When the Lord asked in Matthew 16, “But who do you say that I am?”, Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”. This began Jesus’ crucial introductory instructions concerning His “called out ones” (church).
First of all, He tells “Peter” (little stone) that upon this “rock” (the revelation and confession that Jesus is the Christ and Son of the Living God) Jesus will build His church.
Secondly, Jesus said “the gates of hell or hades” (the place of the dead) would not be able to prevail against His church. Because Hebrews 2:14 shows us the one who has the power of death is the devil, we know Jesus is telling us that the one having the power of death (the devil) will not prevail against His “called out ones”.
Thirdly, having brought up the issue of authority, Jesus says that the called out ones (His church) have the authority of God to represent Him; that is to open/close, bind or loosen with the authority of God to back them up.
This is wonderful for everyone who belongs to Jesus’ church. But there is just a little more you should know in order to apply these things correctly:
We should know that the devil got his power over man by seducing Eve and Adam to eat of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”. When this happened, all the future generations were separated from God because they had in them the fruit from a tree which caused them to be compelled to make all decisions and judgments independently from God. This separation is the “death” that God spoke of when He told Adam and Eve “in the day you eat of that tree you shall surely die”.
We also should know when Jesus died on the cross for us, He not only took our sins and the punishment for them upon Himself, thus justifying us, He also took our “old” independent nature to the grave. He also resurrected us to walk in the “newness of His life”.
Now, we get to the thing that is on my heart because it is on God’s heart. The Holy Spirit doesn’t fight, quarrel, or argue with Himself. The Holy Spirit always glorifies the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus Himself prayed that our Father would saturate us and constitute us with reality by that Holy Spirit. He also prayed that He would make us ONE, even as the Father, the Spirit, and Jesus are ONE. He spoke through Paul that divisions caused by believers with prejudicial preference for one leader over another were babyish and come from the flesh in its sinful nature. In one place, where Paul through the Holy Spirit addresses works of the flesh like this, “those who practice such things would not inherit the Kingdom of God”. Since works of the flesh proceed out of the part of our being that Christ filtered out through His death on the cross, it will not and cannot submit to God.
Now I know that God blesses His children who are in denominational or sectarian congregational situations. I tell you, though, that His blessings are not always a testimony that we are altogether obedient and consistent doers of God’s will. I would say that most of His blessings are because He is faithful. He counts us who are in Christ (born of God) as raised up with Him into the heavens, justified, and glorified. He knows we are in the process of being conformed to the image of His Son, but He treats us as much as we let him, as though we had arrived. This includes everyone who is born of God; yes, even if you were born and raised in a denomination.
I have heard a few people say I was born a _______ and I’ll die a _______. This only shows they are a little ignorant of God’s will, but God can fix them. Go to the nearest mirror, and you will see another person that has been at least a little ignorant sometime in their life. God loves you and hey, God loves me. We all learn anything of value by the Holy Spirit either directly or through someone or something God has put in our path. What does God mean when the Scriptures say, “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”? It means this life in Christ is one where we are born into the family of God as pretty ignorant infants. God grows in us and reveals Himself so that we can know Him more and more, day by day, and moment by moment.
How about the phrase, “but you did not so learn Christ”? Is Christ a person? Yes! Well then, how are we to learn Him? You learn Christ by living in Him, by talking with Him, and reading His Word. To prayerfully pay attention to all that is going on around you also helps, since God is working “all things after the counsel of His own will”. What about the verse saying “by beholding and reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord we are being transformed into His image”? This and the other verses around it mean that every day that we allow God to speak to us and reveal Himself to us and we set our eyes on Him in His Son Jesus, that we will see continually the Glory of God in contrast with us as natural men. Seeing this, we run deeper into Him, we fight by faith to push off all the old nature inherited from Adam, and we eat and drink God and Jesus to become more and more like Him. By all of our experiences in Christ, especially those in relation to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are changed more and more, day by day, moment by moment into the glorious image of our glorious Lord Jesus.
So, what should our attitude toward other believers in Jesus be? The answer is in 1 John 5:1, which says, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father, loves the child born of Him”. If you are born of God and I am born of God, we should love one another. If I love the Father for all He has done directly and in the person of His Son Jesus, then I will love Jesus and I will love all the other children He has begotten. But what if that brother belongs to a denomination or a non –denomination or to no group at all? The question is answered in the above verse. “Whoever loves the Father, loves the child born of Him”.
If you know something important from the Lord, what does love dictate you do for me (your born-of- God brother)? You must pray and get instructions from the Lord as to how you impart that to me. But that will be hard and you might be rejected. True, but you can find strength in observing the work that Jesus did to save us and also how the apostles and prophets have labored to bring us the good news of that. Pray for me also that I would be open to receive from God the things I need.
When the Lord asked in Matthew 16, “But who do you say that I am?”, Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”. This began Jesus’ crucial introductory instructions concerning His “called out ones” (church).
In the New Testament, we are told certain things that the Holy Spirit will do and be to us. He is the Life-giving Spirit, our helper, our intercessor, the one to guide us into all truth, teach us all things, and disclose to us what is to come. He will glorify Jesus and disclose Him to us, along with all things that the Father has.
We must realize that the Holy Spirit is nourishing us with Jesus Christ as our life so that we, as the body of Christ, may grow “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.” (Ephesians 4:13, NASV) It is only by this that we may fulfill our part in God’s purpose.
God, who is love, loves His Son, Jesus. Jesus is the “Son of His Love”. (Colossians 1:13, Recovery) We cannot fathom with the natural mind just how deep God’s love is for Jesus. Since we simply cannot understand how great God’s love is apart from Him revealing it, it is a very good thing to ask God to show us. If we ask and believe, He will show us.
One astonishing thing is that as much as God loves His Son, Jesus, He loves us enough to allow Him to live amongst us as the testimony of God and then subject Himself to the shameful and painful torture of being spit upon, mocked, and beaten, then led away in humiliation and crucified in order to take away our sins and make the way to come as the Father and the Son into us in the Spirit. We can just begin to fathom the love of God when we believe this great truth and enter into His covenant. What God would like to further reveal is the desired end of His purpose – that this Jesus, whom God loves so much, is who He wants to fill us with so that He sees us, whom He loves so much, filled with Him that He loves so much.
Seeing God’s purpose is a key to us arriving at God’s goal. We must never lose sight of God’s goal and purpose for us as the church, otherwise, the things we do as Christians will become meaningless activities. We will be like wild horses, unrestrained and running wild. Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision (revelation), the people are unrestrained (run wild).” (NASV & Hebrew) Psalms 32:9 says: “Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you.” (NASV) The Lord’s people need to be restrained by the vision of God’s goal and held in check and brought near to God by their understanding of His goal and purpose for them as the body of Christ.
Knowing God’s Purpose
How may we obtain a revelation of God’s purpose? The answer is that we must spend time with the Lord in His Word. Through prayer in God’s Word, He will enlighten, teach, and give us a vision of His eternal purpose.
Enlightenment of the understanding is a process, which takes place, by degree, as we behold the Lord through His Spirit and His Word. II Corinthians 3:18 says: “And all of us, as with unveiled face, (because we) continued to behold (in the Word of God) as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever-increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; (for this comes) from the Lord (Who is) the Spirit.” (Amplified)
We receive light from the Lord as we come to Him in the Word. The light is just the Lord, Himself, transfusing us with Himself. As we continue to behold Him, the light becomes part of us, as much as we can receive at a time. As we receive many such “shinings”, we are transfigured and transformed into the glorious image of the Lord, from one degree of glory to another. Therefore, we can expect to receive fresh and living light and renewed vision every time we come to the Lord in His Word.
God’s Purpose Revealed
Ephesians 1:4-6 reads: “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 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons (sonship) through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (NASV & Greek)
As we see what God has prepared for us, we won’t be able to stop saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” We will want to bless Him every minute of the day for all the blessings that He has given to us and for the revelation of the reason He has blessed us. What we have, in this portion of Scripture, is a window that extends from eternity past to eternity future to show us our position and condition before God, according to His eternal purpose.
We see, first of all, that before the foundation of the world, God saw us in Christ Jesus, His Son. He saw us, and He chose us in Him. He determined that those of us who would believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, would be completely set apart unto Him and saturated with the life and nature of God. Knowing beforehand about the fall of man, God determined that He would perfect us, make us absolutely righteous and without one trace of a blemish. Knowing that man would be bent on self and filled with bitterness and hatred, as a result of the sin nature he was to inherit, God determined to fill man to overflowing with His selfless, holy love.
God’s Purpose – Sonship
This is what is called sonship: to receive the life of God and be conformed to the image of God’s Son. God, in His great love, and according to the good pleasure of His own will, predestined us into sonship. When this sonship is fully manifested, we will be radiant with glory. The glory will be the result of the operation of God’s grace, which is operating in us. We will be standing in God’s presence, saying, “WONDERFUL! GLORIOUS! MARVELOUS!” We will be praising the glory of His grace with which we are now being graced.
In the book of Revelation, there is a picture of some of the sons of God manifested. Revelation 7:9-12: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever, Amen.” (NASV)
God’s Purpose – Heading Up Of All
Things Ushering in God’s Goal
The sonship is only one aspect of God’s purpose. Ephesians 1:10 says: “with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up (heading up) of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth, in Him.” (NASV & Greek) Everything in the universe is being headed up in Christ, and we, the church, are called “His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23, NASV) Wow, what a calling! We, as the church and body of Christ, are called to be participants in Christ in heading up all of the things in the universe.
Once all things are made subject to Jesus Christ, then He will be subject to the Father “so that God may be all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:28) A few verses prior to this, Paul writes, “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.” (I Corinthians 15:24) So we see that the sons of God being brought into glory, which is at a point in time, is the means to the end that God will be all in all in eternity. God saved us from eternal death by destroying him that had the power of death, the devil, and by giving to us eternal life. It is by the power of this life, God’s life, which works in us, God’s sons, to transform us and conform us fully to the image of Christ. As this is happening, and in the degree that it happens, we, in and through and with Jesus Christ: (1) glorify God and (2) defeat and subdue God’s enemy and fulfill God’s purpose. God gets great pleasure in beholding the process. This shows that God’s purpose and His good pleasure go hand in hand and really are one and the same.
We Must “See” to “Be”
This is what brother Paul was so desirous of: that we would have our heart enlightened to see with the eyes of our heart what the awe-inspiring hope of our calling is and what are the riches of glory of God’s inheritance in us which is this precious, glorious, sweet Jesus worked into us day by day until finally He takes us fully over and the glory of His unsearchably rich life breaks forth. Oh, how God desires to see the manifestation of His inheritance in us! How He loves to see His Son, Jesus, overflowing and oozing forth! Jesus, we need more of You. Amen, Lord, we love You.
Paul states in Ephesians 3:8-10: “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places, this was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NASV) Paul had a full realization of the fact that he was not worthy in himself of the grace or the task of preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. This was mainly because he had been an enemy and persecutor of the church. Now Paul, through his preaching and his letters to the churches, was imparting the revelation and the grace by which he received it.
“To bring to light” is to reveal. “The mystery” is God in Christ in the church. “The dispensation of the mystery” is the plan, the means, and the carrying out of the plan of the church becoming the fullness of Christ, and Jesus Christ (the Head) with His body subduing and heading up all things in the universe.
Part of this dispensation is taking place now, even as it was in Paul’s day. As a result, God’s wisdom (which has many parts, elements, and forms) is being made known through the church to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies.
For this reason, Paul had a strong burden for prayer. With the understanding of what we have covered, we should have much deeper insight into Paul’s prayer and the end of his speaking at the end of chapter 3 in Ephesians. As we read this prayer, be aware of the intensity of inspiration, love, and purpose which moves Paul, and allow yourself to be deeply moved as well. Ephesians 3:14-19: “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” (NASV)
Paul realized that only the Spirit of God can transmit revelation, love, power, and life into the saints. So, he prays a prayer that is more than obviously inspired of God’s Spirit, the words of which have inspired many saints throughout the centuries. The words, themselves, are so rich that if we take them as food, they will nourish us and transmit God’s life into us to accomplish the very thing that Paul was praying for.
The first thing we must realize is that God’s work to accomplish His purpose with the church takes place mainly in the inner man. There is a place in God’s administration for healing of the body and outward signs, wonders, and miracles, but the main work is done by God’s Spirit in the inner man. The resurrection life of the Lord Jesus Christ must flow richly into us and spread into all our mind, will, conscience, emotions, and intuition. This is what it means for the Lord to make home in our heart. When this fully happens, whatever the Lord’s thoughts are will be our thoughts and, likewise, with all the other faculties and operations of our inner man.
This does not mean that we will have no thoughts of our own, but all of our thoughts and functions of our inner man will have been transformed completely to correspond in perfect harmony with Christ’s through the process of co-death and resurrection. By our union with Jesus Christ, we have died with Him, and thus, the sin nature is destroyed. The manifestation of this co-death is only partial while we are in our mortal bodies and is accomplished simultaneously by resurrection. The sin is destroyed through death, and the place it occupied is then filled with the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus.
Here is a great mystery unveiled: (Genesis 1:27) “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”, (Colossians 1:15) “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation”, and (I Corinthians 12:12) “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (NASV) In Genesis, we see that man was created in God’s image. Colossians shows us that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. I Corinthians shows us that the church, as the body of Christ along with Jesus, is the Christ. In one sense, we have an individual identity as members in particular of the body of Christ. In another sense, we are filled with the life and nature of Christ and are blended, fused, and mingled to form the corporate expression of the body of Christ. In both aspects, we become absolutely transformed by the life of Jesus Christ into the very image of God. Praise God! We become partakers of the very life and nature of God.
To really understand and lay hold of all the vast riches of our wonderful and inexhaustibly rich Lord and Christ, we must learn to function as the body of Christ. It is only as we apprehend with all the saints all the many and varied aspects of Christ and have the blending of the knowledge and experience through our interaction with the other members of the body that we may become the corporate expression of Christ. For the corporate expression of the body of Christ, we need to know and experience the love of God in a dimension, which we have not yet. As we enter into the the kind of church life that Paul was praying about, we will both see the extreme need and find the inexhaustible supply of God’s love. It is our absolute need and God’s deep desire that we come to know His love in a way that we can now only begin to comprehend.
The Practical Need -
God’s Great Provision
The major part of the church is in babyhood. We are far from the place where all the members of the body can function in a coordinated and harmonious way. We must break loose of the traditions of men and get to a place where each member can respond to the directions of the Head of the body, Jesus Christ. Some Christian people are so set in the ways of the clergy-laity system that if someone in the meeting stood up and began to function in the way of teaching or sharing a revelation (as the Bible says to do in I Corinthians 14:26), they would be severely rebuked, if not kicked out. The saddest part is that they are so steeped in tradition they feel that they are fully justified in doing so. Sometimes, it can be discouraging when we see what God wants, in contrast with what we are prepared to give Him, but it is the words of Paul’s at the end of chapter 3 of Ephesians that give me great encouragement and faith that God can and will accomplish what He has set out to do, even with us. Ephesians 3:20 & 21: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (NASV)
It is my full heart’s prayer that you may know by revelation of the Spirit the great power and love that God has waiting for you in the person of His Son, Jesus, and that this may be yours in all His fullness in your experience of Him. Amen!
© 1997 Bruce Archer
Do you think that statement becomes any less true if you are white, black, brown, male, or female? Do you think that other people who aren’t the same denomination, religion or a person who doesn’t believe in God at all as you are just as valuable to God? How about people in a different division of the place you work like “the mail room people” VS “the clerical staff”?
What is it within us that makes us judge one another? Do we think that God feels the same about other people as we do?
It is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We inherited it from our great grandparents Adam and Eve. It makes us judge everything independently, that is, without God. God knew this would happen and warned “in the day you eat of it you will surely die.” Well one proof of that is that God had said man was “very good”. Now man was judging himself and said “naked and ashamed”. “Who told you that you were naked?” “Did you eat of the tree I told you not to?” (Genesis 3:)
God knew man ate of the tree as soon as he started judging good and evil for himself. Man’s new found knowledge wasn’t complete though and therefore not correct. God is perfect and has perfect knowledge. He can see the beginning and end of a thing even beyond time. He can correctly judge good and evil. He made them.
Man, now judging good and evil judged himself and saw himself as imperfect. This is sin. Much later, in the book of Hebrews (9:13), God says through the writer “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” It is the consciousness of sin that kills man (separates him from God). This is what the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil does. In man’s little imperfect knowledge and judgment, he can’t be with God because he is less than perfect.
Another aspect of the working of this insidious tree is that it makes people self-centered. One example of this is the situation between Cain and Able (two sons of Adam and Eve). The one had offered God a sacrifice of a lamb. This indicates a consciousness of personal sin and the need of payment (the lamb representing Able). Cain on the other hand offered Grain (the work of his hands) and became very angry and jealous of Able because God showed respect to Able’s sacrifice and not to his. There is a lot going on here but the main element is Cain doesn’t understand why his hard work isn’t worth much more than the Lamb that Able offered. In answer to Cain’s expression of anger God told Able that sin was lying at the door and that he must overcome it. Rather than submitting to God against this wrong Cain felt he had been dealt, he decided to kill his brother. This marked the climax of Cain’s self-righteousness, anger and jealousy. All of these have their root in the knowledge of good and evil, self-centeredness, and self-exaltation.
We tend to think of “sin” as something wrong we have done. While this is one aspect or manifestation of sin, it can be more clearly defined as that element that separates us from God and all that issues out of that element. The element is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If we act apart from God we manifest sin (the independent nature inherited from our great grandparents Adam and Eve). God actually designed man to become one with Him, to live in and with Him. This tree separates us from Him and compounds that separation by driving a wedge between us every time we act independently of Him.
Now God has brought man a cure for his consciousness of sin. The God Himself came down to man in the form of a man (His son Jesus). As a man, He suffered on man’s behalf all the punishment man deserved for his sins and then provided a new life. God himself with His resurrected Son comes into us by the Holy Spirit that we now can receive Him because we have the consciousness that we have been forgiven and cleansed from our sins through Jesus the Christ. This new life within helps us and teaches us how to live according to God so that we can please him and because of our cleansed conscience, we are able to have continual fellowship with God.
Even when you know what God has done for us, it takes special progressive revelations to really get it. We are so dull because of being used to judging according to our own ability to understand or, as I should say, inability. As we grow in Christ, we are taken from one degree to another in our ability to grasp bit by bit what God has done and why. I could say thousands of times “God really loves you” and you might start to get it some special day as you think and dwell on those words. Then when you really believe it, you start to grow more and realize it more. God says that when all of the believers together, each sharing their own grasp/understanding/comprehension/apprehension/experience/fellowship with all the others through God’s indwelling Spirit; while being continually infused with the flow of His pure divine love that we will eventually be filled up with the fullness of God.
(2 Corinthians 3: and Ephesians 3:).
A wonderful thing I want to leave with you, that is PRAY. God wants us to seek him out and talk to Him. He is more than ready and willing to manifest Himself to us; we just need to keep on asking him, be thankful, and believe that He hears and will answer out prayers.
Joined to the Lord as One Spirit
From God’s point of view, all of the believers are one with Him by His Spirit. The Bible shows these in many ways- two of them are:
I Corinthians 6:17 (King James Version) “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
John 17:21 (King James Version) “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”
Oneness, which redeemed believers have with God and Jesus is that His Divine Spirit, has been mingled with the human spirit of that believer. This truth transcends any earthly church group or worship system. All that does not exist in harmony with this truth is outside of God. The oneness believers have with God is an absolute reality and a supreme truth in the Word of God; it is of supreme importance. It is the essential element in the fulfillment of God’s plan for us. It is the reason Jesus Christ died on the cross.
John 16:7-15 (King James Version) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
Jesus was demonstrating the fullness of the Father to the world when He was manifest in the flesh, ministering on Earth. He spoke of going away (through His crucifixion) saying that it was necessary or expedient that He go so that the “Comforter” would be able to come, take up residence in the redeemed believers, and be the fullness of God in us. This Holy Spirit of God and Jesus, which He has caused to dwell in His redeemed believers is our oneness with Him.
Dear Lord, by your faith working in us, may we live in the oneness we have in you. Lord we take our stand in you against all opposition to this and every adversary. May the power, love, and joy of Your Spirit overwhelm and overtake us. Dear Father saturate us with the blessing of Your continual presence. Let us live in this oneness with God and enjoy this resurrected and mingled-with-God life.
Galatians 2:20 (King James Version) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
I am sorry to all the unbelievers for all that I have not lived according to this oneness I have with Christ. Had I and all the church lived more in this wonderful oneness, it would be much easier for everyone to realize the reality of God. Living in the oneness with Christ causes us to be shining examples of the reality of God to all. When we don’t realize or forget what being born again is, we get stuck in a life of futility. This is it; we become one spirit with God. Then to the extent we live and walk in the spirit, we walk in God.
It is a relationship that is designed to last forever. This relationship is that of a son and a father. You actually will receive the very life and nature of God into your human spirit. Once this happens, you will have the way to live by His Spirit in your spirit, and your very soul may become renewed; that is, His Spirit may be lived out through your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and your will. Your whole life will be revolutionized to be a shining expression of God in you if He is given the place in your life that He desires.
Let’s talk about oneness with God a little bit. What does it really mean? When a person becomes one with God, it is a spiritual thing. God’s Spirit is able to search all things, including the depths of God, and reveal an understanding to us. This is just one aspect of His working in us, but we can see from this that knowledge and understanding are conveyed via the Spirit of God in our human spirit. Though it is conveyed by means of the Spirit, we gain understanding in our soul. The Holy Spirit, mingled and made one with our spirit, becomes the vital link or connection between God’s mind and our mind. This is what happens to all our soul. Our emotions are filled with the emotions of God. Our thoughts and even our will can just be filled with God.
God’s Desire – That Man Take Him In
In the beginning, God desired to be man’s everything, but not without man’s free-will choice. God desired that man would willingly choose Him and see that he was incomplete without God. God wanted man to desire Him and see the value of relationship with Him. God intentionally gave man a free will and wanted him to exercise it. His hope, plan, and intention was that man exercise his free will to receive Him into him and become one with him. God, from the beginning, wanted man to exercise his created, independent, free will to choose Him and take Him in.
God knew man was ignorant, so He gave instructions in the form of a command and a warning: “Eat freely of every tree of the garden including the Tree of Life, but not of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the day you do eat of it, you shall surely die.” This is, in essence, what God said. Had man continued in the garden, taking in his nourishment according to God’s instructions; he would have eventually become a partaker of God’s life and nature. All that God is would have been combined with man. As it is now, having been redeemed through the precious blood of His Son, Jesus, we are positioned again to take in God. All that He is can be ours in His Son, Jesus.
So, the call is to all who would come to the Lord and drink. Jesus has become “the Life-giving Spirit.” A perfect human life, now in resurrection, has become available for us to partake of in the Holy Spirit. God has done this so that He may get into us and become our life in order for us to become one with Him. Let us come before the Lord right now and say from within: “Lord, I open my heart to You that You may fill me with the living water. Wash me and make me thoroughly clean through the precious blood of Jesus. Fill me with Your life, and use me to do Your will. Lord Jesus, be the Tree Of Life to me, and let me eat and be filled with You. Amen!”
Prayer is much more than just asking God for stuff (although that is a pretty cool thing that we can do that too). What we are doing when we pray is we are communing with the almighty creator of the universe. No one can corrupt God and He is not in the business of malicious mischief. He tells us in Matthew 7:7-11 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! From this passage, we get a revelation of some aspects of the nature and general behavior of God. He wants to do good to us and for us and He likes us to ask, seek, and knock. He demonstrates an attitude of a loving, benevolent father who is more than able to give us what we ask for; and that with a mind-set of demonstrating a quality in giving that is above natural, earthly fathers.
I have had many wonderful experiences praying/communing with God. Once I had a season of regular prayer because I had been asked to make a commitment of daily prayer. I went daily to the appointed place for the agreed amount of time (I think it was an hour daily) and opened my heart and mouth to God. I began with praising and giving thanks to God and Jesus for all. I also confessed my sins and prayed regarding the things I had been requested to commit to prayer. I listened as God revealed what he wanted of me in certain areas and things, and He gave me answers concerning the other things I was praying about. By the end of the week I realized that I was so much closer to God that I thought possible. I was hearing Him speak in a regular conversational way. I understood so much more than I had before that because His Spirit was making things so clear and giving me such good understanding of most everything. I realize even now as I’m sharing my testimony that God would really like it if we prayed all the time. If we made an effort to pray as much as we can, we would be so pleased with the results, we would want to pray much more.
Another instance I had asked God to make me sure because I thought He was telling me that he wanted me to quit working for kindly Christian man that needed some help with his business and was paying me decent wages to do some typesetting for him. The reason I thought the Lord wanted me to quit was so that I could go back to my own business (a combined Desk Top Publishing and Computer business). I talked to my wife and she suggested that I pray and make sure it was the Lord’s idea and not just me. I told the Lord that I would appreciate Him making me sure so I wouldn’t make a mistake because I was a little unsure. Before too long my immediate supervisor started being greatly irritating to work under. She began to be very unreasonable, and demanding. Normally this person who was also a Christian was very pleasant to work for and on occasion I had talked with concerning our mutual faith in the Lord. I normally finished my “rush” work before I would take a lunch break which was also their preference because of deadlines. Most days, I wouldn’t even take a Lunch break; I’d just get done as soon as I could and go home early if I could. This day, I had had it with my supervisor’s unreasonable, demanding and irritating attitude and speech. As soon as I was able to, I left my computer, stated in a curt manner, I’m going to lunch.
Outside, in the parking lot, I was fuming. I was so irritated; tears were coming from my eyes. I was leaning on my car praying “God why is she being this way? She used to be so nice. What the heck is going on”? I clearly heard the Lord say “you asked me to make you sure”.
Just then, my main boss, the owner drove up in the parking lot and got out of his car. Coming over to where I was, he asked “what’s going on—Is everything ok”? I said “Lloyd, I think the Lord is telling me that I need to quit here and go back to my own business”. “I just hate to leave you without anyone to do my work”. Lloyd said “well, Bruce, don’t worry about anything, we’ll be ok”. “Why don’t you take the rest of the afternoon off, just pray and make sure you are doing what you need to do”. I said “thank you Lloyd, I feel much better already–I’ll call you later” and left.
I then drove over to a Christian bible/tape ministry to see if I could talk to Annette who, along with her husband Jerry, were good friends. Annette, worked as a counselor as part of her ministry and I thought It would be some help to talk to her about the situation. When I walked in I asked the front desk clerk if I could please speak with Annette; letting her know that I didn’t have an appointment but that we were friends and if she wasn’t too busy I would really like to speak with her. The clerk let me through and as Annette was coming around the corner, I just hadn’t realized how emotional this whole thing was and the tears started to come again. Annette rushed over like a big sister, “Are you alright?” as she put her arm around my shoulder. When I finished explaining everything to Annette, she gave her best and most sincere effort to council me according to what she felt the Lord would have me do.
The most interesting thing happened as she shared her feelings that I should go back and continue to work for my friend Lloyd. Although she was sincere and as true to what she believed the Lord wanted, the more she went that direction, the more sure I was the Lord wanted me to go back to my own business. I believe the inner witness of the Holy Spirit was clearer because of our fellowship in the Spirit. The Lord said “where two or more are gathered in my name I am there in their midst”. So, our praying and talking to each other with our hearts open to the lord made me more able to sense the Holy Spirit’s speaking and directions He had for me.
Prayer is so wonderful and I’m so glad I started thinking more about it and sharing my thoughts. It encourages me to be more mindful of the prayer and fellowship of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
What is your experience regarding fellowship with other brothers or sisters in Christ? Your answer may be as varied as the number of people you have ever had fellowship with. The reason is that each member of Christ is a unique individual with experiences that differ from every other saint in some special way.
Ephesians 3:18-19 (Darby) 18in order that ye may be fully able to apprehend with all the saints what [is] the breadth and length and depth and height; 19and to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge; that ye may be filled [even] to all the fulness of God.
The phrase “with all the saints” is so important to the focus of what God is doing with us. He really means that we need to be open to all saints for the complete experience of Christ. God has gifted each of His children with the Holy Spirit. You can’t be a child of God unless you have received the Holy Spirit and this wonderful gift of eternal life comes through each of His children to build up others in His family. God orchestrates the communion situations and is Himself is the substance of the communion or fellowship. We make ourselves available and participate and he fills that participation with Himself. The intention is through the operation of His Spirit in us God transforms us and conforms us to the image of His Son.
Sometimes you are more of a giver and sometimes you are a receiver. Sometimes you may be both and you may have special experiences, lessons, or manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Through all these and more, we grow in Christ. He uses all these experiences we share with fellow members of His Body to bring us into that place of “The knowledge surpassing love and the fullness of God”.
Proverbs 3:5-8 NASV
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your [c]body
And refreshment to your bones.
Two things are here; 1. Trust in the LORD, 2. Don’t lean on your own understanding and don’t be wise in your own eyes. I’m counting leaning on your own understanding and being wise in your own eyes as one thing because these are interwoven in our personality.
When Jesus was walking as a man on the earth, I know He was not treated fairly and He was punished very unfairly. I read in the Bible He has been raised up and seated at the right hand of God and that it will be manifested that he will rule over all. So, my question to myself is “who do I think I am?”.
I thank God for his word. It always seems to do its work to remove me from the throne and put the true ruler over all in His proper place.
LORD, I set myself again back as by your grace and mercy I am, that is your child and your servant. Thank you for your forgiveness, love and mercy. As your child, and servant I give You praise and thanks for everything you lead me through. I trust You that everything is working together for my good. I love You Father and Jesus. Amen!
Have faith in God
He has blessed you more than you realize
You need the Holy Spirit to make it real
You need to believe in Jesus; that He cleansed and removed
all your sins
Then the Holy Spirit will come alive in you
He will dance and sing and make all things real that the
Lord has done for you
That is His Job, you know, to make all things real that
Jesus has done for you
Have faith in God you His children
Have faith in God you His brethren
Have faith in God you His body
Have faith in God you His bride; His pure and spotless bride
His loved and cherished and tenderly cared for one that is one with Him
Have faith in God