Friday, October 25, 2019

On Earth As It Is In Heaven!

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

Or it could be said something like this, “May your will be done on earth as it is being done right at this very moment in the heavenly realm.” Heaven is a realm - not a place! 

Our comprehension here is strengthened when we understand that the Greek word translated as kingdom is basileia which more properly means rule or realm.  As N.T. Wright says the church has been lulled “into ignoring the real meaning... of ‘heaven’ (which is not a place within our universe at all, but God’s place, intersecting with our world in all sorts of ways). The Christian Celts would call these intersections “thin places” or where heaven comes near to earth.

This truth is the key that will release the church to a fervency of realized expectation. But we must put the key in the door if we expect it to open. Once having opened we will get a vision of a panorama of sovereign design and purpose that will possess our hearts with a relentless grip.

Yet it seems that modern evangelicalism has left the key hanging on the wall. Could it be that there is a fear of losing control if the heavenly realm breaks into our present realities?

The key is revelation - telling God what He has told us to tell Him. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:19 There is a nuance of tense in this translation that is extremely significant. It is not that which we bind or loose on earth that will then be bound or loosed in heaven (the common misconception) - it is that which has already been bound or loosed in heaven that will then be bound or loosed in the earth.

It Is not our will that is ratified in heaven - it is His will that is ratified on the earth. “God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” Hebrews 2:4  Indeed, everything that He has ordained has already been finished from the foundation of the earth (Hebrews 4:3). And thus His church is inexorably drawn into this vortex of sovereign will and design. This is the diligence of the Sabbath rest of God - entering into that which He has already set in motion and will bring to fulfillment.

“Many of us have treated the will of God as if it’s unknown or unknowable… God has not kept his desires secret: He wants the reality of heaven to invade this rebel-torn world, to transform it, to bring it under His headship.” Bill Johnson 

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:13

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Our House Is From Heaven

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven, 2 Corinthians 5:2

Our house - abode - is not in heaven. It is from heaven.

Yet she on earth hath union
with the God the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won:

For the Son, His house was His Father’s house. That is where He was about His Father’s business.  God does not live in a house - His house is the realm of His divine activity. It is not a place - it is a domain. That is, it is without walls. 

And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?" NASB (Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” NKJV) Luke 2:29 

Henry Blackaby has taught the Body of Christ to “look and see what the Father is doing and join Him there.”  When we are about what our Father is doing then we are clothed by His house which is from heaven.

We long to be clothed with His presence which makes us fit for His service - right now! His presence is the place of His sphere of action.

When I receive a call on my mobile from my wife’s mobile phone it comes up “Home.”  That is because, where she is is where my home is. So it is with our Father - when we receive a call from Him that is where our home is.

You didn't want heaven without us
So Jesus, You brought heaven down
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now

John 14:2 is not about some ethereal place in the sweet by and by and certainly not a mansion1 (Who would want one anyway?) - it is about a very real relationship in the here and now. The word is “to abide” and is only used in one other place in the New Testament - "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode (home) with him.” John 14:23 

“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24   Where was He at this very time? In the present Presence of His Father. And that is where He was going to take them - and us - into the present Presence of the Father. 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.  “I will come” is in the present tense - not the future.

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken
formed thee for his own abode;
John Newton 

Not only is our dwelling in Him - but His dwelling is also in us. His house is not made of bricks and mortar - but of lively stones being built up into a spiritual house.  "The spiritual house is the palace of the Great King.” ‘All history is the process of building up a "spiritual palace" out of a regenerate humanity, in order that, in the end, the Father Himself may occupy it.’ Charles Ellicott   

1The KJV word “mansion” is better translated as plenty of room or a great expanse. Some version say “many rooms” but that is also misleading for there are no walls or curtains in the House of God - for the veil has been torn in twain. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The House of Perez - The Unerring Grace of God

"Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the LORD will give you by this young woman." Ruth 4:12

This is the blessing spoken over Boaz by the elders of Israel when he had redeemed Ruth to be his wife. It was so that the bloodline of the tribe of Judah would continue unabated until it produced the Messiah - the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

It is also a witness to the overarching sovereign grace of God in the affairs of men.  The Father’s unswerving intention triumphs every time. “for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.” 1 Samuel 14:6 That is, not by quantity or by quality - but by decree.

We must never equate the Grace of God for a license to continue in sin. Indeed, Paul wrote to Titus: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,” Titus 2:11-12

Yet, God is not constrained to accomplish His purpose by human proclivity. For do you know the back-story of the conception and birth of Perez? Illegitimacy, prostitution, seduction, incest, adultery, lying...  Tamar was Judah’s twice widowed daughter-in-law who posed as a temple prostitute to get him to impregnate her. And she is one of the four mothers listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. 

God will use those whom He chooses for He chooses not because they are choice, but they become choice as a result of His choosing. Election is not based on foreknowledge - foreknowledge is the outcome of election.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23