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Tag: Revelation

Face to Face!

First the Kingdom Part 30: Face to Face

Luke’s record in the “Acts of the Apostles” gives us an exciting portrait of the faith of the earliest Christians. Among the many characteristics of these ordinary people and their extraordinary faith, there is one thing that the apostles in Acts had in common: They had all been with Jesus!

The significance of this cannot be overstated. In fact this entire series on the Kingdom of God ultimately centers on the truth that the Kingdom of God appeared on the earth in the presence of Jesus Himself! No one could come into His presence and not be changed in one way or the other. Those who received Him as their Lord and Messiah were given citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven and an entrance into the family of God!

He began with 12 ordinary men from various walks of life. They lived with Him, listened to Him, watched Him and learned from Him what it meant to be the people of God. His time with them equipped them and educated them more effectively than we could possibly imagine.

The apostle John wonderfully captured this thought in a letter to his fellow believers:

In 1 John 1:1-4 he writes:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life ;  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

And these things we write unto you, that your joy may be full. (KJV)

Yes, the apostles and others in Acts had this one thing in common, they had been with Jesus. Peter, James and John had an additional experience in common, together they saw his glory on the Mount of Transfiguration.

John referred to this when he wrote “we beheld His glory,” and Peter in one of his letters wrote:

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. (NKJV)

(John 1:14-15, 2 Peter 1:16-18)

While Adam hid his face from God, others, like Jabez, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and the prophets, sought his face and were changed.

It might seem that such a meeting with the Creator and Lord of the universe is reserved for a chosen few. However, God has actually revealed through these special messengers that He desires that special relationship with many more!

Abraham is known as the Father of the faithful today. His son Isaac, His grandson Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons were all given the special privilege of inheriting the promises given to Abraham. The 12 sons became 12 tribes and greatly increased in number, but God’s desire to bless them had not diminished. After delivering them from slavery in Egypt he called them to Mount Sinai to hear from Him and to become a kingdom of priests. Even though their fears hindered them from responding, He gave these words for those who did accept the priestly calling to speak over them.

Numbers 6:22-27:

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”‘

“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”  (NKJV)

When I was very young I noticed how it seemed so normal in the Bible for God to speak with Adam and Eve as we talk to each other today. Even after sin entered into the picture and paradise was lost, God still spoke to Noah, then Abraham, then Moses and many others in what seemed to be an audible voice. As time when on, this experience became very rare. It was not because of God’s inability to speak, or in the inability of the people to hear sound.

The distance between God and His people was in their hearts. Their hearts and minds became increasingly darkened by deception, fear, rebellion and disobedience. All they had left were the words written down by Moses and the special messages from the holy prophets which would later be committed to writing. Today we thank God that he has spoken and still speaks to us through these sacred writings. But have we forgotten how to listen to His Voice in the midst?

Jesus came to clear away the haze and confusion, and even to destroy the barrier between God and humanity. His message, His teaching, His patience and love, His miracles all expressed His desire for a face-to-face encounter with us! The grand climax in His suffering on the Cross for our sins, and His marvelous victory over death was the final proof of the great lengths our Lord and Savior would go for a relationship with us.

All that is left is for us to trust and believe in Him and receive the great gift He is offering to us – His very Self!

But alas! Even though every lie that Satan has pressed upon the world has been exposed, the human race continues so often in the same pattern of self-reliance and self-deception. These are the days of gallant battle and overcoming for those who have believed and do know Him. They are constantly tested by the unyielding rejection from the world around them and even from those they dearly love.

That is why John and Peter so firmly testified of what they had seen and heard. That is why they and countless others over the centuries gave their lives as evidence of a faith that could not be destroyed. That is also why Paul prayed for every believer to have a face-to-face encounter with the risen Christ even as he had!

No we are not talking about identical experiences like the transfiguration that Peter, James and John witnessed, or the vision that Paul received on the road to Damascas. But we are talking about the revelation of Jesus Christ!

In Ephesians 1:17-20 Paul prayed:

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (KJV)

It was Paul’s prayer that the believers in Ephesis would know Christ and His work on our behalf more deeply. He knew when their eyes were opened to greater insight into His wisdom that they too would be changed from the inside out! Later, in that same letter he added this prayer:

Ephesians 3:14-19:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (NKJV)

In another letter, Paul wrote of Moses and his face-to-face encounter with God on Mount Sinai. This encounter actually caused his face to glow to the extent the people were afraid to come near him. So he wore a veil over his face for their sake.

Paul used this story as an analogy to describe the situation of his day. He realized that many were reading the words of God in the Bible as it were behind a veil. People were still afraid to meet God in His word because their hearts were stubborn and hardened. Jesus explained that the pure and humble of heart were blessed, for they could truly see God!

Therefor there was hope for one whose heart turns to Jesus Christ. In Him that veil is removed from the mind and Christ can now be seen as the true message of the Bible!

To this day I cannot say that I have heard an audible voice from God, and yet He does speak to me as often as I am willing to listen. He has found my attention often through unpleasant circumstances which caused me to see how foolish I have been at times. He has also reached out to me through the kindness of others. It was always the work of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that Paul believed could open the understanding of his people. Others prayed for me also, and when I was finally willing to humble myself before Christ, He removed that veil that kept me in darkness for so long.

We today can have face-to-face encounters with God in many ways. We can meet Him in quiet moments of prayer and meditation. So often I can see His face as I gather with others who know and love Him. When we gather in His Name, He is in our midst!

The Bible is truly a wonderful place to find His presence, His nature, His power and His wisdom for every day life. This is what Paul meant when he wrote:

2 Corinthian 3:12-18:

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV)

The Hidden Kingdom

The Hidden Kingdom; First the Kingdom, Part 26

Matthew 13:33:
He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three pecks of meal, until it was all leavened.” 
NASB

Matthew 13:44-45:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. 
NASB

Luke 8:9-10:
And His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable might be. And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, in order that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.
NASB

Jesus told His disciples that the kingdom of heaven was a mystery to those who were outside of their intimate community. Many other places in the bible mention the privacy that exists between God and those who love and obey Him.

(Deuteronomy 29:29, Isaiah 25:14, Psalm 91:1, Amos 3:7).

That should be easy for us to understand. Most of us want friendship that goes deeper than a casual relationship. We want the freedom to talk openly to someone with whom we can discuss our joys, concerns, and plans.

Believe it or not, God wants that kind of fellowship with you! He wants to hear what is on your heart and mind, and He wants to share His secrets with you! He loves his entire creation and is always reaching out to all of us so that we might let go of our old, sinful ways and come into the light of His wonderful Kingdom!

It is true that he withholds some things from the outside, unbelieving world for His own reasons, but He also promises that everything will eventually be made known.

All I can say to my audience is that He is after your heart. If you hunger for this kind of fellowship with God, surrender your heart to Him. If you have already done so, open your spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear from Him of the wonders of His Kingdom!

If you are like me, it is easy for you to become distracted by the events of this world, our nation and our neighborhoods. I personally do not see as many people honoring and worshipping God as I would like. In fact, according to the news media, it looks like evil is winning on every hand. Thankfully, I can look to Jesus. I can focus upon Him and continue to run the race that is set before me.

Not only that, but I can receive revelation from His word that enables me to see His Hand at work in the world! Often the Kingdom of God is hidden from plain site, all the while it is working and affecting change all around. Jesus is no longer walking the dusty roads of Judea and sharing His secrets with His select disciples, and yet He has never stopped teaching! His voice is heard in of course the scriptures as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. His voice is also heard in His creation, all around us telling of the glory of God!

Yet one of His most important means of communication is in His people, His body, the Church!

When in fellowshp with others who love Jesus, I actually hear His Voice! Some of that fellowship comes from teachers, writers who expound upon the Bible, but much of it comes from time spent in prayer and communication with ordinary believers who all recognize their need for Him. When I am in their presence I can actually see the leaven of the Kingdom at work, slowly and gradually changing us all into the the very image of Christ!

Together we can explore that hidden treasure that each of us has found in Christ! Together we can continue to encourage one another to hold its greater value! Together we can exhort one another to let every distraction go in order to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness! Then the things that distract us, that worry us are out of the way so God can then supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory!

The important thing is for us to see Christ’s victory in this world. No matter how things look on the outside, we know. we have inside information! His Kingdom may at times be hidden from the world, but not for long! Praise God!

Upon This ROCK!

First the Kingdom, part 15: “Upon this Rock”

When I was a young boy I was taught the basic Bible stories and about Jesus Christ, who came to die for our sins, and rose again for our justification. When I read the Bible for myself I knew the words of Jesus were especially important since they were often printed in red. Our family and our church believed that Jesus is not just a prophet or a good man, but truly God revealing Himself in human form. I took this for granted as well.

When I became a teenager I drifted away from my Christian roots, but felt God calling me back in my early twenties. I returned to the church I attended before only because I knew many of the people there, and about that same time I went to work for an uncle who was also a preacher. One day I said something that startled him. It was something to the effect of what is the big deal about why we believe the way we do about Jesus?

Immediately something came over him, well the Holy Spirit came over him and he began preaching to me right there in the kitchen of the house we were painting! I was dazed as he began from Genesis to Revelation telling about the Person of Christ Who was in the beginning, and created all things! Scripture after scripture rolled off of his tongue for some time and I can tell you that was when I first began to receive the Revelation of Jesus Christ!

From that time on, the Bible opened up to me in a brand new way. I began to see Christ everywhere! Every character and every story seemed to point to and teach me more about Him! How can I explain my experience to people who live in the same time and culture as I have, and who really think as I did then, that they know who Jesus really is? All I can do today is say like a certain blind man in the Gospel of John, “I was blind, but now I see!”

Since that time my life has never been the same. It is wonderful to me to know about the humanity of Jesus. He was born, grew up in a small town, came to be baptized by John, and was anointed by the Holy Spirit to work miracles. Then He submitted to tremendous suffering and humiliation as a man on the cross. Finally He returned from the grave, still in the body of a man, but now a glorified body!

Ultimately He returned to the glory that He had with the Father before time. This is the Jesus that I discovered that day in that kitchen. He is Jesus Christ, the Lord of all! This very Jesus spoke through the prophet Isaiah saying: ”

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first , and I am the last ; and beside me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6)

Hundreds of years later, He appeared to the apostle John saying,;

Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that lived, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:17-18),

And in Revelation 1:8:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty .

There is no Kingdom without the King. Two thousand years ago Jesus brought the announcement that the time for the Kingdom of God had come. It would not be like any other kingdom. It was not a kingdom that could be destroyed by fire, or physical weapons. It was supernatural from the start, but also very real. The King of this Kingdom was the servant of all, and therein was the real source of His power! Yes, He could call fire down from heaven, or 10,000 angels to fight against His enemies. He has that kind of power after all. But His reign is different. It begins in the hearts of individuals.

Even the hardest of hearts have been known to melt in His Presence. There is both an awesomeness and a tenderness about Him. The surrender to His reign is a sweet surrender. It is the only way to find freedom from our fears, our anxieties, and our evil desires. This sweet surrender is also the only way to maintain that freedom. In that freedom is also the authority to overcome the darkness, the bondage of sin and death. His desire is for all of us to know all the privileges of life in the Kingdom of God!

The story of the disciple and apostle Simon Peter has always fascinated and blessed me. Here was a man of the outdoors, a professional fisherman. When his brother Andrew realized that Jesus was the Messiah, he brought Him to Jesus. Immediately Jesus nicknamed him Cephas, from an Aramaic word meaning a stone. Often in the New Testament the Greek form for “rock” is used and he is known as Peter. Shortly after he and his brother Andrew, along with the brothers and fellow fishermen James and John answered the call of Jesus to follow Him.

What do you suppose motivated these men in their commitment to learn from Jesus about the Kingdom of God and to spread the Good News that it had finally come? We know that at least some of them had personal ambitions of importance in the Kingdom. James and John hoped to sit on the right and left hand of Jesus when He came into power. This, no doubt was before they understood the full plan. (Mark 10:35-40).

Peter came to be one of the Lord’s closest companions. Only Peter, James and John were there to witness His transfiguration and conversation with Moses and Elijah. However One of the more publicized events in the life of Peter is found in Matthew 16:13-20:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
NASU

Peter made the bold confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God! The Hebrew prophets had long foretold of a deliver with divine power to rule over Israel and ultimately the world. In Hebrew he would be called the Messiah, meaning “anointed One,” which translated into Greek is “Christos,” and into English as “Christ.” Others had come before and stirred up the hope in many, but this time was different!

Jesus declared that Peter had received a supernatural revelation from heaven. This understanding did not come from human reasoning, but from God. From this passage some people believe that Peter himself is the Rock upon which the Church of Jesus Christ is built. From other New Testament writings, including those of Peter, we know that Jesus is the Rock with a capital R, and the only foundation upon which the Church is built. On the other hand, Peter, along with the other apostles and prophets are stones in that foundation. Important to this foundation is the Revelation of Who Jesus is. Going back to my earlier testimony, it is possible to know intellectually who Jesus his, but the revelation of Him is a supernatural experience like that which these folks had.

Paul, who was not with the original 12, was also blessed. He had his own revelation of the glorified Christ which is recorded in the ninth chapter of the book of Acts. Later, he claimed his apostleship based upon that encounter, saying, “Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” (1 Corinthians 9:1). While the apostles were first in line to know the Lord in this way, they are not to be the last. Paul’s prayer was that ordinary believers would receive from their Heavenly Father the same “spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of Him.” (Ephesians 1:16-23).

This is the foundation upon which The Church of Jesus Christ can exercise Kingdom authority! This is the living Body of Jesus Christ, against which the Gates of Hell cannot stand! Everyone who loves Jesus Christ can know Him better! To know Him IS life eternal! Even the great apostle Paul after all of his missionary accomplishments only wanted to know Him more.

Heavenly Father, place that same hunger in our hearts to know You more, and satisfy that hunger as only You can!

The End of the World?


First the Kingdom, Part 14, The End of the World?

Have you ever heard people say that the Bible contradicts itself? This was a statement that I often heard growing up by those who disliked what the Bible had to say about them! I am forever grateful to God that my mother, her family and her friends had a different view. When I was young I worked with an uncle who knew and loved God and who also loved the Scriptures. He studied the Bible every day and took special interest in the passages that people thought were contradictory. From him I learned the true meaning of many passages and realized that the same Holy Spirit Who inspired every part could not contradict Himself!

Many wonderful and godly individuals over the centuries have also believed that the Bible has a unified message. They have taken the time and resources they had to see how each passage and teaching would fit together into the whole picture. It was Paul who said he had not shunned to declare unto the people the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:27). He had special insights that even his fellow apostle Peter found difficult to understand! (2 Peter 3:16)

Not everyone has the patience or the willingness to learn about the whole counsel of God. It is easy to find a passage that excites us and to ignore others that might bring better balance to our understanding.

For the past 150 years or so, Christians have become more concerned that we are living in the “Last Days” that were spoken of in the Bible. We are more aware of natural disasters, crime, injustice and wars than ever before, due to advances in communication. This can heighten our anxiety and concern for the future and seem to confirm that we are coming to the end of time. But allow me to let you in on a secret. This is nothing new. Many times over the last 2,000 years people have thought the end is near! There have been many great wars, earthquakes, famines, and plagues that have wiped out major populations in the distant past.

There is reason to believe that the Coming of Christ is near, but that can mean different things to different people. In keeping with the belief that the Bible does not contradict itself, I would like to present a different view than what you might have heard about the end. In my previous messages I have not taken a verse here and there, but have shown the consistent goal of God from the beginning. In the midst of judgments and corrections He has continued to demonstrate His love for His creation and his plan to rule it in righteousness, peace and joy through His Son Who gave His life as a sacrifice.

The work of our adversary the devil has tested those who believe in and follow God, but the testing only serves to strengthen us in the end. The forward movement of the Kingdom of God in the earth through men like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, the prophets of the Old and the apostles of the New Testament have resulted in the Gospel and its influence spreading throughout the world today. The bold confession of every born-again Christian is that Jesus Christ is Lord — right now and always!

Jesus and the prophets and apostles have shown us a glorious future in the Kingdom of God. Every Christian is told to pray the Kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done in earth as in heaven. But are these prayers destined to fail? According to some views of Bible prophecy it would seem so. Every view of the end of times is based upon certain passages of scripture. Each version tries to reconcile the passages that seem to disagree. I completely understand and respect the serious scholarship of other views. And yet, I find points of disagreement in most everyone so far that I have studied.

The foundation is that God is sovereign, and that He has a plan that cannot fail. He has painted a clear picture in the scripture of that plan to bless all the families of the earth through Christ, the seed of Abraham. His reign begins in each heart and spreads outward from there, impacting every area of society. In the mean time there is a great battle going on in the spiritual realm. That battle is reflected in the horrible and devastatingly evil actions of those who resist Christ. The enemy knows his time is short and he will intensify his efforts.

This battle is depicted in the figurative, symbolic language in the writings of prophets like Daniel, Ezekiel and John in the Revelation. Jesus Himself made use of dramatic symbolic language to depict the fall of Jerusalem after the people rejected Him. Most of the dire warnings in the New Testament were directed at that generation, but I believe all of us should take seriously every word.

At the same time each word has to fit into the big picture as well. A large area of misunderstanding has come from the older English translations. When Jesus spoke of the end of the world, the Greek word, “Aion,” an age, or period of time was used. The end of the age of the Temple and the sacrificial system was coming to a close. Jesus was the true Lamb that took away the sin of the world! The end of that age fully came after His crucifixion and the sacrificial system ended in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. In a sense, the older translation was correct for that world did come to an end!

Another passage that seems to contradict our optimistic understanding of the Kingdom of God is found in 2 Peter 3:3-13. He begins by warning that scoffers would deny the promise of Christ’s coming. Then he reminds his readers that the world in Noah’s day perished, being overflowed by water. The planet earth, however, was not destroyed! The word “world” in the Greek according to Strong’s dictionary has a broad application:

“kosmos-
orderly arrangement, that is, decoration; by implication, the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally]):”

In fact the planet and the atmosphere were both preserved. Noah’s family was saved by the very water that brought an end to the orderly arrangement of mankind’s evil activities.

Please bear with me here. We are simply attempting to show how the Bible does not contradict itself. Often we encounter highly symbolic language in Biblical prophecy. This appears to be one of those instances. His point is that the Day of the Lord will come! The end of the day of evil is sure! He continues:

2 Peter 3:7:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

The judgment is not against the planet or the sky, but against ungodly men and their habitation! In fact, the delay of His coming is because of the Lord’s long-suffering and desire to see people repent so His creation can be blessed! His desire has always been to save the world! (John 3:16-17)

2 Peter 3:9:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The elements will be burned up, along with the heavens and the earth. If the language here is figurative, then the fire, which is often used to symbolize the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and even God as the consuming fire, could be figurative as well. He could be saying that the elemental principles of this world will be consumed in God’s judgment. Just as in Noah’s day, heaven and earth become made new!

This is a place wherein righteousness fully dwells!

Paul even uses the metaphor of the new creation in relationship to those who are “in Christ.” But are believers physically crucified, killed or destroyed when they become a “New Creation” in Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:17) Of course not!

If the language is not figurative, then much of what we have read before would seem inconsistent.

In Genesis 1:26-28: God was pleased for humanity to bear His image, and blessed them to be fruitful, fill the earth and take dominion over it.

Genesis 3:15: After the fall, God promised that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent, indicating the restoration and triumph of Christ over sin.

Genesis 8:21-9:1: After the great flood, God promised to never again destroy every living thing, and renewed the original blessing to Noah.

Genesis 12:1-3: God called Abram out and promised to bless him, so that all families of the earth would be blessed through him.

Deuteronomy 18:15-18: Moses told of a prophet to come which would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

1 Chronicles 17:1-14: God promised King David that He would raise up his son to reign forever.

God had much to say through the prophets concerning His plan.

Isaiah 7:14: A virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, who would be Emmanuel, God With us.

Isaiah 9:6-7: A Son would be born, who would be called, Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father, His kingdom would reign forever.

Isaiah 53: A man would offer his life for our sins, and yet live to prosper and bear children.

Isaiah 2:2-4: The nations will come to learn of God’s ways and He will put an end to war.

Daniel 2:44-45: In the days of the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of God will be set up and begin to fill the earth.

Mark 1:14-15: Jesus declared the Good News of God to repent for the time of the Kingdom had come.

Matthew 28:18-20: After His resurrection, Jesus claims all authority in heaven and earth, commanding his followers to disciple the nations.

Acts 1:8, 2:4, the disciples are given power by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom to the whole earth.

Acts 28:23-31: Paul takes the message of Jesus and the Kingdom of God to Rome, which later becomes the center of Christianity.

1 Corinthians 12:3, Philippians 2:9-11: The Church confesses Jesus is Lord now and that one day every knee would bow and every tongue would also confess He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Paul the apostle states in Romans 8:16-22 that the whole creation is earnestly waiting for God’s sons to be revealed, and is groaning and travailing in pain in anticipation of its deliverance into the glorious liberty of the children of God. If the language in 2 Peter 3 is not symbolic or figurative, then this groaning to be delivered from the bondage of corruption would be only answered by total destruction!

That would also mean that Christ came in the time foretold to establish His Kingdom on earth only so His subjects would be forced to abandon that which was to be obliterated. In answer to what they have always prayed, this kingdom came to earth but not for long. The meek would inherit a doomed earth. The nations would come up to be taught the ways of the Lord, end all the fighting and then see all the good accomplishments destroyed by a literal fire.

Even the book of the Revelation does not describe the total destruction of the universe. It does describe the defeat of Satan, the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to the earth, and the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Messiah!

With all of our individual biases, there are bound to be mistakes in our interpretation of prophesy. The basic direction that Christ has given His people is not so complicated. We are to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. We are to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord, to shine as lights in the world. We are to live as the salt of the earth, and to pray for our leaders and our governments in order to live peaceably and freely share the Good News.

The knowledge that His success actually awaits us, empowers me personally to fulfill my part in His plan. How about you?

We hope this series on First the Kingdom has been helpful to you. To continue in this study with us, we invite you to “like” and “follow” https://www.facebook.com/livingtruthcom/ or subscribe to our blog on https:livingtruth.com

The Mustard Seed Conspiracy

First the Kingdom, part 10, The Mustard Seed Conspiracy

What we have been discussing in these podcasts is nothing less than the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ over the whole earth. For thousands of years the prophets foretold of His reign. Then from the very beginning of the New Testament, it was announced that the time for His reign had come. Everything Jesus had to say was related to the Kingdom of God. Great crowds of people rallied around His message and to receive the benefits of His healing powers. But most finally rejected Him when He failed to meet their expectations of Him.

A small band of followers stayed with Him and became His closest friends. To them He explained the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, it was real and very near. Yes it would come in power and the glory of God. Yes it would change everything. But only those who would patiently trust and learn from Him would be prepared for it. Only they would have special insight into what form and how it would appear.

In the story of course, it does not appear that the disciples and apostles understood everything perfectly. Their greatest struggle was with how He should die on a cross. After His resurrection, He was able to make things clearer. In fact He took them through the writings of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms and opened their understanding of the scriptures concerning Him. (Luke 24:44-45). This is the work of what Paul called the “spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of Christ.” (Ephesians 1:17-18)

Before His crucifixion, Jesus told them that the Spirit of Truth, Who was with them, would soon be in them. After His resurrection, Jesus explained the Kingdom of God to them even further before He ascended to His throne of authority in Heaven. Soon after, about 120 of them were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, and began with great authority to declare His Lordship to the world! You see, there is intellectual truth, and their is also experiential truth. His Lordship was not academic to them. His Lordship was real and wonderful. The Kingdom did not come unto them from looking at the skies, or observing the political scene! The Kingdom of God was within them, to demonstrate His power in the earth!

Even then they struggled to understand the relationship between the Old Testament or Old Covenant and the New Covenant that Jesus introduced. In time the Holy Spirit would work this out, but they were already on their way in this adventure to “turn the world upside down!”

We have the advantage of hindsight in looking back at what they experienced and what followed. There were times when the Kingdom was so overwhelming that it looked as if paradise would be returning to the whole earth in a matter of weeks or months. Many gladly sold their possessions and freely shared with those in need. The euphoria did not last, however. The comfort of the Holy Spirit would never leave them, but circumstances would often test their faith in the future of God’s people and His Kingdom.

Persecution, famine, and various trials would come on the young church, and yet it continued to grow. over time, the hope for the Kingdom on earth was replaced with contentment to experience it in the next life. It was left to people like Peter and Paul to keep the expectation and the vision of it alive. To them knowing Jesus and that He said His reign had begun was enough.

We live in a time when many have failed to see the long-term the progress of the Kingdom in the earth. The freedom it brought us has long been taken for granted. When modern Christians see the rise of crime, immorality, terrorism, injustice, pornography, addictions and abortion, they become discouraged. All that is left is to await the end. Those of us who continue to look for more of the Kingdom to come, as God’s will is being done in this earth, are ridiculed. They think we are like those who would “polish the brass on a sinking ship,” or those who “rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

It is only by Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that we can see the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is Lord of all right now! He came to reconcile mankind to God two thousand years ago, and began His reign in the heart of a few. Like that grain of wheat or mustard seed He fell to the ground and died. He planted His life in the hearts of His followers and also in the collective consciousness of humanity. The world can never be the same! As evidence of this, we mark time around the world from the approximate date of His birth in Bethlehem! (Mark 4:26-34, John 12:23-25)

The heart of the Kingdom of God is of course the converted sinner, who lives to love and serve Him. But changes in society are also the result of the leaven of the Kingdom of God, leavening the whole loaf. Rome itself eventually bowed to Jesus Christ. The empire imperfectly served Him as did institutional Christianity. In spite of the imperfections, the drive for a better and just society has persisted. We realize that every advance of the Kingdom has been met with great opposition. Some through violence and others through subtle deception.

It has to be either fear or faith. When we consider only the outward appearances we might become overconfident when things go our way, or discouraged when the other side begins to succeed. The key is to stay focused on Christ and the work He is doing. Everywhere great victories are going unnoticed, just as in the days of the Roman Empire. Will we trust in the methods of Jesus, and follow Him to where ever He leads? Or will we assume the methods of the world, force, intimation, putting forth a false image, trying to impress people instead of pleasing God? If a shepherd boy could stand before a giant armed only with a slingshot and the Name of the LORD, Why do we think we need Saul’s armor?

As for me, I will stand with the meek and humble, those who believe that all things are possible with God. They take the Word of God and live in it by His power and grace! They know that the Father will take the hidden things that are pure and faithful to bring down tyrannical kingdoms that exist for their own glory. Next time we will take a closer look at the simple, and yet effective strategy that Christ has always used to extend His Kingdom here on earth.

We hope this series on First the Kingdom has been helpful to you. To continue in this study with us, we invite you to “like” and “follow” https://www.facebook.com/livingtruthcom/ or subscribe to our blog on https://livingtruth.com

Seeing the Kingdom

First The Kingdom, Part 4: Seeing the Kingdom

Our perspective in life can strongly determine the direction we take for many years. We can have either a positive or negative “outlook,” which has little to do with our eyesight. The way we “see” the world around us, and the way we believe things work or should work — that is what we mean when referring to our perspective or our outlook.

My generation came up in a time when common values, goals and outlooks on life were beginning to be questioned. wait, that seems to be true with every generation! The nineteen sixties did, however, set in motion a greater level of doubt and questioning that has greatly expanded in this the 21st Century.

Certainly many ideas, beliefs and practices should be re-examined. Some have always been in error, but others were only right for that particular time. Change is all around, and we must learn to adapt at times. On the other hand, the chaos that change can bring can be unsettling. I for one look for stability in things that have proven the test of time. My greatest source of stability is found in God and in the record of His dealings with humanity found in the Bible. The more I learn about Him and His ways in both my relationship with Him and in my study of His Word, the more peace I find.

In this series I hope to share a perspective, a way of seeing life, purpose, and the reason we all are here. This perspective gives meaning to our existence, and great satisfaction. In the most difficult times I have been able to “stay the course” that was set for me many years ago when Christ first saved me. I admit that at first the journey was shaky. I stumbled many times along the way. It was not until I caught a vision of the magnificent Lordship of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom that everything changed.

In the Bible we find powerful metaphors concerning life. We are on a road or path, moving toward a goal or destination. To see the path we need “light,” or understanding. The wisdom of God not only tells us about our destination, but how to make the best decisions when we find a fork in the road. There is both a destination, and a journey. Like Oddyseus in Greek mythology, we also have a prize at the end or our quest!

Too many of us go from day to day without even knowing why we do what we do. We are driven by various desires. Some of them are virtuous, others are destructive. Some people do not face the results of their decisions until it is too late. Yet we can wrongfully believe that good results mean that we are on the right track. At other times, when we are doing the right thing events seem to turn against us. Is it possible to ever be sure?

Throughout the centuries, the Spirit of God has empowered and illuminated prophets and teachers, parents and leaders with spiritual vision. His Light has given them a vision that sustained them through every kind of struggle in this life. This power belongs to everyone who simply believes in Jesus Christ, and trusts their future with Him!

Proverbs 4:18-19 tell us that:
“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.”

NIV

Can you accept this as your destiny? We who love God and His Truth are on a path of ever increasing brightness!

What I am asking of you who are hearing this or reading this writing, is that you invest some time to seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Become open to the possibility of recieving a greater vision of the Kingdom of God for your life. Consider the passages of scripture I have been sharing and will continue to share. It might just open up a whole new world unto you!

John in his gospel wrote that those who receive Jesus are given by Him the priviledge of being called the children of God. They are born of God! (John 1:12-13) Jesus said that a person who is born from above can see the Kingdom of God. (John 3:3) The key to envisioning a better existence is in receiving the Word of God concerning you! The Word is calling us all to repentance and faith, obedience and trust in what we inherently know to be true.

Our God is good and wonderful beyond our wildest imaginations! He earnestly wants us to know that about Him but our willingness is required. Eternal Life in Christ is something we can begin to experience even now. To know Him IS Life Eternal! (John 17:3) The life that He has in mind includes you but it is bigger than you. Seeing the Kingdom of God is seeing God’s plan, seeing His present reign in your life now and the continuing expansion of His reign throughout all the earth! This is truly an exiting time to be alive! Lord, open up your servant’s eyes to see your wonderful and glorious victory that we might live victoriously in it!

Reigning With Christ

(Original radio broadcast from May 22, 1998)

As history continues to unfold before our very eyes, it is becoming increasingly necessary for those who name the name of Christ to truly know their King. These are days to sit at His feet, and hear His Word! This is a time to look into His glorious Face and behold His glory! These are the days to begin to discern the Lord’s Body, and experience His Lordship TOGETHER!

The Spirit of the Lord is calling out, not just individuals, but a PEOPLE for His Name! These are those who will one day stand up in this earth to fully and openly represent His power and authority to all. In fact, they already represent His authority now — to the degree that they presently know Him as their Lord!

Hear this warning! If we are not acknowledging His Lordship now, we have no reason to expect to reign with Him tomorrow! And if we are not already coming into an intimate union with Him and His Love, we have absolutely NO HOPE of truly knowing the beauty, the majesty, the wonder, the glory, the awesomeness of our Lord Jesus Christ as He already is NOW!

Beloved, my heart is grieved at the years that I have and so many others have wasted, in the preaching of religious doctrines that divide the Body of Christ, when in fact we should have been preaching Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Instead of proclaiming His Lordship, many of us have labored to bring others under our own influence instead! We thought that somehow WE could discourage sin and disobedience, worldliness and selfishness by our own efforts! Instead the pressure of human authority has eventually distanced many poor souls from the marvelous and liberating authority of the only true Christ!

Even though warnings, exhortations, corrections and instructions have their place in the family of God, we must never forget the proper context in which they are exercised! The context is always under the umbrella of our King and His Word!

Ephesians 6:4:  “And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

In all things and at all times, we who dwell in the kingdom of God are under the rule, the care, the security and protection of our King! Therefore, we must come to the place that we are ever conscious of Him

Are you weary of being subject to the power of circumstances and your own human weaknesses! Is there a hunger in you towards the dominion and rule in life that was originally given to Adam? Are you frustrated by the constant evidence that Satan appears to be gaining more ground in your life than Christ Himself?

Listen to me. This is not your inheritance! You are destined to rule and reign with Christ! The privilege of reigning in Life is available to you NOW! (Romans 5:17)

The people that KNOW THEIR GOD shall be strong, and do exploits (Daniel 11:32), but the real key here is in KNOWING OUR GOD!

Yes, we seem to keep coming back to this place again and again, and this we will do as the Lord directs. The great need of the hour is for the people of God to return to Him! It is time to forsake our plans, programs and schemes, and return to our first love! It is time for us all to fall in love with Him over and over and over and over again!

Preachers must preach Jesus Christ — His glory, His Wisdom, His Love, His Lordship, His ultimate triumph over sin and the devil, and His endless reign over this vast universe! He is the key, the alpha and omega, the beginning and ending, the first and the last, He Who was, and is, and is to come — THE ALMIGHTY!

He is the Head of His Body — the Church! In all things He is absolutely preeminent! All things were made by Him and without Him NOTHING was made! He is before all things, and by Him all things consist!

Such a simple truth, but oh how complicated things have become for us! This complicated state of affairs is the work of the serpent, who continually strives to allure us from the simplicity that is found in our intimately knowing Christ. He apparently knows how badly this event alone will impact his kingdom!

But what of the fallen nature of man? What of the disobedience of God’s people? Do not these also prevent the knowledge of the glory of God from sweeping across the land?

Oh how little we regard the power of ONE who simply and truly becomes wholly devoted to Jesus Christ and His Lordship! And how this ONE can impact the lives of so many that remain in darkness!

Do you want to reign with Christ? Do you believe in His ability to work through anyone who surrenders completely to His Love? Can you trust in His willingness to stimulate the growth of that mustard seed of belief that you do possess, and help you to overcome all doubts?

Did He not create you? Can He not heal, restore and use you for His glory? Is He not able to transform you into His image from glory to glory — by the power of His Spirit? Is not His Word alive and at work in you at this very moment — changing and molding and working in you His perfect will?

Praise Him! Declare His goodness! Worship His Name! Behold His glory! Stand and behold the wonderful salvation of your God!

And most importantly, respond unto Him in obedient devotion. Herein is the power to reign with Him revealed.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:15-2:22)

Yes, there is hypocrisy. Yes there is corruption all around, even among those who call themselves Christians. But these are not your concern. You and I are pressing towards the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Our eyes are fixed upon Him. We desire to be vessels of honor, useful to the Master for every good work.

We are fleeing youthful lusts, and following after righteousness, faith, love and peace. Our hearts are joined with those who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart! Together we have hope for the reign of Christ in this earth. And together we expect to see Him in His fullness!

Ephesians 3:14-19:  “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Heavenly Father,

Today we have considered the immensity of your power towards us who believe. We have seen how you have raised us up together, to be seated in heavenly places in Christ. We are overwhelmed at your amazing grace and your infinite Love, by which we have become a new creation.

May everyone of us commit ourselves into your trust, in order that we will walk worthy of this holy vocation, to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, giving pleasure to your great and loving Heart.

In this marvelous union with you, may our lives become living examples of your righteous reign in the earth, to become more than conquerors through your Love!

In Jesus Name,

Amen

The Revelation of Jesus Christ!


For almost as long as I can remember, the “revelation of Jesus Christ,” has often been identified with the end of the world, or some other frightening event. We often hear that we are living in the last days which are foretold in the last book of the Bible, “The Revelation.”

Eventually I learned that the book of Revelation was in fact about the revelation which was first given to Jesus Christ, and in turn given to John who wrote it all down. The things that John recorded has fascinated many for two thousand years, but today I want to talk about the most fascinating subject of all, the revelation that Jesus Christ wants to reveal of Himself to us!

What we call the New Testament in the Bible witnesses to the fact that Jesus Christ came to a number of individuals and made Himself known unto them in a very special way. One of the first instances we read about was with the apostle Peter. One day Jesus was asking his disciples about who the people thought He was. They answered that some thought Jesus might be the reincarnation of John the Baptist, others Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. Then Jesus asked them, “who do YOU say that I am?”

The response is found in Matt 16:16-18:

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.'” (NASU)

Peter had received a revelation. Something was revealed to him or made plain that had previously been hidden. To the multitudes Jesus was someone special, like a prophet or teacher of spiritual and moral things. But God the Father in Heaven had given Peter a gift, that gift was the knowledge that Jesus was more than just a man! He was revealed to Peter to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!

In another instance, Peter, along with the brothers James and John, were given an additional glimpse into the glory of Christ.

The Transfiguration

Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9:27-36 describe this event. Some time after they went up into a high mountain it appeared to them as if His face and clothing became as brilliant as the sun. They were obviously confused and disoriented by this and were even frightened.

“a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matt 17:5 KJV)

Peter, in his second letter to believers wrote about this experience.

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory,

‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’

And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” (2 Peter 1:16-18 KJV)

It would be impossible for us to fully comprehend the impact that simply knowing Jesus had on His disciples, but experiences like witnessing the transfiguration must have been even more life transforming! We are careful to not pit the knowledge of divine truth against supernatural experience, but it would be wise for us to have at least an equal appreciation of both. While many even thousands of hearts have often remained hardened after seeing sensational miracles and the power of God, others have testified to the change that specifically seeing the Lord more clearly had upon them.

Consider the prophet Isaiah, who had already been worshipping and serving God for some time, when a vision of Christ was given to Him. In it he saw the Lord “sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.” He also saw great mysterious winged creators called Seraphim, flying overhead, crying:

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,, The whole earth is full of His glory.”

After that the whole place began to quake and become filled with smoke. Then this holy man began to cry out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!, Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

Amidst this frightful and dramatic scene, Isaiah saw the holiness of God in such a way that revealed his sinfulness, and yet grace was already in the room! One of the seraphim took a burning coal from the alter and placed it upon Isaiah’s lips signifying that God Himself had cleansed him of his sin and iniquity. (Isaiah 6:1-7)

A similar thing happened to another great man in the Bible. God before had testified that he was blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. (Job 1:8). And yet, near the end of the story in the book of Job, he began to see himself in the light of God’s glory and righteousness, saying:

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6 NIV)

The outcome of all that had transpired in this story of Job’s suffering is that He too had a transforming vision of God!

Throughout the Bible we can find, if we look carefully, evidence of lives that were forever changed by an encounter with the Almighty! One most dramatic and that was told several times in the Acts of the apostles, is that of Saul of Tarsus. Here was an arch-enemy of Christianity, a man obsessed with stamping out what he viewed as a heretical movement among his fellow Jews.

While on his journey to persecute the followers of Christ in Damascus, he was stopped in his tracks by Christ Himself. A light from heaven shone all around him as he fell to the ground and heard the voice of Jesus.

Acts 9:4-6:

” ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’

Then the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.'” (NKJV)

Now, blinded by the light for three days he would fast and pray and wait for one of the Christians he was fighting against to come and pray for him. From the time his sight was restored he became one of the most, if not the most powerful witnesses for Christ in all of history!

This experience would be forever embedded in his mind. All his years of training in Judaism could not accomplish what this one meeting with Christ did to set him free. Not only that, but the memory of this encounter with the risen Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit within him would sustain him and empower him for a lifetime of suffering and service in spreading the Gospel over the Mediterranean region!

In the Bible we can read of many others whose lives were changed by divine encounters. Some were more dramatic, others more subtle. How about you? Do you have anything in common with Noah, who received directions from God like no one before him had, or Abraham, who was called to leave his comfort zone? How about Sarah, who after waiting with Abraham many years for their promised son, was later reassured by divine messengers that the time had come? Some were told things by God that they were prompted to tell, others things they had to keep to themselves. What about you?

You might say, we are not living in the Bible days. Times were different then. You might think that visions and visitations are only for special people, but not for ordinary ones like you and me. It is true that Moses and Paul had unusual experiences, but in fact both of them hoped that all would have intimate relationships with Christ. They knew that normal humanity began with God and man walking together as friends.

This was Paul’s prayer and also that of the apostle John.

Ephesians 1:15-18:

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,”

Here he expresses the fact that even believers need to see Christ unveiled!

Eph 1:19-21:

“and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”

We also need a deeper grasp of what He has done on our behalf!

Ephesians 1:22-23:

“And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (NKJ)

Finally we need a revelation of the position and standing we have as His people, His true Church, individually members of His Body in the earth!

The apostles believed that through their sharing His message and their experiences, we too could have a revelation of Jesus Christ!

Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:7-9:

“Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.”(
NIV)

The beloved disciple John penned these words in a letter to believers.

1 John 1:1-4:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”

While we do not have the privilege of their ministries in person, we do have their most important teachings in writing. Not only that, but we have the entire Old Testament and the help of the Holy Spirit, leading us into all truth, so that we too can see Christ in all His glory! All we need is a submissive and believing heart.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul was writing about the New Covenant ministry of the Spirit. He explained that so many missed the message of the holy writings of Moses, David and the prophets. The truth of the person of Christ was hidden to them, as if under a veil. He put forth what had happened to him and everyone else who had this “Veil over their hearts.” When their hearts were turned to the Lord, the veil was removed, enabling them to see Christ in the Scriptures!

Therefore we, whose hearts are humbled and submissive to Him, are able to see Christ, not with our physical eyes, but more importantly through the eyes of our understanding!

Then we all, having the veils over our minds removed, seeing the reflection of His glory in The Word, are transformed into that same image by the supernatural power of His Spirit! (2 Corinthians 3:14-18)

Let’s be honest. To live the life that we desire, to truly follow the example of Jesus is very difficult. Actually in human terms it is impossible. Only by the help and grace of God is it possible at all. He has given us many things to strengthen us and encourage us. First of all the New Birth, by which we become innocent and new in Him. Then He has given us pastors, teachers and fellow believers to encourage us along the way. But if all we see in the church is methods, plans and programs, we can miss the important fact that all things have been provided so that we can increasingly see the glory of Christ and be changed from glory to glory into His image!

As awesome and fantastic as this sounds, the ultimate goal of God in Christ is that WE TOO will be unveiled, revealed to the world with Christ, as His glorious Bride without spot, wrinkle or defect. In another sense we will be known as joint heirs with Christ, sons and daughters of God to share His glory for the blessing of all creation! Not my words but His!
(Ephesians 5:25, Romans 8:-22, 28-30)

Paul writes in Colossians 3:4:

“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” NKJV

And John in 1 John 3:2-3:

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (NKJV)

All we have said here is to both challenge and encourage you. If you are a believer and follower of Christ, you have a marvelous destiny in Him. If you are reading this and desire to be a part, call upon Him, seek out those who know Him and let them pray with you. Christ wants you also, to have a revelation of Him, and to become a revelation of Him as well!

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