The House of God

June 2, 2015

The House of God

Ephesians 2:19-22
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 fitted 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.

The house of God, as most of us know, is not a structure of wood and stone. It is not a religion or an organization, but it is a living organism structured, designed, and formed by the Spirit of God for His Holy Habitation. It is like a house within a house. You and I are individually the temples and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, but at the same time we are being formed corporately into the temple and dwelling of the Most High.
What comes to mind is a honeycomb of fitted individual cells all joined together into a hive. It is there that you find the honey, the anointing, the sweet out-flowing of the Holy One. All of its members work in one accord and unto one end, to perpetuate the life of that hive. Each member has their own functions and abilities and as each one is faithful to function in their gifting and calling, the hive will prosper.
Before we knew Christ we had no real home, no real purpose and we were strangers to God. It was His grace that led us unto repentance and salvation that He might join us unto His own where we now have purpose and true meaning in our lives.
It says we have been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. These were the stones through which God’s Word came forth and established what we now read as our Bible. They gave the tenants and blueprints of God’s design so that we could continue to be built with continuity from generation to generation, not wavering from the original design and purpose of our Master Architect and Builder, who is Himself the chief cornerstone, the primary support and anchor of God’s temple as well as the capstone and crown of glory that completes and finishes it.
Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 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; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” From this scripture has come the terminology of what we call the five fold ministry. A brother shared with us a good analogy the other day as we were having fellowship. He said he saw the five fold ministry much like the forms in construction that are assembled with reinforcements placed within them and then filled with concrete. The forms are not the actual structure or building, but are there to give shape, dimension, and form to the structure, but once the concrete has set up and taken the shape it was designed for the forms are stripped away. The fivefold ministry is not an end in itself, but they are the materials and tools to build the house into God’s design. The end purpose is to have a unified structure that is an organism that functions in the fullness of Christ, whose head is Christ. Each member works together with the other and no one member works for their own good, but for the good of the whole. Much of our mindset today is “what’s in it for me.” In the true body of Christ, me doesn’t exist, it is all about Him. That is the house of God.

Blessings,
#kent

Matthew 5:17-20
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The Law: To Abolish or Fulfill

Often times many us think of the Old Testament as being a former dispensation of God that applied to the Jewish people, gave the Law, the history, the Psalms, Proverbs and a lot of good stories. Many might think that because we are a New Testament people that the Old Testament doesn’t have real application and promise to us. After all we are no longer under the Law. While there is truth to this we might be overlooking what Jesus is saying here. Jesus declares that His mission and purpose isn’t to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. The Old Testament and the Law provided the foundation and groundwork for the fulfillment of that Law through Christ. What has changed for us is that it is no longer the works of the Law that we are trying to keep through the efforts of the flesh, but it is the Spirit of that Law now written upon the tablets of our heart. The nature of God has not changed or His Laws, but He has taken them from the outward to the inward through the power of the Holy Spirit and His nature that now resides in us. Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” Christ fulfilled what we could not in that He fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law, but more than that, He became the sin offering to take upon Himself all of the penalty of sin for us. His faith in us embraces and appropriates that finished work of Christ that fulfilled the Law. It is that faith in His finished work that is now reckoned unto us for righteousness. The Law is fulfilled in us only through Christ. As we now live in Christ it is His nature within us that fulfills and keeps the Law. As we walk by the Spirit we no longer fulfill the lusts of our flesh. Romans 8:10-11 declares this truth by saying, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” In Christ, in this New Testament man, we do not abolish the Old, but we become the fulfillment of it. We have the power, authority and life of Christ to walk into what the Old Testament saints dreamed about. They were our examples and mentors to help us walk into a greater dimension of faith and faithfulness to the Lord. We walk into it by the power of Christ in us and the identification that we have died to the weakness of the Law, which is our sinful flesh. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. We have the finished work of Christ behind us. We have a commission of Christ to bring Him into our entire world. The Law and the Prophets live on. They along with the apostles have become the foundation of our faith. What is it that God is building? Ephesians 2:19-22 declares, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” We are God’s lively stones built upon this foundation to be the holy temple of the Lord. This is that place where God chooses to make His abode. Christ didn’t come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them and we a part of that fulfillment as we abide in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

The Place of Breakthrough

October 28, 2013

The Place of Breakthrough

Exodus 19:20-25
And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses [up] to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them. And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.

A few inches of snow covered the ground and the bird feeders in the backyard where we often sit and watch the birds feed in the morning. This morning, as I was gazing out of the window, a few birds began to show up, but none were going up to the bird feeders and finding the seed. Finally, one bird did fly up to one of the feeders where he began to breakthrough the snow till he found the precious seed beneath that he could feed upon. As he remained there feeding, other birds began to fly up to the feeders looking for the seed. I began to think how that snow is like our natural understanding and thinking; the true seed and Word of God so often becomes obscured by that cloud and cover of natural reasoning. Many of the mysteries of God’s Word are hidden to our natural minds and we don’t understand and comprehend them, for only the Spirit reveals them.
Moses was an interesting man. There is perhaps no greater type and shadow of Christ in the Old Testament than Moses. He had a very unique relationship with God. It is like he broke through the veil of snow or flesh that separated men from God and partake of the Seed and Word of Life like no others had. God used his break-through to reveal Himself then to His people. As precious as that was, we see it was not without limitation, because the people and even the priest could not go where Moses went in his encounter with God. Moses brought the dispensation of the Law, which was a revelation of our sin and our inability to measure up to God’s standards in our own selves. Breaking through to God in this state of sinfulness would only have brought death if the Holiness of God broke forth upon us.
Roman 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” Moses, as great as he was, was still only a type of Christ. It is Christ who is our break-through. It is He that has broken through the natural barriers of sin and self to bring us to the mount of God. In Christ it is no longer a mountain of fearful judgement, but of grace and mercy. We know that when Christ hung on the cross the veil of the temple was rent or torn from top to bottom. This revealed the truth that there was now access to man to enter into the place that had been forbidden for him to enter into prior to the cross. The cross is the way of entry. The blood of Jesus is the only thing that can wash away our sins and give us right standing before the Father. We can be accepted into His presence when we are in Christ. When the Father looks upon us now, He sees us in His Son and He sees His Son’s righteousness in us. Praise God, we no longer have to fear approaching God in the light of our merit or worthiness. That former man of weakness and sin is dead and we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Our approach to the Father must be in the light of that truth. The Father God has not changed His character since the Old Testament. It is not like He mellowed into this big Teddy Bear where sin doesn’t matter any more, He is not just this God of Love who now looks past and winks at our sin. Yes, He is and always has been a God of love, tenderness and mercy, but God has become no less awesome and holy in His magnificent presence, nor fearful in regards to sin. It may be somewhat obscured to us who dwell under the shadow of His wing, but it would be our great error and mistake to treat and approach our God as something common or someone who is just there to answer our prayers and meet our needs. He does that because He is God, He is love, He is goodness and He has given us His promises. He owes us nothing, unlike us who owe Him everything. We must always have the greatest reverence, love and respect toward Him. We must never mistake our grace as our license to sin, lest we greatly offend Him and the Holy Spirit that indwells us.
The point of all this is that Jesus is that light that came into the world. He became the hierarchy of divine life and truth. He was our breakthrough to bring us into the Father’s presence.
He revealed Himself and that Truth to His disciples and apostles, who in turn imparted it to like faithful ones and so that light and truth cascades down through the generations, through the written Word and through the Holy Spirit that quickens that Word and makes it no longer a dead letter, but a living, transforming dynamic in our lives. It also comes to us through the mouthpieces of God’s servants who are receiving this truth to impart. God’s truth is expanding even the more so in these last days as we press in to know Him beyond the Veil, in the most Holy Place. Where He leads others will follow. He is leading us into an ever-increasing breakthrough into Him. We in turn have to have the eyes of faith to see beyond the veil and press into what we have not yet tasted and partaken of. Like that bird feeder, once we break through these natural barriers, we tap into an endless source of life in abundance that we cannot imagine. This is the day of our breakthrough. Let us get a revelation of Him. We have a Moses access to the top of God’s mountain and God is calling us to come up.

Blessings,
kent

Acts 14: 1-3
At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.

That Which Fills You, Spills Out of You

God hasn’t commissioned all of us to be apostles and prophets, be we all do have a mandate to share the Lord. While most of us will agree upon the commission that was given to the believers in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”, many of us don’t feel qualified or comfortable sharing the Lord with others. How is it God would have us to share Him when preaching and teaching may be so far from who we are? What does this word preach mean? The word “preach” in the Greek here is kēryssō. It means, “to be a herald, to officiate as a herald, to proclaim after the manner of a herald, always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority, which must be listened to and obeyed. To publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done.”
A herald is a messenger making a public proclamation. Some of us may say, I don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable about talking about the Lord. That is something we need to work on getting over. The best witness is the one who is filled with the Spirit of God. Why are they filled with the Spirit of God? Most likely they are filled because they spend a good deal of time in His presence. They feed upon the Word, they are worshippers who spend time in His presence and they are intercessors who stand in the gap for others.
Why is it we don’t have any trouble talking sports, TV programs or who has the best bargains? We easily talk and converse about the subjects that we are most saturated in. If we are to more easily converse and share the message of the Lord of glory with others what is going to give us the comfort, the gravity and the authority to share that message more than saturating ourselves in Him?
The Word says, ‘that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’ What are we filling our mind and heart with? If it is the things of God, then it should be spiritual things that flow freely from our conversations. We should easily acknowledge God’s working in our lives even in normal conversation. Even when we are not speaking verbally we are communicating non-verbally with our actions and attitudes. Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
Some have taken this commission to preach the gospel of the kingdom as being ‘in your face’, dogmatic, judgmental and often rude. That attitude probably drives more people away from Christ than it ever draws to Him. All we need do is look at our example Jesus, to see the kingdom of God operating out of Him with love and humility, and yet with authority and confidence.
If we would be the epistles of Christ, read of all men, then what are our life and our words communicating to the world around us? That, which fills you up, will spill over in all you do and say.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: