He walked, that is, He knew, understood, and kept His Father commandments. Jesus in turn tells His disciples to keep His commandments so that they might abide in His love just as He kept His Fathers commandments. You see we have come out from under the law so that we might fulfill even a more demanding law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Let me explain how demanding it is for us to keep Jesus commandment. We will look at His first commandment to the disciples and to us. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. There is little room left for either a life in the flesh, or in the natural man. This commandment speaks to every corner of our life and all is given to God. Therefore, you can see what the nature of our struggles and sufferings will mean to each of us as we attempt to live free from the flesh and its desires and to live a self-less life with one single focus.
In addition, we are commanded to love our neighbors as our self which I believe is accomplished only in proportion to our obeying the first command. Jesus also explained to the disciples that they must love one another and is a love more directly related to how one is to walk toward those in their assemblies. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians characterizes the love we are to demonstrate one toward another. There are all kinds of different interpretations regarding how we are to love one another, where I believe most are sentimental, emotional, or short lived however, Paul explains the love we are to demonstrate in our homes, at work, in our churches and in the culture we live in, i.e. this is how Paul characterizes this love,
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoice in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
There is no mistaking this love in terms of its source. This love is from God. He communicates it to all of heaven and to those on earth through His Spirit. This love is not intellectually understood for as Paul explained it is above the realm of knowledge. Paul explains that the source of this love is God and how to recognize it.
If the Church knows and demonstrates this love there would be no difficulties among anyone within our assemblies. The opposite of this love and its various expressions is what is wrong in our Churches. Is it not impatience, rudeness, envy, arrogance, and selfishness that cause much of the harm in our relationship with one another? To possess the love that God communicates to the Church is not something easy to know, possess, and demonstrate. The Corinthian Church over emphasized religious activities and works as well as gifts of the Spirit, instead Paul explains what had been the intent of the giving of all these Spiritual gifts, and that had been the building up of the body of Christ where all the gifts would one day be set aside and what remains is faith, hope, and love, and greatest of these is love. It is this love that is meant to govern all of hearts and lives, because against such love there is no law. This love is the fulfillment of the law. Therefore, if we are making a journey into Christ, that journeys destination is abiding and remaining in Christ that we might know His love and fullness collectively.
God’s Will in Christ
In that God the Father has gathered together all things in Christ, things both in heaven and on earth, in Him.
…that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
Not only has Paul’s letter to the Ephesians explained the import of Gods Son in terms of what the Father has accomplished, both in heaven and earth, e.g. the old and new covenants, law, commands, the past, present, and future of Gods Will, but also what Gods intent for His people is throughout time and eternity. In other words, whatever God had accomplished in the past, the present, or in the future of the Church all is contained or gathered into His Son. In addition, Paul also states that all spiritual blessings have been given in Christ in heavenly places, therefore, if these things be true in our assemblies then it behooves all who teach and instruct Gods people that they do so in the manner and in ways of what it means to be in Christ, abiding in Him, and not only what it means but also what can be expected on the journey into Him. Unless we are given those spiritual blessing Paul mentioned, given from our God, through His Spirit, we will remain blind and deaf to what is Gods will for all of us, and certainly remain blind to what God is doing and accomplishing at end times.
Therefore, when the works of the Church have become more important than Christ Himself, when a specific teaching or doctrine is overtly presented and over emphasized then the Church has gone astray. We interpret all scripture according to the heart and mind of Christ. When anything in one’s life, or in the Churches life, becomes more of a focus or importance than Jesus Himself, all has gone astray, and is not in accord with Gods Will; in that God has gathered all things into Christ giving every spiritual blessing in Him. If these things are absent in your assemblies and there is any other focus than Jesus Christ, especially the works of the local assembly, then judgment and discipline is required to bring things back around and back into Christ. We recognize that in the manner that Israel was carried into captivity, by various surrounding enemy nations, we must also see that in the same manner, when the Church loses it trajectory into Christ, and the Church in turn begins to assimilate the world it finds itself in, the intent is repentance and a return back into the will of the Father, in Christ. T. Austin-Sparks made this statement in 1970, how much more are we, in 2016, closer to what he calls end-time.
An end-time is a transition from a lot that has had to do with Christ to Christ Himself, transition from frameworks to the essential and the intrinsic, transition from all the works and the things related to Christ to that which is known of Him personally. All the other is going to be stripped off, and we are in the day when that stripping off has seriously commenced.
We read Paul’s revelation regarding Gods purpose and intent for His Son.
…and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
If you ask yourself this question, if through the Church the manifold wisdom of God is to be made known then why does the Church remain disjointed in all that it does and teaches? The one conclusion that can be made is that it is so fragmented because it remains ignorant in terms of Gods eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Until, an individual and the collective Church seek to take this journey into Christ I speak of, there is no real progress in terms of walking according to Gods will, nor is there a participating in all He accomplished in His Son? Until the Church discovers, through Spirit given insight, its place in Christ it remains at arm’s length from all that God has blessed them with, blessed only in Christ. Apart from Gods intentions and accomplishment in His Son, everything done outside of what God has bounded is corruptible. When the Church neglects Christ, God has to take steps to bring it back into His will. Most certainly has God used culture, the political world, hostility of willful people, and the surrounding nation to bring judgment upon Israel, when they disobeyed with the purpose of repentance and a return to His will? However, as Israel could not see why judgment had come upon them, the American Church does not recognize God use of various external means to gather them back into Christ. In our remaining deaf and blind to Gods intent the only thing that we will see is the strap at our back rather than what this discipline truly is, a blessing from God. Until this discipline brings about the desired result, that is repentance, many will remain in a carnal state responding in carnal ways to what they find upon them. Peter cut off the ear of one of Jesus captures however, what had Jesus said and spoke into.
Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?
Peter responded carnally, after the natural man, to the circumstance however Jesus responded according to the Fathers will and purpose for Him. When difficult circumstances and times begin to arise, the Church should respond according to the will of God, otherwise it will be cutting off ears and under the judgment of Jesus words, that is, all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Our prayer is for God to send us prophets who can see behind the scenes of religious systems. and into His will as understood in and through Jesus Christ. God gave to Israel Moses, to lead them out of Egypt, but He gave Israel Joshua, to take Israel into the Promised Land. We recognize that Jesus cross, death, and burial dealt with our sins and sinful nature that we might be forgiven, our sins put away, and have a right standing before our God. However, our Father has also given us Jesus resurrection, our participation in it, having been raised with Him into newness of life, with a purpose to take us on a journey into Christ (Promised Land), taking us, through the Spirits activities in our life, from a place of barrenness and emptiness, and weakness and oppression, into a place of fruitfulness, strength, dominion, and fullness in Christ. If the Church misses these things it will be subject to all kinds of difficulty, error, and deceptions which I believe many in the current Church has crossed this threshold and are entering into every kind of error, even to much compromising of both Christ and His words. William Booth was asked at the beginning of the 20th century what he believed was coming to the Church in the next 100 years, and he explained,
I consider that the chief dangers that confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.
And to the angel of the church of the Laodicea’s write
After a period of time and much given revelation, teaching, and personal instruction, Jesus provides the Apostle John insight into how He personally sees the progress, or lack of progress, of seven different assemblies according to how Jesus saw them. One particular assembly, which likely speaks to, in part, to the condition, health and progress of many in American assemblies, where Jesus says this,
Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten…To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Jesus addressed this particular assembly regarding their having fallen into a state of indifference, apathy, and spiritual blindness in spite of all that had been given, i.e. every spiritual blessing. This Church had fallen to the point that they believed, due to their blindness, that they were spiritually wealthy and had need of nothing however, Jesus provides them with their true condition, state, and spiritual health, i.e. they were spiritually poor and miserable, blind, and inwardly naked (found in a state of self-righteous, the guise of righteousness that a lot of religious activities produce, rather than possessing the true righteousness from above in Christ). Jesus tells them to buy from Him gold refined with fire (all spiritual blessing in Him) that they might truly be spiritually rich in Him whereas, their condition had been a consequence of much religious activities, self-exercise, and worldliness not resident in Christ, i.e. gold refined with fire.
Notice what Jesus will give to the fallen Church if they would repent; He would give them to sit with Him on His throne. Our position with Christ has already been given judiciously to each of us however, in many this position remains at an arm’s length, and is not known and experienced in a daily life found in Christ, that is, the newness of life. If the things of Christ remain distant, how is it that we can know the gold that He offers, in Himself? Recognize that Jesus statement of sitting with Him on His throne coincides with Paul’s revelation given to the Ephesian Church when He explains,
…made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Our God given position is found in Christ both prepositionally and practically; pragmatically through personal and daily experience through the Spirits work and assistance. Jesus had explained to His disciples that His abode would be in them, in turn, they would need to remain, or abide in Him. Our journeys purpose is that we might daily know Jesus abiding in us, and know Spirit given instruction regarding how we are to remain in Christ, that we might remain where He is, that is, in heavenly places, where exist all spiritual blessings. We must all move to the place, via the Spirit, where all the Father has given and placed in Jesus for our spiritual progress and health, otherwise we will fall short of Gods intent in His Son. Missing the Son is where exist all kinds of error, miss interpretations, or over emphasis of many biblical things, and where exists all manner of exploitation by the spirit of this age, and every kind of deception. The only safe place, and insulation from evil, the world, the flesh, and darkness is in Christ, who is our light, life, and whose throne is above all rule and authority, both in heaven and earth knowing we sit with Him. Why would we make this Journey into Christ, T. Austin-Sparks gathered from Scripture the reason,
The Creation is in Christ. The Life is in Christ. The Acceptance is in Christ. The Redemption is in Christ. The Righteousness is in Christ. The Sanctification is in Christ. The Hope is in Christ. The Spiritual Blessings are in Christ. The Consolation is in Christ. The Peace is in Christ. The Effectual Prayer is only in Christ. The Strength and Riches are in Christ. The Eternal Purpose is in Christ. The New Creation is in Christ. The Promises are in Christ. The Escape from Condemnation is in Christ. The One Body is in Christ. The Perseverance is in Christ. The Gathering into One is in Christ. The Bonds of Suffering Believers are in Christ. The Perfect Man is in Christ. The Helpers together are in Christ. There are the Churches in Christ. There are the Dead in Christ. There is the One New Man and the Perfect Man in Christ. We are Complete in Christ.