What does God want today? (2018-02-17)

What does God want with man today? Although his will is to unify all things in Christ (Eph. 1:9), what does he want from us now? What are we lacking so he does not come back to reap his harvest? We lack the realization of the Spirit. “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor. 13:5) What man lacks today is a realization that Jesus Christ lives in us. We know that God comes into us when we believe, but do we understand why? Do we know what it means to have God living in us? Do we appreciate what happened and is happening in a real and living way? Do we realize this about ourselves, that Jesus Christ is in us? The creator of this universe, the one who was incarnated, who went to the cross, who died for us, who give us the life-giving Spirit, is inside of us. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16) The almighty God lives inside of us! Paul keeps asking us, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” (1 Cor. 6:15) “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” (1 Cor. 6:19) He keeps asking us this to get his point across. We may understand the words, but, somehow, not live it out. We need to realize this about ourselves, that God lives in us. How would our outlook on life change! How would our behaviours change! How would it change what we spent our time on! How would our beings be fundamentally affected! How would we love him so completely. The realization of Jesus Christ in us is made real to us by the Spirit of reality. It is not an understanding. It has to be a reality to fundamentally change us. That is the function of the Spirit in us. That is what the Lord is likely waiting for. He is likely waiting for Christians who realize that God is living in them.

Today, only a “remnant of mankind… seek the Lord” (Acts 15:17) and “know him” (Phil. 3:10) with this intensity. They have surrendered all to him and presented their bodies as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1) to him. They are the remnant who has returned to the true Jerusalem to establish the church by coming to worship God in their spirits. (John 4:20-24) “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth [reality], for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth [reality].” (John 4:23-24) The Father is seeking such people to worship him. These people love God like a bride loves her bridegroom. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35-39) The love of Christ is the inseparable bond between God and us.

Does God have “a people for his possession today”? (1 Pet. 2:9) Is there a people so in love with him? Is there a group of people, “When [they] assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation”? (1 Cor. 14:26) Is his living in us so real that we behave as children of God? Is there a group of people, a church, where he can say, “I know your works… I know that you have little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name…I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance.” (Rev. 3:6-10) Patient endurance is the signature characteristic of love. (1 Cor. 13:4) As such, the church has kept his word with a loving heart, returned to God as “I have loved you.” (Rev. 3:9) Although we should not judge man today (John 3:17) but love all man, we need to have a discerning spirit (1 Cor. 2:10-15). “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10) The Spirit will separate the things that are of God from the things that are not. We “[do] not rejoice in unrighteousness,” (1 Cor. 13:6) only having an extreme sadness for today’s situation, “but [rejoice] with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6), seeking out what our Lord wants. We need to heed the warnings in the Bible. Although Christians who believe are all saved when we believed, this is only the beginning of our journey with Christ. We need to grow in our love and faith in him to full maturity, allowing the Spirit to constrain us (Acts 20:22; 2 Cor. 5:14). He perfects us with his Spirit, breathing it into us through his word (2 Cor. 3:16). So we need to give heed to his word. Of the seven churches in Revelations, only two God had no complaints about. The first referred to the church in persecution, (Rev. 2:8-11) likely reflecting the early church when Christians were martyred for their belief. The second is the church in Philadelphia, a church that “I have loved.” (Rev. 3:9) Even here, there are ones in the church who conquer, whom Christ “will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.” (Rev. 3:12) “I will write on him the name of my God.” (Rev. 3:12) They will be called the same as God because they have the divine nature – they have Christ living in them. They have “the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven.” (Rev. 3:12) They are the remnant that have returned to the true Jerusalem, worshipping God in their spirits (John 4:23-24), building God’s temple in their earthly bodies (1 Cor. 6:29; 2 Cor. 4:7), bringing heaven to earth so they “come down from my God out of heaven” (Rev. 3:12). They have brought the nature of God together with the nature of man, unifying heaven and earth. Because heaven and earth are unified, they are given “my own new name” (Rev. 3:12) as a way to call God’s “new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17) “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17) The many new creations are knitted together (Psa. 139:13), unified as one, to form the one body of Christ. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:13) This body is comprised of Christians who have been born again and have matured in Christ, forming his church. Christ was the firstborn of this new creation (Col. 1:15), forming the Head, and his church, the born-again brothers of Christ, are forming his Body. The saints in maturity are so knitted together that they form one body so Christ and his church has only one new name, “my own new name.” (Rev. 3:12) “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:22-23) Christ lived out through his body becomes the fullness of him who fills all in all. The fullness of God is now expressed in this new creation of Christ and his church. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:13)

 

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