Over the years I have listened to many ask the question, what is God saying to the Church? Years ago, I would have attempted to answer this question in another way than I’m doing today, where my answer would have been as convoluted as others, because isn’t the answer usually both personal and subjective, subsequently, as indicated in the scriptures …every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. Many times, due to our spiritual ignorance, there can be a significant disconnect between what has been revealed by God and our understanding and interpretations of His revealed Will. However, I don’t believe any of us would suggest, in any way, that because our understanding of Gods revealed will are so diverse, contrasting, or self-centered that our God has sundry answers to the question presented. Each man believes he is right until the Lord weights our hearts. Men will not see the error of their ways until heavens light begins to dawn in their spirit.
Therefore, after forty years of walking with the Lord my Spirit given understanding and interpretation of the question regarding what God is saying has changed exponentially, where I believe, aligns more with the Will of God. My answer to the question I presented is brief, and that is, “what is God saying to the Church” it is always, and unequivocally the same without change, that is, Jesus Christ. Whether we are dealing with our sins, sin, or the sinful nature, personal sanctification, or in our ability and capability to walk according to the Fathers Will, His primary ways and means in dealing with all is in Christ. We have no need for anything, all is complete and in Christ.
If we perchance have a disposition to complain and are critical, with murmurs against our past or present circumstances, whether we are complaining against our lot in this life, or many trials, or temptations saying we have a need to know Gods Will, subsequently turning to other solutions apart from what God has already wisely and powerfully given to us in Christ, i.e., turning to worldly sciences, or demanding religious practices we are gravely mistaken and are in desperate need for a God given insight and knowledge of His Son in us and our position in Him. In other words, seeing that God has gathered all things, both in heaven and earth, in His Son for all of us.
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
Without going into all that God has gathered in His Son, e.g. old and new, His many covenants etc., what I would point out is the fact that God has placed all things pertaining to our walking upright before Him, the desire and capabilities to do so are in Christ, and only in Him. Therefore, it makes perfect sense, that if all things are in Jesus, our attentiveness, inward inclinations, focus of our heart, or in seeking must be in terms of one trajectory, and that is, what God has provided to us all in His Son. Through the Holy Spirit, God sovereignly takes from His Son, those things He has gathered together and placed all in Jesus, and now is pleased to reveal them to the desiring pursuing sincere heart; generation after generation, things previously hidden now we can know.
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.
In Christ – freedom from False Teaching
Not only were there false teachers in the first century Church that would attempt to distort the gospel message regarding the simplicity of faith in Jesus Christ… But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ… all through Church history many have attempted to either add or take away from the message that we are complete in Christ, and that God has placed all things in Him, pertaining to our salvation, redemption, and sanctification. These false teachers have continued to be a problem for the Church; however Paul’s message to believers at both Colossae and Laodicea should remind us all what is the truth regarding what God has accomplished in His Son. Paul explains and warns,
For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, …and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words… As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught…Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
God in placing all things in His Son, now is pleased to reveal them to us who believe, Jesus explains, “For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light” So what perchance could anyone want, need, or seek after other than what God has already given and gathered in His Son? So, why all the discord and error, i.e. doctrinal confusion, prevalent disunity, misdirected religious activities in the Church amongst believers and Gods people being tossed to and fro by every wind of teaching, and as Paul explains, in His letter to the Colossians, warning them of deception from men with persuasive words of error.
In addition, it seems to me that the Church is looking in all the wrong places for Gods provision, i.e. turning over every proverbial stone by well-meaning Christian men and women looking for those things promised by God, and those things He has graciously given to us, in His Son. However, the shout that needs to be made, and in fact has been made by men like the Apostles Paul, Peter, and, John, is a shout that resonates through the corridors of Church history and that is this, ABIDE in Christ!
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
Consequently, only in the Son, as we abide, can we know any measure of true fruitfulness in our life; knowing that as the branch abides in the vine, which abides in the soil, does it naturally bear the fruit of its type. We do not understand abiding intellectually, but spiritually. Yes, we can give ourselves to years of fervent bible study, read all the commentaries, and able to recite many of the passages from the classics, or quote the Church patriarchs, however, all our efforts will not result in our knowing the Son, except as the Father, through the Spirit, is willing to reveal Him to us.
Dutiful church attendance, tithe paying, pragmatic prayers, if they do not proceed from an abiding relationship with the Son; what does all this religious efforts matter if they are self-centered, perfunctory, and do not proceed from our abiding in the Son, i.e. from His mind and heart? To say it succinctly, in all our religious striving, activities, and many works if we are not drawing closer to Jesus Christ then what we do is fruitless. Therefore, are we not as that withering branch Jesus spoke of, living a life outside of Christ the vine, unfruitful, involved in many religious activities however, with no real heartfelt reciprocating relationship with the Son? A.W. Tozer, Born After Midnight explains,
Mere acquaintance with correct doctrine is a poor substitute for Christ…popular fundamentalist theology has emphasized the utility of the cross rather than the beauty of the One who died on it. The saved man’s relation to Christ has been made contractual instead of personal. The “work” of Christ has been stressed until it has eclipsed the person of Christ. Substitution has been allowed to supersede identification. What He did for me seems to be more important than what He is to me.
Apart from Jesus, and His abiding relationship with, and in us, are but attempts on our part to produce fruit, fruit that has only one source, Spirit, consequently our personal quest, apart from Jesus, can only be attributed to self-efforts Jesus compares to a withering branch, which is only good for one thing, i.e. it’s worth, to be thrown into the fire (not hell) that men can warm themselves by. Again, Jesus said, without me you can do nothing, all our claims to any progress and change in our life, apart from our abiding in the Son is meaningless and without reward.
Where do we find any level of maturity and growth if not found in Christ and His life. How can we really know kingdom mysteries and unbounded spiritual wisdom and understanding without an abiding relationship with Jesus? In Christ exists power and strength for living, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” Gods Will, is known in Jesus Christ. Any attempt to organize and order ourselves other than the unity that already exists in Jesus Christ is futile. Our identity is in Christ; however the Church seeks its identity other than what it already has in Him; are we orthodox, evangelical, catholic, apostolic, contemporary, or seeker friendly? Has not God the Father gathered all things into His Son, and from Him, He reveals and declares what He has gathered, i.e. the sum total of all His spiritual blessings? Paul explained in his letter to the Ephesian Church,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”
In Christ – Our New Dwelling Place
In the same manner that God sovereignly draws us to Jesus as our redeemer He also draws us to Him as our life, “He who has the Son has life…” When the Father raised His Son up, and seated Him in heavenly places, He also raised us up with Him, and seated us in Him, in heavenly places. In raising us up, it had been Gods intention that in our new position we would now partake of all those things that He placed in His Son, i.e. “…all things that pertain to life and godliness…” Based upon all God has accomplished and given to us in His Son, we can now walk in the newness of His life,
“…that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life”.
God has already, in Christ, accomplished all things pertaining to our salvation, i.e. forgiveness through His blood, put away our sins, and our flesh has been crucified with Christ. Therefore there is nothing we can now do except believe God, and agree with Him in faith regarding what He has completed for us, in Christ. In like manner God has accomplished everything regarding our new way of living, through His power He raised us up with Jesus,
“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him…have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature…”
What is it that now we need to do, in that God has already accomplished everything in Christ? Now we need to abide in those things God has placed in Christ Jesus.
Functionally, abiding is threefold, one aspect of abiding is God given i.e., His insight into our new position in Christ. Second, abiding is persistent, determinate, resolute, i.e. faithful, for isn’t a working faith all of these? Many times we will fail in our attempts to abide; however, our faith causes us to return and to return. Even in our exercising our faith our heavenly Father mercifully and graciousness assists us in our endeavors to abide, as Paul explains to us,
“…that He (the Father) would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”
The third aspect of abiding is a daily conscience effort on our part of turning ones attention from flesh and self and focusing upon ones spirit; waiting in anticipation for what the Father would graciously reveal of His Son through the Spirit i.e. the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus”, noting that as Christian we are told to be led by and walk in the Spirit, setting our minds on His things; the Holy Spirit who dwells in us,
“…those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
We focus that we might listen, we listen that we might receive and understand, and we receive and understand that we might walk, and walk according to the Spirit that we might fulfill the righteous requirement of the law to please the Father and the Son. How many of us listen in order to fix others or the Church, but God wants us to listen to understand Him; understand that the problem is us, and not everyone else? Only after we are fixed can we fix others, if called to do so, otherwise God fixing us results in our loving one another which proceeds from Gods love in us. Gods highest for us all is His pleasure in that His Will is being done. The sum total of His Will for us is our obedience to His commands and the fulfillment of the righteous requirements of the law, those requirements as taught by Jesus in Matthew 5 to 7. Thomas, Ian Major. The Indwelling Life of Christ,
“God created each human being with a physical, visible, and audible body to be inhabited by an invisible God, to make Himself visible through what that person does and says and is. God Himself must be the origin of this activity within us, which is called righteousness.”
The Church if it is to abide, as it ought to, needs to get past the fundamentals of the faith and onto living in Gods provision in Christ. Many need to differentiate between unmerited redemption by faith according to God’s grace, and the call to fellowship with the Father and Son. One is unmerited; the other requires our coming to Christ and abiding in Him that we might learn from Him, mentored by Him through the Holy Spirit. Salvation is by faith, through grace; however, unbroken fellowship requires that we walk in a manner that is pleasing to both the Father and the Son.
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”
Yes, we are Gods people who have faith in God’s word regarding our redeemer but we have to get past focusing upon all those things in us that proceed from our evil hearts and begin to set these aside and live according to those things that proceed from Christ and His life, i.e. the fruit that comes from an abiding relationship in Him. How long can the Church continue to wallow in its previous life, a life that has been crucified and the fruits of this life have been buried? Or in its attempt to please God why would the Church try and change this old man, using methods and means of men to do so, knowing that the Spirit gives life. Many are so focused upon the bad fruit, believing that if one possessed enough biblical knowledge, or can apply the next Christian self-help books principles; making changes according to one’s supposition regarding how they think Jesus would act or behave can lift them out of their fallen nature. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things”
Noting that the good treasure is Christ life in us; if you find yourself still able to lie when put in a pressure situation are you not bringing forth evil from the evil treasures of your heart? Even when we attempt to filter a lie, watching over our words to prevent a lie is only our attempts to hold back what so easily flows from an evil heart. However, knowing this, that in Christ is no sin, His nature is without offense to God and in our abiding in Him we can partake of His sinless life, in other words, the good treasure. “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin.”
In Christ – the Father Honors His Son and sons
Notice that in whatever Jesus asked of His Father, the Father did, without hesitation, thus honoring His Son, and in honoring, God was glorified. Jesus did not need Church music to work up God’s presence, nor did He need a cheerleading preacher to work up the crowds that they might have faith, or did He need long winded prayers hoping that His Father would listen and answer, No! He simply asked and His Father listened and answered. Jesus always had His Fathers attention where the Father always honored Him in that He answered all His requests and sent His power.
Jesus always did those things He saw His Father doing, in other words, Jesus was in synch with the Fathers Will, there had been no conflict between the two, and each enjoyed the fellowship and honor of the other. Now multiply Gods honoring one Son by many sons, sons who walk with a single intent and that is, in Christ, where we learn to please the Father; i.e. sons refraining from offending their Fathers holiness, sons in synch with their Fathers Will.
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…”
Consequently, in Christ, adopted sons mentored by the Son of Man, what is it that the Church could not accomplish on this earth, would not it be able to go into all the land and God would defeat its enemies? “But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries”. And as prophesied by Zacharias,
“To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life”
Unfortunately, any direction toward ones obeying God commandments and obeying the righteous requirements of the law is met with resistance by many who claim we are not under the law. However, if we desire to fellowship with the Father we will have to obey Him, i.e., His word as given by Jesus. This is not legalism, nor does it pertain to ones salvation by faith, but it is an activity that requires work and effort on our part and necessitates that we grow in respect and reverence for the holiness of God, and is only realized and understood in Christ. Jesus possessed and walked in this respect and it is in our abiding in Him that we can know His heart and learn not to offend Gods holiness. If we intend to walk and fellowship with the Father will require a level of purity in our walk in terms of those external and internal things we should refrain from doing or saying. Though we attempt to restrain ourselves, in order to fellowship with the Father, personal restraint must go much deeper than external aspects of our behavior, it goes deep into our innermost part, the heart of our being. Though humans restrain themselves for legal reasons what is coming from their hearts is really what is at odds with God. A.W. Tozer. The Knowledge of the Holy,
“Enlarge and purify the mansions of our souls that they may be fit habitations for Thy Spirit, who dost prefer before all temples the upright heart and pure.”
The content of the Law as documented in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers and reiterated in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy contained laws of restraint regarding those things that were of offense to Gods holiness, i.e. moral, social, purity and food laws. Israel observance of these laws primarily had been external in nature, i.e., though a man walked in an external observance to Gods moral laws, his internal observance could have been contrary, remembering that the Prophet speaking for God declared that Israel’s heart had been far from Him.
Jesus, on the mount brought to light the importance of the internal aspect of a man’s observance of the moral aspects of the law when He taught, and brought to light, that if a man looks upon a woman to lust after her in his heart he was committing adultery. In other words, this man was breaking Gods Law. Though this type of adultery cannot be observed by anyone, for no one can see into the heart of a man, God can, and it offends His holiness, the condition of the inward man escapes notice by your neighbor, however, God is observing it.
Why had Jesus addressed the inner life of those whom He was teaching that day? Because, unlike the old testament, where God’s presence and workings could only be observed and recognized externally, e.g. Moses on the mount, God’s presence in the temple etc. The holy God, who told Moses not to allow Israel to come near the mountain, or touch it or they would die as He descended upon it, is now going to make His abode with men. Consequently, if we are to know a continual fellowship with our heavenly Father we will need to acknowledge, and be resolute not to metaphorically touch those internal things that are offensive to His holiness. If a mountain could not be touched, what will our inward condition have to be?
All external and internal offenses have to be brought into the light; Christ’s light, if we intend to know the eternal life of the Father. Christ Jesus gives us light; His revealed word is light in its entrance into our spirit and soul, and at its entrance exposes what is darkness and asleep in us. Paul writes to the Ephesian Church, Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.
Our inward condition has to be amicable to God, i.e. He does not respond well to our pride and arrogance, especially in terms of our approach to Him and His people. Nor does God take lightly our self-centeredness or an evil conscience, but He responds to those who are poor in spirit, the meek, and the pure in heart, all of which speak of an inner condition that is childlike. A child does not think they know it all, but a child wants to learn from his Dad. Jesus told us that he who does not receive the kingdom as a child will not enter into it. If you think about it, isn’t this truth, because we do not know of Gods kingdom, other than what He graciously reveals to us. It is His kingdom so why would we presume that we know anything about it other than what we can learn from our heavenly Father. If we want to enter, we need to receive in a childlike manner. If one choses to study the bible and learn all kinds of superficially things and believe that we can come to God “puffed up” with all this knowledge as if we know something we are mistaken. God is waiting for our childlike approach to Him that we might learn from Him, i.e. poor in spirit. A.W. Tozer. The Knowledge of the Holy,
“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.”
In Christ – the Church
In the contemporary Church Jesus name is used indiscriminately, superficially, and without merit. Most instruction given from the pulpits is without any reference to either the Holy Spirit or our position in Christ. Unfortunately there is little insight, or God given knowledge of the Son, consequently, the Churches direction is going more askew each day. The Church possesses knowledge of an historical Jesus, knowledge of Gods redemptive history; however the Church has little experience or light regarding the living resurrected Jesus Christ in the kingdom of heaven crowned with the glory of God.
Therefore, any reference to Jesus is mostly external, remote, and impersonal, where occasionally Jesus works in circumstances, or comes into, or upon our assemblies. For example, we can go into our Church and worship and know the manifest presence of the Lord. In addition, on occasion the anointing of the Holy Spirit is manifest and rest upon Preachers, Prophets, and the spiritually gifted in the Church, specifically for the edification of the Gods people. The precondition for the Lords external manifestation among us, and the Holy Spirits anointing upon Ministers is faith and worship, and of course the sovereignty of God. However, once the service is over and the people leave, so does the manifestation and anointing.
There is another place that the Lord would manifest Himself, and the Church is in dire need of this revelation, that is, in you, in us, but the criterion is more stringent in that it requires purity, righteousness, and obedience to the Lords commands. It is the Lords life that is in us, and it is His life manifest that we need insight into, “…it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. Christ life in us manifested is a promise Jesus gave to His disciple’s, however, His life revealed requires that we enter into a personal relationship with Him, a relationship of love, love unto obedience to Him in all that He taught. We learn only as He teaches us, and He teaches us as we abide in Him.
“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 ask Preachers or Pastors what their current teaching emphasis is, you will get a different answer from each. Though one Church is on the same block as the other, the Sunday message will be diametrically different. If there is one Spirit, one Lord, and one Father all in perfect unity and agreement, why is the Church going in a multitude of directions, why all the miss interpretations and over emphasis of specific verses of scripture among Gods people even though Paul’s letters to the Church’s had one central theme, and that was Jesus Christ. Jesus standing over the seven Churches in the book of revelation, all had this in common, and that is that Jesus was standing amongst them and in most cases each had offended Him.
The primary evidence that both individuals and the corporate Church is off course and getting further and further from God provision in His Son, one simply has to look at all the disunity in the Church, the increasing level of personal and corporate problems, and the prevalent lack of any real spiritual understanding. When the Holy Spirit is absent in one’s life and assemblies many other means and methods are sought after, in the name of faith, to unify and edify Gods people. If Jesus is the head of His Church you would think there would be a lot more unity and victory, right? Of course Jesus is not the problem, but the problem is us, if God can get Christians to abide in His Son things would be a lot different in their Churches. One additional thought, how about the temple, if we are living stones being built together as a place for spiritual worship than I believe today this temple is no more than a pile of stones, haphazardly piled up next to its foundation
Many sermons, commentaries, preaching, prophecy, systematic studies should take us in one single direction, and that is, into Gods Son, for in Him, is an excellence of knowledge. For is not this Gods purpose, as Paul described it, “…that I may gain Christ and be found in Him” Paul explains what his attitude is toward anything outside of Christ,
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…”
The Church is going in many different directions expecting to arrive at the same place. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in perfect unity and call us into the same, and if there is confusion, disunity, and miss understanding regarding Gods Will in the Church, it does not proceed from the Godhead. To complicate matters even more is the level of the Churches immaturity in terms of how its sees and handles various scriptures that address the fact that we are in Christ, and Christ in us. Many, naively state, “…let Christ live through you, or let go and let God”, or they state something comparable however, without instruction, and more importantly Gods revelation and work, this is just wishful thinking. I believe that as long as the Church thinks it can do Gods work apart from Christ, it will continue to fail. Also, I believe God the Father sits back and waits until an individual, or the Church, finally gets so frustrated and disillusioned with its own self efforts, that in desperation many will call out; believe that God will step in and answer this call for help. However, His answer is always one thing, it will not change even in your desperation, and that is in His Son, where all will find their help on the narrow path.
In Christ – the Narrow Path
The wide path and gate is those things external, religious, self-centered, attempts to mimic heavens solution, all those spiritless, lifeless, religious activities, however, the narrow gate and way, is the path to life, the eternal life in Christ; a journey into the Son. Michael de Molino’s, The Spiritual Guide Which Disentangles the Soul explains,
“Mystical knowledge proceeds not from Wit, but from Experience; it is not invented, but proved; not read, but received; and is therefore most secure and efficacious, of great help and plentiful in fruit; it enters not (Mat.II.) into the Soul by Ears, nor by the continual Reading of Books, but by the free Infusion of the Holy Ghost, whose Grace with most delightful intimacy, is communicated to the simple and lowly.”
The way is narrow, and difficult, Jesus explained, that leads to life and few find it. Why is that? Because it is an inward journey where all those things in us, those hidden things that we take pride in, have to be brought to light and exposed. The self-life has to be dealt with, by the cross. All of these things are very hard, however, as explained before, Jesus said learn of me, love me. What is it that could possibly be worth the effort? I’m saved by grace through faith, God has put away my sins, forever, He does not even remember them, and they have been buried, so why would I want to venture down an unknown difficult path? Can’t I just pay my tithe, attend church each Sunday, and witness to my neighbor, or give a homeless guy some money and all would be good with me and God, right? Sure you can, no problem, but if you want to fellowship with the Father and the Son you will have to walk down and along this narrow path to life. You will have to go to Christ, abide in Him and learn; learn what it is that pleases the Father; Jesus understands what it means to please the Father. So what is your motive for going this hard way? It is simple, because of the great reward of knowing the Father and His Agape love, knowing it, is equal to experiencing it. If we are going to walk with our God we have to understand His ways.
In Christ – the Word
Christ is the quintessence of the Fathers Will, and specifically, in Christ, is the characterization, the representation of His word, i.e. the incarnation, and if we are to walk as sons, abiding in the Son is the place we can learn of Him; His heart and soul. As we have seen in the Church, there are many different interpretations of this word, however, in learning from Jesus, He leads us into what God intended in giving them. Why, because Jesus lived them and walked daily before His Father, unto pleasing Him. No one has an excuse, or can claim ignorance; for God demonstrated His word in front of the entire world in that everyone knows of Jesus goodness and holy life and especially do Christians have no excuse in that we have more exposure to this word than the world.
God so demonstrated His word, that it might not be miss-understood by anyone, for many had both a physical demonstration and several of those who saw the word, recorded what they saw that all of us might know what Gods will is for every man. Apostle John explained,
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us”
In the demonstrating of the word of God we see perfectly its fulfillment of the law and in its fulfillment there had been nothing that Jesus said or did that offended God holiness. God at one point had been so excited and full of a Fathers pride spoke from heaven saying, “…this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him”.
A lot of time, energy, and money are expended, all in the name of Jesus Christ. Much reference is given to pleasing God and especially to what is His Will and what it means in our “doing” His Will. If you look at Gods redemptive history had not God given His people His commands and law with the expectancy that they would obey them? If they would obey God promised to bless them, however if not, He disciplined them, and in some cases in Israel’s history God in His frustration turned His ear away from them.
The Church lusts after Jesus power, but ignores His way of life, and in ignoring or side-stepping His way of life, they build around it, propping up their self-life with all kinds of man invented mechanism on how to better oneself, thinking in their attempts to change and walk they are doing justice to Jesus heart and mind in terms of His maintaining an upright relationship with His Father. However, in attempting to side step Jesus there is no way we really know the heart of Jesus toward His Father.
Had not God performed many miracles, healed sicknesses, and cast out demons to draw people to His Son, and in drawing so many would believe and put their faith in Him, had not it been Gods intention that these who came would be His inheritance “…that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”. God in adopting many sons, “…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…”, what is it that you might guess would be His desire for His inheritance, would it not be that they would walk in a manner that is well pleasing to Him, worthy of Christ, and if they would do this God would bless them with something only Jesus knew of, and that is that the God of all the heavens would make His abode with men. It would behoove the Church to occupy their time in pursuing the Son, and if the Church is going expend its energies, should it not be upon learning to walk as sons that they might please their heavenly Father, our highest call?
In Christ – Spirit and Life
In addition, when Jesus said that the words that He spoke are Spirit and Life all of us should consider and take to heart their origin. In other words, the source of His words is the Holy Spirit, and full of the Fathers Life. Because Jesus words were Spirit many had miss interpreted what He told them because they related His words to those things temporal. Yes, Jesus many times explained kingdom things in terms of temporal things, like vines, wheat, seeds, landowners etc., however, if we are to truly understand His illustrations, or parables, it has to be a spiritual exercise. Jesus words are pregnant with meaning, but one cannot interpret their meaning apart from their origin, type and kind, i.e. Spirit to spirit. If we struggle with Gods words it is because we are engaging our mind too much, and not our spirit. The mind can engage after we receive God revelatory word in our spirits.
To complicate matters even further, men/women always have and will attempt to understand God and His word intellectually; in fact the academic study of theology (systematic and rational study of concepts of God) is a testament of these attempts. However, our Majestic, Omniscient, and Holy God can never be understood by human reason or intellect, for He is far and away above our finite and bounded mental capabilities and capacities to know Him. To think, or speculate, that we can somehow know God through theoretical, philosophical, or perspicacity mechanisms is foolish on our part and beneath our God, whose throne occupies heaven. God is Spirit, and has provided in His human creation one means to know Him, and that is our spirit. Our spirit is the only human faculty that possesses God given and embedded sensitivities to know Him, as He chooses to reveal Himself, and His attributes; not that we can know them all. I say this respectfully, because even using my words to describe Him is futile. I can only describe Him and His attributes in those terms demonstrated and spoken by Jesus, i.e. I can say safely and respectfully that God is merciful, forgiving, and is Love, but to imagine Him, on His throne in eternity, beyond those things we have heard, and witnessed in Christ, is most likely demeaning to Him, where any image or imagination we might have of Him borders upon idolatry, because it is based in this temporal world.
After I have said all that I have said regarding what God is saying to the Church let me add something and that is, today, I believe that the question should not be, what is God saying to the Church, but what is God doing in the Church?
Because of the degree that the church continues to drift away from the first century gospel message regarding Gods complete work in His Son, what the Church is in need of is Prophetic Ministries. No, not the gift of prophecy, but Prophets and certainly not Prophets as the contemporary Christian imagines them to be but as what we have seen in the Old Testament, when Israel went astray, God sent them the Prophets to correct them, to expose their errors, and disobedience. What is God going to do? Send His Prophets to the Church, those who can restore the gospel message, drive out the money changers, and restore to the Church what is the Lords intent and purpose unto a spiritual temple, built of living stones. What is the message for this temple of living stones, is it not acceptable worship, and what is Gods intention for the Body of Christ, is it not His government rule of love. I can’t think of any higher intention or revelation message for the Body than what Paul has already explained in his letter to the Ephesians, when He reveals to them what the Lord had shown him, Paul’s reveals what it is of Gods intent for them,
May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—
To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it). Amplified version
Recognize how Paul ended these passages in that he said, To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations… As the Church continues in its own way, moving further from God purposes in Christ it will continue along a trajectory of error and disobedience missing Gods Will and purposes.
Can’t tell you how far off the trajectory the twenty-first century Church has wandered from Christ, or how far it will continue to drift if it cannot answer the question correctly regarding what God is saying and doing. First the Church has to want to ask the question, i.e. how bad does it have to get before they seek God for His solution? Second, the Church has to ask the question, i.e. possessing enough God given insight to know what question to ask, and finally, the Church needs to abide, and in their abiding, to walk in what God has already accomplished in His Son, i.e. in their new position or dwelling place. If the Church cannot answer the question correctly it will continually drift and have to depend upon human effort to live the Christian life.
The more an individual, pastor, Church leader, or marriage depends upon human resources in its attempts to live the Christian life, the more frustrated, stressful, and guilty will they become. How long can we pretend to know Jesus, His life, and power and glory, but continue living defeated unfruitful lives? Today, many Christian marriages end in divorce, and many ministers are leaving the Church at an alarming rate, and Christians are leaving their Churches because there is no Jesus.
Recognizing this, as Jesus explained, that the Father draws us, and in drawing us, He draws us to His Son. If we are Christians and Churches who are growing away from our dependence upon the Holy Spirit, and growing increasingly more dependent upon self, reason, and human effort than what Jesus are many being drawn to?
Also, how long can the Church fend off an evil conscience because of its many sins and failures; eventually it will have to find those other means to walk, other than what God requires, to appease its offending conscience, i.e. a dumb downed gospel. Why do you think there are so many mega churches popping up all over the US, those that do in fact dump down the gospel? Is it not because many Christians are tiring of their defeated life style, feeling guilty for what they cannot accomplish knowing the requirements of the word of Christ. Many Church goers do not want to hear about sin, hell, or condemnation any longer, forgetting, that there is now no more condemnation for those who are, In Christ!
Therefore what will this generation of Christians leave to the next? Today, due to an absence of spiritual insight and God given wisdom and understanding many Churches continue off course; to the point where Jesus Christ and the gospel are no longer recognizable, where both have morphed into some kind of worldly, humanistic, politically correct, gender-neutral, polytheistic, and all inclusive social organization or even worse, the next generation of TV hucksters, entertainers, and pretenders to the faith. We need to recognize that when the word of God has gone so far askew, and there is little to no light to expose its error, or prophets, to tear down doctrinal strongholds taking into captivity every straying error and thought, will eventually become the mindset of mainstream Christianity where they put their faith in something that as Paul says, is another gospel other than what he preached. Jesus warned those who thought they possessed light to be careful that the light that is in you is not darkness, “…if therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness”.
Finally, and what I believe many veteran Christians are discovering, if honest, is that the world is more attractive to them than Jesus is. Why is this true, because they see Jesus as a distant figure in history, and do not see Him or know Him exalted on His throne, in Gods kingdom full of glory?
“His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…”
The lack of passion, love, and desire after their God and the things of heaven, has so subsided that many are running on spent energy, possessing no God given grace to seek after Him. Eventually, over time, youthful enthusiasm wanes and what is left is but human emotion, or human religious fervor, that has not, or does not originate in Christ.
How can we know a true passion for our God, a desire for His Will, and an ability to obey Him if not found in Christ? How can we know fruits of righteousness, or the fruit of the Spirit, if not found in Christ? The further we move away from Him, the more demands we have to place upon human energy and reason to accomplish what each perceives to be Gods Will. Henry Scougal. The Life of God in the Soul of Man,
“The love of God is a delightful and affectionate sense of the divine perfections, which makes the soul resign and sacrifice itself wholly unto him, desiring above all things to please him, and delighting in nothing so much as in fellowship and communion with him, and being ready to do or suffer any thing for his sake, or at his pleasure”.