JohnSWilson3 Blog

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.”

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.” Matthew 13:44.

“But seek his kingdom…Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” Luke 12:31a,32,34, 13:18-19.

“God…was pleased to reveal his Son in me…Christ lives in me…I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 1:15-16, 2:20, 4:19, 5:25.

“…God, who tests our hearts…the Word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe…May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts…” 1 Thessalonians 2:4,13, 3:12,13.

“…that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

“…God has been making it grow…God…makes things grow…the Holy Spirit, who is in you…But God has put the body together…you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it…follow the way of love.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, 6:19, 12:24,27, 14:1.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7.

“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…it is God who works in you to will and act in order to fulfill his good purpose…the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Phlippians 1:6, 2:13, 3:8.

“…if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you…his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:10-11.

“…that you may know him better…that you may know…the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe…God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…he might show the incomparable riches of his grace…the boundless riches of Christ…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…” Ephesians 1:17-19, 2:4,5,7, 3:8,16-17.

“…God has chosen to make known…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…in Christ you have been brought to fullness…Christ, who is your life” Colossians 1:27, 2:10, 3:4.

” ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’…See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks…we have a clear conscience…” Hebrews 3:15, 12:25, 13:18.

“God’s work…is by faith. The goal…is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith…take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 1:4,5, 6:19.

Verses from Today’s New International Version.

“…salt of the earth…”
September 29, 2013, 7:43 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes, A Gospel According to Matthew

Today as we shared in the Lord’s meal together with brothers and sisters, I noticed that the crackers that were part of the meal were salty. I remembered Jesus saying to His disciples that “You are the salt of the earth.” I have heard it said that this is in reference to the preserving effect of Christ in believers and that when salt gets in wounds, that it stings, and such is the life of the believer as they share Christ to those who do not Him. While I generally accept that, I think Jesus has something more to express than just keeping us saved and that we’re going to have a rough time around unbelievers. What I share here I believe just touches the surface of what Jesus meant.

Salt is important for the human body in many ways. One specific way is that without salt the human body’s ability to express itself becomes impotent, our entire ability to sense our natural world through our nervous system becomes hindered. Perhaps there is a spiritual application beyond the preserving and stinging effect of being in Christ. Perhaps it is about going forward in knowing Christ more in an experiential way, enhancing our spiritual senses.

In Christ we are new creations, the old is gone, the new has come. As a new creation we have also new senses. In Christ He gives us eyes to see, ears to hear; thirst, taste, touch, and smell only for Him. When Christ is Head in our midst your spiritual sense knows it, when He is not Head your spiritual sense knows it. Christ is the salt of world. It is His life that enhances our spiritual senses to know Him better. And as we know Him better, His salt, His life, is expressed to others, and like Jesus told Paul, “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light.” Our spiritual senses come from our spirit. In Christ they are no longer dead but alive by His Spirit! We can now, with our spirit, sense Him through our conscience and intuition and fellowship with Him. As we hear Him and follow His leading by faith, not considering ourselves, we receive Him as salt and our spiritual senses strengthen and are enhanced and our experience of knowing Christ only gets better.

A brother at the gathering commented that salt when used in food, helps to bring the flavors of the food together. This is another important aspect of Christ as our salt. We really cannot grow in our spiritual senses with the Lord, to hear Him, see Him, taste Him, touch Him, smell Him except through the fitting together of the flavors of the body of Christ. Only Christ our salt can bring balance to all the flavors of the body so that the fullness of Christ is expressed. This only happens when all the brothers and sisters together have Christ as Head of the gathering, where all is unto Him, where each is not considering themselves but one another by faith in love. The beautiful aroma from the flavors of His people mixed together because of the salt of Christ, truly is beyond description, and the saying “taste and see that the Lord is good” becomes a reality.

The Love of the Body of Christ
October 28, 2012, 2:16 am
Filed under: A Gospel According to Matthew

The love of the body of Christ is like a rainbow of many colors. Just as the rainbow has many colors and each from the same light so too the love of the body of Christ looks different by each member but each is an expression of the One life of the Spirit of Christ who lives within them.

If we were to take just the gospel of Matthew and look at how Jesus loved others it could give us a glimpse at how the body of Christ, living organically by Christ, loves others today. But this love is corporate and multifaceted, just like a perfectly formed diamond, each member expressing a beautiful facet of the life of Christ to one another, their family, friends, co-workers, and those they meet along the way. As you read these brief glimpses from the gospel of Matthew think of it as the body of Christ today living by His life, loving by faith in the various circumstances of life:

“Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John…he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him…led by the Spirit…he was hungry…Jesus answered him…he withdrew…Jesus began to preach…was walking beside the Sea…he saw…Jesus called them…teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people…Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man…he was amazed…Jesus came into Peter’s house…He touched her hand…he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick…he got into the boat…Jesus was sleeping…he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves…Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town…Jesus saw their faith…Jesus went on from there, he saw a man…Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him…Jesus got up and went with him…Jesus turned and saw her…Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house…he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up…he touched their eyes…Jesus warned them sternly… Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd…he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns…Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent…Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath…Jesus withdrew from that place…he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him…Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see…Jesus was still talking to the crowd…Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake…he got into a boat and sat in it…he told them many things in parables…he left the crowd and went into the house…When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue…When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place…he had compassion on them and healed their sick…After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone…Jesus reached out his hand and caught him…Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon….Jesus did not answer a word…Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down…He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied…he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan…Jesus then left them and went away….he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees…From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life…Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment…Jesus was the first to speak…He called a little child, whom he placed among them…When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there…Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem…Jesus called them together and said…Jesus stopped and called them…Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him…The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them…he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night…Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry…while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him…Jesus spoke to them again in parables…Jesus had silenced the Sadducees…Jesus left the temple and was walking away…Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives…Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper…When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table…while they were eating, he said…While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples…Then he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them…When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives…he began to be sorrowful and troubled…Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed…They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor…Jesus stood before the governor…Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge…They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him…They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him…they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it…Jesus cried out in a loud voice…when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit…Suddenly Jesus met them…”

This love of the body of Christ can be seen in the other three gospels, the acts, and the letters of the New Testament. Christ is continuing to build His body here and now until His body is fully expressed, where He is seen as Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, Teacher. May we live by Him, loving by faith as He leads us as our Head.

Words on Losing the Soul Life

From the last section of Hebrews 10 I have been led to other passages related to the soul life and God’s desire to express Himself by saving, preserving, obtaining, and possessing our soul life by His Spirit through His body. There is a lot to chew on here and I have been doing so for many weeks.

I have purposefully left much of the passage to help in understanding of the context, but of course like any letter it should also be viewed in the wider context of the letter or teaching given.

After Hebrews sections I have the provided the passages in the Thessalonians and Ephesian letters and then the gospels. I have inserted in the text the original meaning of some of the words from the NASB.

Hebrews 10:

32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.


39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving (possession or obtainment) of the (soul life).

Hebrews 4 (I have capitalized the Divine Word of God):

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the (Word) of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of (soul life) and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Hebrews 6:

9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13 For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.” 15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the (soul life), a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

1 Thessalonians 5:

4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

2 Thessalonians 2:

13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain (obtain) the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

Ephesians 1:

11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Matthew 10:

37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his (soul life) will lose it, and he who has lost his (soul life) for My sake will find it.

40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

Matthew 16:

21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his (soul life) will lose it; but whoever loses his (soul life) for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his (soul life)? Or what will a man give in exchange for his (soul life)? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Mark 8:

31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and *said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his (soul life) will lose it, but whoever loses his (soul life) for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his (soul life)? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his (soul life)? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Luke 9:

21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.”

23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his (soul life) will lose it, but whoever loses his (soul life) for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Luke 17:

28 It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to keep his (soul life) will lose it, and whoever loses his (soul life) will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 [Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”] 37 And answering they *said to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.”

John 12:

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. 23 And Jesus *answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his (soul life) loses it, and he who hates his (soul life) in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

27 “Now My (soul life) has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.

“Do Not Judge.”

I am constantly amazed by how quick we judge the acts of our natural world as either a judgment of God or not a judgment of God against people or a nation of people. Jesus said “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:1-2) The context is about being hypocritical, being a critical person. Jesus did not mince His words with hypocrites, those who lived a false life, a life of wearing a mask. This is not living by the life of Christ but the flesh. In Christ, as we live by His life, by the Spirit, when we are tempted to judge the events or people around us, we should be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)

Our earth is a dynamic one, it is obvious. We see how matter and energy are constantly interacting with one another. We see this in every cycle and process on earth in every field of science. The areas of science such as Geology and Meteorology are constantly on display around us. The motion of the tectonic plates, the resulting volcanoes and earthquakes. The motion of our atmosphere and the resulting changes in weather and the water cycle. They express a world that is constantly changing. As Paul says “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Rom. 8:22) But as we have often seen, these natural aspects of our earth can have tremendous consequences. No one is free from them. As Jesus said, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45) But Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45 is in context of loving our neighbors and loving our enemies in verses 43 and 44.

Are we really manifesting the love of Christ to others, whether our neighbor or our enemy, when we judge them about a matter, such as a natural disaster, that is not ours to judge? Do we realize that the sun rises and the rain is sent on us as well? No one is free from natural disasters. Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to demonstrate the life of Christ by loving our neighbor and/or our enemy. Perhaps it really isn’t a matter of judgment at all but of salvation. Perhaps the judgment is one of testing our faith. Perhaps it is God allowing His creation to help reveal the sons of God. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” If we are living by the life of Christ together, then His life of love will be manifested when the difficult circumstances of life occur. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12)

So why do we judge a people or a nation of people when these “things” occur, saying it is from God? Or why do we judge a people or a nation of people when these “things” occur, saying it is not from God? In either case are we not talking “back to God?” As a teacher I have had a few students talk back to me, judging me without knowledge. Pretty annoying to tell you the truth. So why do we think we should be quick to judge others that when something happens it is of God or not of God? Do we really know? “But who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God?” (Rom. 9:20)

I am reminded of the words that the Lord spoke to Job:

“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Prepare to defend yourself; I will question you, and you will answer me.” (Job 38:2-3) “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:2) “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” (Job 41:11)

So dear brothers and sisters let us not be quick in attempting to judge the acts of our natural world as either a judgment of God or not a judgment of God against people or a nation of people. How do we know that what is occurring is for judgment or for salvation? When natural disasters occur they are opportunities to “do everything in love.” (1 Cor. 16:14) “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn…” (Rom. 12:12-15) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8a) This is the manifestation of the sons of God, this is the expression of the life of Christ in and to and through His body!

Some final thoughts from the apostle James:

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear – not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Otherwise you will be condemned.” (James 5:7-12)

Choosing Not To Use The Word “Leadership” in the Body of Christ.
August 6, 2011, 8:58 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes, A Gospel According to Matthew

This is a response (edited and expanded) to a dear brother related to the usual confusion of added words and mistranslated words in the New Testament that forms the basis of a hierarchical institutionalism in the body of Christ. Thought others might benefit from it. I have written on this a few times, :).

To see the discussion you can go to “Organic Church”:!/groups/8551903965/

I have chosen not to use the word “leadership” in the body of Christ because it automatically creates a clergy-laity divide. Whether we believe it or not, it always does. The word “office,” such as in 1 Timothy, is not in the original language it was added because of institutional bias. The points and your use of words you bring up are points brought up in any institutional church and to add them into a body of Christ learning to live by the headship of Jesus Christ organically is to go back to a form of institutionalism.

Words have meaning. Jesus’ example of washing the disciples feet is in context of “as I have loved you so you must love one another.” Christ Jesus is the real purpose, is the real motivation as we live by His life together, because He is the Head, the Leader, the Source of life together in and to and through one another.

There are “older persons” (mistranslated as elders and often taken as an “office”) in the body who have learned to hear, believe, and follow Jesus, loving one another, and as we see them live by Christ’s life we also can learn to live by the Spirit as well. These “older persons” are brothers and sisters, they are only guides in the body, guides in learning to express Christ together in loving familial relationships. Each member is called to live by the life of Christ, expressing that gift/function in face to face community with other brothers and sisters and expressing His love to family, friends, and co-workers, but it is expressed as a family, brothers and sisters helping each other. As a result Christ Jesus Himself is the real Mentor, the real Discipler, and it is the Spirit who gifts and enables each member to function in the body (Rom 12, 1 Cor 12). Only in this context does each member with the body together grows, and this growth is the fuller expression of the life of Christ.

With Christ as our only Head and Leader, He will lead, guide, and deploy the body as He desires. To make this as “our” objective is to lord it over others whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Hear the words of Jesus: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matt 20:25-28; “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matt 23:8-12.

Institutionalism is very difficult to shake off it seems.

“Do you see all these things?”
July 18, 2011, 6:45 pm
Filed under: A Gospel According to Matthew

I recently had a discussion with a dear sister reference Jesus’ discourse found in Matthew Chapters 24 to 25. Jesus says this two days before the Passover after leaving the city of Jerusalem.

He left the city calling out to Jerusalem saying: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Matthew then writes: “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.'”

I can only guess at how Jesus must have felt in those few moments, a heart torn for His people, a heart desiring His people, but they would not have Him. They received Him not. It could be well said that when Jesus died on the cross He died more from a broken heart than from the nails in His hands and feet. How religion and institutionalism blinds our hearts to the love of Christ. Jerusalem was supposed to be the city of peace, the city where God was found, the place of rest for God’s people but because of religion and institutionalism they did not find Him.

Even the disciples did not see this. They only saw the physical temple and its beauty but failed to see the beauty of their Lord in front of them. Matthew tells us that “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus looked at them with kind eyes and shared from the life of His Father within Him. His first words were: “Watch out that no one deceives you…see to it that you are not alarmed.” Later in the discourse He says: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” He also comments on “…the coming of the Son of Man” and gives four parables that describe how “…you must be ready….” The first contrasts “the faithful and wise servant” with the wicked servant who “beat his fellow servants.” The second is a contrast between five wise virgins and five foolish virgins. The third is a contrast between “good and faithful” servants and a “wicked, lazy servant” in regards the use of their talents. And the fourth a contrast between righteous sheep and cursed goats. The thought that comes to mind is the parables seem to describe the same thing, there are those in Christ who will enter His rest and those in Christ who appear to not do so. Some suggest that the parables describe those who are in Christ and those who are not and the resulting consequences.

I am not sure if the point of the parable is to determine who is who, who are in Christ and those who are not in Christ, but to realize it is important to move forward in Christ, to love, to be ready, to endure, which is a testimony of our life in Christ. If we do not we are not living by the life of Christ but by the flesh and if so we need to question our relationship with Christ. I also notice that in all four parables there is a community involved, we move forward by being in community, we grow in love by being in community, we are made ready by being in community, we endure temptations and sufferings be being in community, and we express love to others through community, the body of Christ, the ekklesia, that is a testimony of our life in Christ.

What a contrast to life in Christ, as Jesus sees it, versus that of the religion and institutionalism that had made seeking and knowing God almost impossible. In the rest of the New Testament we see this same thought: the importance of moving forward, loving one another, being made ready, enduring, and love expressed by the community, the ekklesia, as a testimony of their life in Christ. If we looked at our Old Testament we might also see this as well.

The life of the “old Jerusalem,” the flesh, is really about death and not life, but in Christ Jesus, who is the Life and the Resurrection, He has made a new Jerusalem! It is a life of the same kind that is Christ, it is spiritual life, real life! In Christ we now live by Him and not by our own life, a life of the Spirit. As we hear Him, believe Him, and express Him, we will bear the fruit of His life and we enter His rest! Jesus’ wept because while the people of Israel focused on keeping the Sabbath day, and every other commandment and law, they had forgotten that it wasn’t about keeping the letter of the Law but about the spirit of the Law, it was about love, it was really about Him.

It is my opinion that the four parables mentioned by Jesus in this section are more of a contrast between those who are entering His rest, who live by His life, and those who, while they may be in Christ, have not experienced His rest, they are living by what they do or don’t do. One is living by the Tree of Life the other by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These are the ones who, because of “the craftinesses of the devil” have been deceived and think that our conflict is with our flesh and with people and as a result Christ’s life is but a dim light in a dark world. These are those who think they must control their flesh and the flesh of others through shame, laws, and regulations. These are those who are not focused on relationships but on themselves. Being right in their own eyes is more important than relationships. These are all “things.” As Jesus said: ” ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.'”

Jesus said: “Watch out that no one deceives you…see to it that you are not alarmed……because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved…the coming of the Son of Man…you must be ready.” Jerusalem, the body of Christ is called to be the place of God’s rest. It is a community, a shared life, it’s expression is Christ, “full of grace and truth,” full of love. Let us move forward in Christ, to love, to be ready, to endure, to express Him to others, which is a testimony of our life in Christ. Let us live by the Spirit together, expressing the fullness of Christ together, and enter His rest.