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Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone for One Another

This post is link eleven in a chain blog initiated by Alan Knox on the topic of “one another.” You can find out how to join in the chain blog at the bottom of this post.

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. – [Isa 28:16 NASB]

The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. – [Psa 118:22 NASB]

Corner Stone

Corner Stone (Photo credit: dfulmer)

Have you seen this Corner Stone, dear brothers and sisters? It is our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the costly, chief Corner Stone of the House of God. The Corner Stone is the most important stone in the House. It must be a perfect Stone. All other stones find their place based on this single Stone.

But, that’s not all this Corner Stone does.

The Corner Stone links two walls together. Once upon a time, in an old creation, there were Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were God’s people, but the Gentiles were far-off from God. One people was filled with the children of God, whereas, the other people was at best, filled up with dogs.

Then, Jesus Christ came and took the Jews and the Gentiles to the cross with and in Him, crucifying them both. Now, in the new creation, there cannot be Jew, nor Gentile. Instead, Christ is all and in all.

Christ is the Corner Stone linking the two walls of the Jews and the Gentiles together into One.

This costly, chief Corner Stone is the basis on which, we relate to one another. This Corner Stone unites us. The old creation is full of every division imaginable. But, there is no division in the new creation. In Christ, we are altogether together One.

In Christ, there are no denominations, races, cultures, religions, philosophies, or any other thing that separates us.

In Christ, we are One Body, One House. Only in Christ can we love one another. Only in Christ can we be kind and compassionate to one another. Only in Christ can we be devoted to one another. Only in Christ can we outdo one another in showing honor. Only in Christ can we encourage one another. Only in Christ can we spur one another on to acts of love and good works. Only in Christ can we submit to one another.

The old creation is summed up with slaying one another. All day, every day, the Adamic race is slaying one other, whether on the battlefield or in the workplace; whether physically or emotionally.

But, we are the new creation! We are united in Christ, our costly, chief Corner Stone! We are ministering Christ into one another! With the Triune God, we are building one another up, into the City of God!

Every time we meet with one another, let’s enjoy this Corner Stone. Please, don’t leave this blog and say, “Well, that is true, but that’s not realistic”. If we would just keep our eyes on the Corner Stone and not on our flesh, we would experience the Reality with one another.

O precious Lord Jesus, you are the Corner Stone holding us all together. We are united to the uttermost in You. Open our eyes to see that You are the Reality. Make us see that You are our Corner Stone. Make us see that You hold us all together and everything that separates us is altogether opposed to You. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts to see You in Your glorious fullness. Then we will love one another with Your Love, which You have poured into us, until we have overflowed.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. – [Eph 2:19-22 NASB]

This is a blog post in a Chain Blog started by Alan Knox. Read on to learn about the other links in the chain, and to find out how you can participate in this chain blog.

Links in the ‘One Another’ Chain Blog

  1. Chain Blog: One Another – Alan Knox
  2. Linking One Another – Swanny
  3. What Does It Mean to Love One Another? – Chuck McKnight
  4. The treasure of ‘One Another’ – Jim Puntney
  5. This is how the world shall recognise you… – Kathleen Ward
  6. Accepting one another in love – Chris Jefferies
  7. One Another: A meta-narrative for the church – Part One and Part Two by Greg Gamble
  8. Individualism and “One Another” – Pieter Pretorius
  9. All Alone with One Another – by Jeremy Myers
  10. When it’s OK for Christians to compete – Joshua Lawson
  11. Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone for One Another – Peter
  12. Be Superficial With One Another – Jon
  13. Who will write the 13th link post in the chain?

Chain Blog Rules

  1. If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.
  2. Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain.” Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog (both this post and the other link posts in the chain).
  3. When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.
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In Christ Alone

In an effort to promote other workers in Christ, I plan to promote another blogger’s post at the beginning of each of my posts. We may all minister in different ways, but there is only one ministry: Christ!

We can see Christ and His Body everywhere. We can see Christ in movies, on the highway, in geology, and as David Bolton has blogged…in a puzzle. Have you seen this “Puzzle of puzzles”? Check out Lessons From a Lenticular Puzzle (1) – “The Puzzle of Puzzles” at christcenteredchristianity.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s cultivated field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. – Paul

English: differnts shapes of clay pots.

English: different shapes of clay pots. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beloved saints, there is a massive Christian system that likes to keep us “safe” in pots, rather than God’s Cultivated Field. What do I mean by “pots”? There are many shapes and sizes of pots. Some of these pots are doctrines, some are philosophies, some are cultures, some are music styles, some are denominations, some are charismatic leaders, some are methods of gathering, and the list goes on and on.

There are countless pots in Christianity. Each of these pots is a foundation, other than Christ. Pots divide plants from each other. Pots limit the growth of plants.

God doesn’t want us in pots. All of the pots must be broken and tossed out. We must all be planted in God’s Cultivated Field, which is just Christ.

If only we would smash all of these pots and destroy all of these foundations to the uttermost. If only we would be planted in Christ alone! Then we would be free to grow deep roots into Him and what upward growth we would have, expressing Him. We would grow with the growth of God!

Do you have a disagreement about doctrine with another believer? Present your views and if he or she still does not agree with you, agree on Christ. It is quite possible that you are wrong. Unless, you are the only one who has always had perfect and complete beliefs. There are doctrines that we cannot accept, but I am not here to tell you what those are. That is a decision to be made by the Body.

English: Wheat field in Seine-et-Marne (Île-de...

We are united in Christ.

Are you in Christ? That is enough, you are my brothers and sisters. Let’s drop our preferences, so that we may enjoy Christ’s preferences. All of these pots come from our soul, which consists of our mind, will, and emotions. We cannot be governed by these things, but we must be governed by our Spirit. Our soul must be renewed by the Spirit.

Let’s always turn to Christ in our Spirit. Let’s enjoy Him together. Let’s love Him together. Let’s feast on Him, so that we are utterly filled up with Him and He pours out of us and onto each other. Let’s leave our selves at the cross and put on Christ, the Resurrection Life within us.

God’s Household Administration

The Nant Llancarfan flowing toward the River K...

The Nant Llancarfan flowing toward the River Kenson at Llancarfan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of you already know about God’s eternal purpose, to sum up all things in Christ. This is God’s desire and He will attain it.

But, do you know how God is attaining such a high desire?

He will attain His desire through His household administration. In Greek, the word for this is oikonomia. It is such a rich word, it is helpful to look at the various meanings of oikonomia.

  • (literally) household law
  • stewardship
  • administration
  • economy
  • dispensation

A household administration was necessary for wealthy families. Wealthy families needed a steward  so that the riches of the family could be dispensed as needed.

The riches of Christ are unsearchable. We are in the family of God, the unsearchably rich family.

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, – [Eph 3:8 ESV]

God’s household administration is to dispense this unsearchably rich Christ into us, through the Spirit, as our Life and as our Everything. As Christ is filling and saturating us, He is overflowing out of us into each other. This economy is God’s Way of attaining His desire. We are being built up into the fullness of Christ, to be a dwelling place for God, expressing His image and exercising His authority.

We are stewards of this divine mystery. We are called to receive Christ and dispense Christ into others, by the administrating Spirit. This is discipleship. We have a well of Living Water within us that springs up, and streams of this Living Water flow out from us. Our streams form just one river, the River of Life, God’s flowing.

We should read Ephesians with this view. We should read the entire Bible with this view. We should live with this view. This is not just dead knowledge, but this is the living Christ, moving and growing on earth. He is the Vine Tree of Life that grows in and with the flow of the River of Life.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. – [Rev 22:1-2 NASB]

What a mystery! We are the enlargement of the immeasurably abundant Christ!

Spying Out Christ, Our Good Land

The Promised Land. View south west through the...

The Promised Land. View south west through the trees from SD51930209 near Promised Land Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. – [Num 13:30-32 NASB]

Before entering the Promised Land, Israel sent 12 spies into it, in order to determine what it was like. 10 spies returned with an evil report saying that it was impossible for them to take it. 2 spies returned with a good report, having seen the same Good Land. These two said that they would surely take possession of it.

Can you see that this is just the situation that we are in today?

The Promised Land, is a type of Christ as God’s provision for our every need. It is a type of the all-inclusive Christ. It represents the fullness of Christ.

God has set Christ, in His fullness, before us. Our Father has commanded us to take possession of the fullness of Christ. All of the unsearchable riches of this vast and immeasurable Christ have been made available to us through the cross. There is nothing left to do, but take possession of Him.

But, we have many enemies that would keep us from the fullness of Christ. There is the flesh, the old man, the world, the demons. Great armies of giants are arrayed against us, protected by fortified cities.

Today, the evil report that so many are giving is that we cannot take possession of the fullness of Christ. They say that we cannot express Christ. He is too high and we are too low. The flesh cannot be overcome. The old man cannot be overcome. The world cannot be overcome. The demons cannot be overcome. We are just grasshoppers before these giants.

Indeed, we are like grasshoppers, in ourselves. But, we are in Christ! We have the Lord of Heaven’s Armies fighting for us. The battle is the Lord’s battle, not ours. He has even won the battle already. This is the good report: the flesh, the old man, the world, the demons, every enemy of God has been crucified with Christ.

The victory is already won.

Let’s follow our Lord across the Jordan, which represents our experience of dying to our old man. Then comes circumcision, which represents our experience of the crucifixion of our flesh. Crossing the Jordan and circumcision are just our experience of objective realities that have already been obtained through the cross. Your old man and your flesh are already crucified. Now live by the Spirit. Take Christ as our New Man.

Let’s take possession of this all-inclusive Christ, full of vast and unsearchable riches. Don’t leave a single inch. Our Father wants the full expression of His Son. Everything is ready for us to take possession of our Inheritance and the battle is the Lord’s.

We must take Christ by faith.

See, the Lord your God placed Christ before you; go in and possess Christ, who the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Scripture or Experience?

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: – [Mat 2:1-5 NASB]

Today, I want to settle the debate on which is more important: Scripture or Experience. So many brothers and sisters in Christ have wasted words arguing over this subject(myself included). It really is a pointless debate.

Scripture and experience are both necessary.

The magi had a special experience. They had the star that led them to Israel, but they did not have the scriptures. The magi had a revelation, but not the necessary knowledge. They saw the star, but they didn’t know where to go.

The scribes had the scriptures, but they did not have the experience. They had the knowledge about the Messiah, but no revelation of Him. They didn’t see the star and they had no desire to go see Him.

Do you see that both, the scriptures and experience, were necessary to come to the fullness of Christ?

For those of you who value the scriptures above experience, do you not realize that the scriptures we born from experience? Those of you who value experience above the scriptures, do  you not realize that the scriptures will bring you into a greater experience?

When you come to the scriptures, you should touch something of the Author. He is a Person to be experienced and enjoyed. While you read the scriptures, pray them as well. Take God’s words and return them to Him. Make them your own. Look for Christ on every page and learn how to experience Him as God’s provision for your every need.

But, don’t think God will reveal so much to you, when He has revealed it to others already. Our Father is always working on the principle of the Body of Christ. He reveals something to one and something else to another. If we want further revelation of Christ, we must stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Then we will be able to go deeper into the Promised Land, that wonderful, all-inclusive Christ.

Let’s learn Christ from each other and those who have gone before us. O how we love you, Lord Jesus!

The Mystery of Godliness

Mystery

By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. – [1Ti 3:16 NASB]

Great is the mystery of godliness!

Do you see what is so great about it?

  • He was revealed in the flesh.
  • He was vindicated in the Spirit.
  • He was seen by angels.
  • He was proclaimed among the nations.
  • He was believed on in the world.
  • He was taken up in glory.

Godliness is a Person. Godliness is Christ. What a glorious Christ!

But, godliness is not just the individual Jesus Christ, but the corporate Christ. We can say that Jesus was revealed in the flesh, He was vindicated in the Spirit, He was seen by angels, and He was taken up in glory. But, we cannot say that He was proclaimed among the nations, nor was He believed on in the world.

Paul was not talking about Jesus of Nazareth. He was talking about the New Man, with Christ as the Head of His Body, the Church.

  • Christ was revealed in our flesh.
  • Christ was vindicated in our Spirit.
  • Christ was seen by angels in us.
  • Christ was proclaimed among the nations through us.
  • Christ was believed on in the world by us.
  • Christ was taken up in glory in us.

The mystery of godliness is Christ in us as the Spirit, saturating us, and conforming us into the image of Christ. A godly person is a person who is being conformed to the image Christ and expressing Him in all that he or she does. But, the fullness of godliness on shines in and through the New Man. May Christ be all and in all.

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Being Washed By Christ

Showerhead

“You shall anoint the laver and its stand, and consecrate it. Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water.” – [Exd 40:11-12 NASB]

Today, like most other days, I went to work.

I went out into the world and I got dirty.

Have you had this experience? I am sure that you have. I work outside, so I get dirty everyday.

I shower in the morning, before I go to work. Then, I need a shower when I get home, because I stink. I smell like the world that I have spent eight hours in.

You can’t be in this world without getting dirty. This is true physically, as well as spiritually.

We need to be washed by the Lord. We must take Christ as our Shower. I am not talking about being washed by His blood, although we do need that for our sins. Instead, I am talking about being washed by Christ as the Water to cleanse us of death, of uncleanness.

We live in a world of dust and death. I am certain that each of us touches something of death each day.

We need to turn to the Lord throughout the day to wash us and bring us back to the freshness of His Life.

We see that Christ wants to wash our feet by His Spirit, in the New Testament.

Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” – [Jhn 13:10 NASB]

Why was it so important for Jesus to wash the disciples’ feet? Our feet are the only part of us that must be in contact with the world. He wants to cleanse us of that dust that we pick up while in the world. We were made from dust, but God has made us into living stones. He is not satisfied with us as just living stones, He is forming us into precious stones, without dust and without blemish.

But, we are living stones that are being built together into as House for our Father. So, we must wash each others’ feet.

“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. – [Jhn 13:14-15 NASB]

Christ wants to cleanse us through each other. When we gather together, we wash each others’ feet by the Spirit, renewing each other to spiritual freshness.

Praise God! Christ is the reality of our showers.

 

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We are Designed to Be a Divine Glove

A PVC-Glove

[26] Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – [Gen 1:26 NASB]

A glove is made in the image of a hand, and according to its likeness. We were designed to be a Glove for God. God wants to get into us and fill us with Himself. The glove is the expression of the hand and we are to be the expression of God. The Glove is the Corporate Man and the Hand is the Triune God.

If we would be filled with God, for His full expression, His authority would be exercised.

Immediately, after God’s decision to make man in Their image, They state that men are to rule.

God’s authority always comes from His expression. If we are not expressing God, we cannot have His authority. Likewise, we must first be like a Glove, filled with God as our Hand. Then, He can exercise His authority through us.

What do you have to do to be a part of the Glove? Nothing. You were made to be a part of this Glove. You just need to cooperate with the Spirit, who dwells in your spirit, if you are in Christ. Let Him spread, renewing your mind with Himself, until Christ returns. Then, we will have new bodies and the consummation of God’s eternal desire.

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Continuing on in Christ

Landscape near the village of Kera (Crete, Greece)

Image via Wikipedia

If we are to mature in the Lord, there are three stages that we must go through. These three are the same ones that Israel went through. Each of these stages is a recognition of an aspect of Christ and an experience of Him in a new way. Each step is necessary for us to grow into the New Man. Also, each step is taken by faith, just as Israel did in its journey.

 

Christ as Our Slain Lamb

Christ as our Slain Lamb is our initial step. When we recognize that He is the Lamb slain for the sins of the world, we put our faith in Him. This is the means by which we enter into Christ. Since, we have entered into Christ by faith, we are also included in His death and resurrection. Too many have seen this simply as an objective truth, but it must be a subjective experience if we are to be transformed into the Image of God through Christ. We can only experience it if, by faith, we take His death and resurrection as our own.

 

Christ as Our Manna and Living Water

Once we have this new life in Christ, we must learn to eat and drink of Christ. If we do not eat and drink Him, we cannot grow in Him. A dear brother in Christ, Michael has written a great blog on eating Christ here: Spiritual Starvation and the Manna that’s Already There. I highly suggest reading it. We don’t literally eat and drink Christ, since God is Spirit, we must eat and drink Him spiritually. First, we must recognize that our food and drink is not the true food and drink. Christ is the reality of these things. Then, we eat and drink Him by faith. We must learn how to do this through our constant communion with Him. This is how we grow in Christ. As we eat and drink Him, His Life is dispensed into us and He saturates us, nourishes us, and is our pleasure.

 

Christ as Our Promised Land

Christ as our Lamb, our Food, and our Drink are just partial pictures of Christ. There is no picture in the Old Testament that is as complete a picture of Christ as the Promised Land. As we are growing in Christ by eating and drinking Him, we must recognize that He is our Promised Land, God’s provision for our every need. He is the air we breathe, our milk and honey, the very land we walk on, and even our hills and valleys. He is everything to us. In Him, we live and move and have our being. Whatever we need, we already have it in Christ.

 

Just as each tribe of Israel was given a portion of Christ, so we have been given portions of Christ. We have the stewardship of the mystery of Christ, which is God in us. As stewards, we share our portions of Christ with each other, dispensing His Life into each other through the Spirit. Through this dispensing, the Body is being built up into the fullness of Christ, until we are His express Image.

 

Lastly, just as Israel had an enemy in the Promised Land, so we have an enemy that wishes to keep God from attaining His eternal desire. Since, we each have a portion of Christ, together we must put on the Armor of God, which is Christ Himself. When I lack faith, a brother or sister in Christ, will have faith to give me. When someone feels unrighteous, I can remind them that Christ is our Righteousness. The war must be fought in the Body, for the Armor of God goes on the New Man, who is the corporate Christ.

 

Having died and been resurrected with Christ, then eating and drinking our Lord, let us press on to the Promised Land, where Christ is all and in all.

Are Your Windows Open Towards New Jerusalem?

Girl reading a Letter at an Open Window (fragment)

Image via Wikipedia

[10] Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. – [Dan 6:10 NASB]


Daniel had his windows open toward Jerusalem, because the return to Jerusalem was God’s desire for His People in exile. This is why God kept Daniel alive in the lion’s den: So that Daniel could continue praying according to God’s will. Daniel was faithful in praying for God’s eternal purpose, in as much as he understood it.

Man’s prayer is just to pave the way for God’s move to go on. – Witness Lee

[2] And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. – [Rev 21:2 NASB]

At the end of Revelation, the ultimate desire of God is revealed: New Jerusalem. This isn’t a physical city but a spiritual city. It is the mingling of God and man. I am not saying to open your window when you pray, but that God’s desire for this Great City should always guide your prayers. God is waiting for His People to join with Him through prayer. He will delay the accomplishment of His will until His People pray. He has revealed to us His desire for the Bride City so that we may prayer for it to be prepared.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

[1] The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, – [Rev 1:1 NASB]

Today, I have a burden for you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. This burden is in regards to the book of Revelation. The problem is this: Many view Revelation as either divisive or unknowable. Neither of these is true. The problem comes from our perspectives of this book.

Divisive?

This book is by no means divisive. The division is because we are not reading the book through the lens of Christ. This book is the revelation of Jesus Christ! In it, He is being unveiled to the world and the spiritual powers. So is this book divisive? No. The problem lies in how we read the book. It is not merely end-times prophecy, but the method by which God will unveil His wonderful Son to the entire universe.

Unknowable?

This book is full of signs and symbols, but it is a book meant to be understandable. The reason that we don’t understand it is that we do not understand the rest of Scripture. None of the symbols in Revelation are new. This is not a new book, but a conclusion to the rest of them. You must read this book with God’s ultimate thought in mind, His eternal purpose. This book is how He is attaining His desire, that Christ might be all and in all.

In addition, do not forget that this book, like all of Scripture, is a spiritual book. You will learn very little by simply reading its letters. You must exercise your spirit, which is indwelt by the Spirit of God, in order to understand its writings. Read it over and over with prayer, asking God to reveal its meaning to you. Read the interpretations of others’ and discern which fit well with the rest of Scripture and the eternal purpose of God.

So, I hope this post will encourage any who read it, not to give up on the book of Revelation. We need to see and understand this revelation of Jesus Christ. With every day that passes, the coming of our Lord grows ever closer. Let us read this book, understanding the message that our Father has given us, and preparing ourselves for the return of our Bridegroom.

Why Read Books Other Than the Bible?

Standing upon the shoulders of giants

Image by mushon via Flickr

And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Mat. 13:52 NASB)

 

Every once in a while I hear people saying things like: “I only read the Bible”. I went through a phase like this for a short time in my walk with Christ and now I realize how silly it was.

 

Scripture is the revelation of Jesus Christ and there is nothing to add to it. Likewise, it is clear that the Spirit is able to teach us all things, so we don’t need a teacher. We have Scripture and we have the Spirit, so why read anything else? This is actually similar to those who believe there is more importance to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, in the gospels, than in the writings of Paul and the apostles. This belief lacks the understanding that the same Jesus who spoke those words, became the life-giving Spirit, who spoke through Paul, the apostles, believers throughout the ages, and now us.

 

There are many Christians who have spent their lives studying Scripture and when we learn from them we are standing upon their shoulders. For example, Witness Lee who stood on the shoulders of Watchman Nee, was a Christian for seven decades. When we read his writing we stand on his shoulders, rather than going back and starting where he began. Someday people will stand on your shoulders, as you stand on the shoulders of others. Don’t go back to the beginning of the revelation of Christ, but stand upon the shoulders of the ever-increasing revelation of our Great Lord until He returns.

 

You should choose wisely whose shoulders you will stand on.

 

Here are some shoulders that I think you would be wise to stand on:

Brother Lawrence

Frank Viola

T. Austin-Sparks

Watchman Nee

Witness Lee

Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship

Jesus in the Word

Image via Wikipedia

 

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-13 NASB)


What does it mean to make disciples? What does it mean to be a minister? What is the stewardship of the mystery?

In order to understand these things, we must understand God’s desire and how He is fulfilling that desire. God’s desire is to have an expression of Himself and to fill all things with that expression. Thus, all things will be filled with Christ, through His Spirit. This Christ, that is to fill all things, is the mystery of God and the Church is the mystery of Christ.

The Church is the beginning of this filling of all things with Christ. Through the Church, the entire creation will be an expression of God. God is filling the Church with Christ, by dispensing His Wealth and His Life into the Church. As the receivers of the Life of God, in Christ, we are stewards of Christ. As Christ has been dispensed in us, we also, dispense Christ into each other.

As containers of God, we must be emptied of self and clear. Without being emptied of ourselves, we cannot be filled with God. Thus, our old self was objectively placed on the cross with Christ and we subjectively experience that by faith. Next, we are clear containers because nothing of ourselves should be seen. When we are seen, only our contents should be seen. This is why New Jerusalem, in Revelation, is clear gold. The gold is that which is made of God and it is clear because our selves have died. With ourselves dead, God who is the contents of the Great City, is displayed for all to see.

The dispensing of Christ is what it means to be a minister. In order to minister to someone we must be living in Christ, learning Him, and experiencing Him. Ministering is not merely done with words and teaching, it is done by imparting something of Christ to someone. You cannot impart something of Christ to someone, if Christ is not being dispensed into you. Thus, as Christ is dispensed into us, we dispense Christ into each other.

Lastly, this is also what it means to make disciples. We are not making disciples of ourselves, but of Christ. If you are ministering to someone you are making a disciple. As you impart your portion of Christ into a person by the Spirit, that person is being filled Christ. Since, that person has received something of Christ from you, he or she will share it with someone else. So, making disciples is done by the dispensing of Christ, from your spirit to another person’s spirit, through the Holy Spirit.

 

May we all work so that the desire of God is obtained: The fullness of Christ displayed for all to see.

 

God’s Eternal Purpose by Witness Lee

SUBJECT: ULTIMATE MANIFESTATION-GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE
METER: 6.5.6.5.D.
AUTHOR: Witness Lee
COMPOSER: M. Koch, from Geistliche Lieder

Audio

 

1   God’s eternal purpose
      Is to join with man,
    Causing man, His vessel,
      To be born again,
    His own life imparting,
      Filling to the brim;
    Man may thus express Him,
      And be one with Him.
2   God in His own image
      Hath created man,
    That he may be able
      To fulfill His plan;
    That he may receive Him
      As the tree of life
    To become His fulness
      As to man the wife.
3   In His life’s rich flowing
      Man will be transformed
    Into precious substance
      And to Him conformed.
    Thus will man be builded
      As His counterpart,
    Thus to be His dwelling,
      Satisfy His heart.
4   Tis the holy city,
      New Jerusalem;
    With His saints God mingles,
      Makes His home with them.
    He becomes their content,
      His expression they;
    They shall share His glory,
      One with Him for aye.
5   He’s the very center,
      Ruling on the throne;
    By His life the power,
      Saints are kept in one.
    By His light of glory,
      They are kept in light,
    Harmony enjoying
      In divine delight.
6   He’s their living water,
      And their food supply;
    All their thirst and hunger
      He doth satisfy.
    He’s for them the temple,
      In Himself they live,
    In His constant presence
      Worship ever give.

 

Personal, Corporate, or Both?

Living Stones

Image by Andesine via Flickr

This blog post is a clarification of some tweets that I made. To be honest, these are some thoughts that I haven’t completely worked out in my mind, but I will do my best to explain them. Thus, you may take the word “clarification” lightly :). This isn’t an argument for my thoughts (I don’t like arguing), just a discussion.

I will begin with the definitions of the words, personal and corporate, that I have in my mind. I got these definitions from the Google Dictionary:

Personal – Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else

Corporate – Of or shared by all the members of a group

1st Tweet

Jesus Christ is not a personal Savior, but a corporate Savior.

I say, “Not saved for themselves but for the glory of Christ the Son.” It’s not about us at all — it’s all about Him! – Whitney McKendree Moore (@WhitneyMcKMoore)

First, I am not saying that God is impersonal, nor am I denying that we are saved as individuals. So what am I saying? I am saying that Jesus Christ does not save anyone for their own sake, but for Himself and His Body. It is obvious that we come into the Body as individuals, considering that a corporate body is made up of individuals. Truly, we are stones, made alive by God, to be put together into one Temple. A Building has individual stones, but they do not have any personal experience that does not affect the Building.

My next point is that salvation does not occur simply between you and Christ. How would anyone hear of Christ unless someone has already been sent to share Him? You may even have learned the good news from a Christian who is long dead, but a member of the Body none the less. Indeed, the Body of Christ shared the Head to you, who was revealed to you through the invisible workings of the Holy Spirit.

Third, we always exist in some form of corporate body. We were born in Adam, and thus have received His sin nature. Through the death and resurrection, we are reborn, by the Spirit, in Christ. Thus, in order to be saved you had to be included corporately in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, our dear Lord. Also, Christ died once for all, not over and over again for each person. We don’t have a separate and distinct experience of His death and resurrection, but share in the same act that was performed once for all.

Another thought that I have is if we were chosen in Christ before the creation of the world, were we not already His Nation before we considered ourselves a part of it? We were already chosen in Christ, and when He was revealed to us we learned of our true identity. The identity that was hidden in Him. We no longer think that we are poor peasants, but we see that we are kings, destined to reign with Christ.

2nd Tweet

Is anything really personal? Or is personal a delusion?

We like things to be personal. We think that life is like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. We want to think that stuff is ours and we have our own little bubbles to walk around. It is an awful thing if someone enters your bubble. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that does not affect others. Everything that we do affects others. Even if you are absent, hidden away in the wilderness, there are people who will never hear your knowledge, be encouraged by your advice, or hurt by your cruelty. All of your experiences have included someone or something else. The truth is that nothing is really personal, nothing really belongs to us. All is given to us by our God, for the good of all. If you keep what He has given to you, others are hurt and if you give what He has given to you, others benefit.

Why Have I Chosen to Meet Organically in Christ?

Bexley_Christ_Church

Image via Wikipedia

Just a note, I will be discussing my ideas of organic church, which may not represent every person who meets organically.

The Supremacy of Christ

First of all, the supremacy of Christ over all things is at the very core of the organic gathering. If Christ is not supreme, then our gatherings are a waste of time. Christ must have supremacy in all things. If Christ is to be supreme, then we must submit to Him and His desires. When we meet organically, we lay down our own vision of what “church” is like, to see what Christ wants to do through us.

Christ is Zealous for God’s House

It would be pointless to meet under the supremacy of Christ, if He didn’t care about our gatherings. But, that is not the case! He wants to lead us into all righteousness and glory. Indeed, He is our Righteousness and Glory! No man will ever care about the Church as Christ does. We are the Bride, and He is our Bridegroom. He is consumed with love and passion for us.

Christ is Head

But, what does it matter that Christ is supreme and zealous for us, if He is not Head over us? We must realize that we are one Body, under His Headship. Only the Head is capable of leading the Body. Every believer is simply a body part. If one person leads, it is like a finger leading the body. If a group of people lead the body, then it is like a hand leading the body. Christ is more than capable of leading His Body through anything and everything.

All are Equal in Christ, the Corporate Man

Now that you have seen that Christ is supreme, that He is zealous for God’s House, and Head over the Body, let’s look at this Body. Is one part of the Body, greater than another? Never! All need to participate in the gathering of the Body. Every single body part is needed. Can a mouth speak, without the tongue and the neck and the lungs? Does the mouth speak by itself? Institutional gatherings assume that one person is the mouth and everyone else are the ears. What I am getting at is this: All the body parts are equal in Christ and all should have the opportunity for Christ to use them when we gather together. When Christ is allowed to use every person as He chooses, we will see the fullness of this great corporate Lord of ours. He ascended to Heaven for this purpose: That He may be a Corporate Man, in His People, through His Spirit.

Christ is in All

But, we must also believe that Christ is in all. Christ is not only in the pastor, nor, only in the prophet. Christ is in all! Every single believer, in Christ, has the Spirit of Christ living in him or her. Christ can speak through a young child, as He can through an elder. He doesn’t have favorites. He chooses as He wills, according to His wisdom. Indeed, your strengths will inhibit what the Spirit wants to do through you, but your weaknesses give Him free reign. May the weakest be the greatest among us!

Some Thoughts on the Pastorate

Considering that, there is much disagreement over the authority of the pastorate, I will say a few words about it. Let me say that I do, indeed, believe in the ministry of the pastor. But, a pastor, nor any other ministry, is not a title to be taken. You do not choose to be a pastor, pastors are chosen of God and you will act as one as you learn Christ. A pastor does not stand in front of the Flock, but is among it. A pastor is simply another body part, that is no more significant than any other.

Concluding Thoughts

Lastly, I would like to point out that the Church is a living organism, not a structure. It needs nothing, but Christ. All things flow from Him. He is our Life and our Light. If any one member of the Body is not present at any particular organic meeting, the Body is still able to meet without any hindrance. The member, who isn’t present. will be missed, but Christ will still be free to act through His Body. This gathering under the Christ, is a gathering of faith. By faith we see and hear Him through our brothers and sisters. Sometimes, He acts almost imperceptibly, sometimes through power.

I meet organically that Christ may be all and in all.

“Revise Us Again” by Frank Viola

Are we living by the script of Jesus Christ, or have we strayed from the script given to us by God? In “Revise Us Again”, Frank Viola points out some of the problems that he sees in the script, by which, many modern Christians are living. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook version of this book. Adam Verner is the narrator. He narrated the book well and had an enjoyable voice. The book was quite short and I was able to listen to it several times.

In my opinion, the major issue in this book is overcoming the differences that separate us as Christians. These differences have formed denominations and have hindered unity. Two of the differences mentioned in the book are: how God speaks through us and our spiritual conversation styles. If only we saw that many of our differences are given to us by God and reveal to us a fuller image of Christ. Other differences, the ones that are born of ourselves, should be laid aside if they hinder unity. Unfortunately, we are too focused on ourselves and not focused on Christ and His eternal purpose. If we were, we would be united in Him. Lets embrace our differences as Christians and learn to see Christ in others that are different from ourselves.

In my opinion the last chapter of the book is the most important. This chapter describes three gospels that people believe in. These three gospels are: libertinism, legalism, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Libertinism is attractive to the flesh, because you are free to sin. Legalism is attractive to the will, because it is your will accomplishing the work. Neither libertinism, nor legalism, are real gospels. Instead, they are false gospels. The true gospel, which the apostle Paul preached, is Christ. He is the narrow path, our highway of holiness.

The chapter on the dark night, was one that I wish I had read before I experienced it. This is a time when it seems as if God has walked off the stage. The dark night is like removing the spiritual training wheels. When you are reliant on the felt presence of God, He removes that feeling of His presence, and it can be world-shattering. We must keep faith in Him, even when we can’t feel His presence.

I enjoyed “Revise Us Again”. Not everything in the book moved me, but I think there is something in it for everybody. I am sure that, if you read it with an open mind, you will learn something from this book.

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

Is God’s House Safe From Earthquakes?

A cornerstone with bronze relief images

Image via Wikipedia

Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken. (Isa 28:16 NLT)

The Foundation Stone has come. He was tested in all the ways that we are tested, yet He was without sin. Christ is the precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. He has proven Himself strong and sturdy. The church that is being built together on Christ will not be shaken. It cannot fall. We, His Temple, can only be built together on Christ, the Lord’s Foundation Stone. Earthquakes will come to test your foundation. Many will fall because their foundation was built by man and not by God. Will you believe in the Foundation that God has sent, or will your trust in one of the many foundations that man has produced?

The Privilege of Persecution by Dr. Carl Moeller & David W. Hegg

Persecution of the Christians

Image via Wikipedia

…The persecuted church is God’s gift to us in the West. Their understanding of God, their reverence for His Word, their dependence on prayer and worship, their daily immersion in authentic community, their biblical submission to authority, and their unbridled generosity of spirit can be tremendous resources for us if we only humble ourselves to adopt a spirit of learning” (p. 147).

This book is an opportunity for the church in the West to learn from our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church. Many of in the West have realized that there is something wrong with us. The persecuted church can be an example for us in how to meet in Christ. “Then Privilege of Persecution” will show you the major features that set the persecuted church apart from the church in the West.

I wish I could share with you all that I have learned in this book, but it would be too much for a book review. Here is a glimpse of what I found important in this book: They follow Christ, they enjoy prayer, oneness, slow your pace, and America no longer trusts God.

It is clear that the church in the West is in danger. We have lost our first love. The majority of the church in the world has to cling to Christ or face extinction. In the West, “Christians” can flourish without Christ. The persecuted church has shown its faithfulness in the face of death. We have shown our faithlessness in the face of wealth. Let’s return to Christ and in humility, learn what the persecuted church can teach us about what it really means to follow Him.

I received this book free from the publisher.

A Look at Fasting Pt. 1

Considering that we are entering into the time when some people participate in Lent, I thought I would take a look at fasting. (I will look at fasting in parts, since I really don’t like long posts.) This is not only in regards to fasting during Lent, but fasting at anytime. If you fast during Lent do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. If you fast some other times, do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. What I do respect from Lent is that it is a corporate fast of the Body, for those who wish to participate. I do think fasting has been neglected in our times, although it is important in the life in Christ. We will start with what Christ had to say about fasting, since He is Everything to us.

Jesus fasted.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
(Mat 4:1-2 ESV)

Jesus prophesied that we would fast.

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
(Luk 5:33-36 ESV)

Christ, as our example, fasted in the wilderness. He also expected us to fast after He had been taken to His Father. We wait for the return of our Bridegroom, when we will have no need to fast. For now, He has not returned, so we continue in our prayers and fasts.

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