Thursday, March 14, 2013

Children of hell and sons of heaven, part 2

I wrote on Tuesday about the verses in Matthew 23 where Jesus pronounces woes upon the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus said they shut the door of heaven in people's faces and make sons of hell twice as bad as they are. That was part 1: Children of hell and sons of heaven, part 1

Alternately, I got to thinking about the global church. There are those outside the church and those inside the church. I already talked about the children of hell who are outside the church. Let's talk about our brethren inside. The beauty and glory of the church of Jesus Christ, His church, His bride, is unparalleled.

We each live in a civil sphere. Part of it is private (our home) and the rest is public (work, school, hobby, recreation, local church). But often we forget that part of that sphere is not just local, but global. It is the Bride of Christ.

Often, we tend to let our mind shrink the sphere of what we see and experience as church is the local body. That is fine. We are to make a laser-point focused commitment to the lives of our brethren. And in our secondary sphere, work or school, we see and engage with believers there too. We live out the gospel by living out the commands of Jesus as we go through our daily lives. Occasionally we may know people in our third sphere, community, who are believers. The checkout lady at the grocery store, the soccer mom who sets up her chair near yours, the teller at your bank. We may love on them as brethren and see them as part of our local church or near set of believers.

Sometimes we get involved with missions or go to listen to a missionary story. Who doesn't love a good missionary story! I am constantly humbled by their bravery and their commitment, and love to listen to their stories about what God has done in the darkest of places. In those times we briefly think of the believers in other parts of the world but then we go back to thinking about and interacting with local believers.

Should I think of the global church body more often? Yes. I don't mean only the martyrs in the dangerous places or the people we meet on a conference. I mean the regular old people who love Jesus and go to work and go to school and go to church every day elsewhere in all the other parts of the world. They aren't radical and they aren't famous and they just love and worship in their spheres like we do.

Do we forget that we're connected?

I do sometimes. But kind people remind me.

Very loving people think to send an encouraging email. Or a Christmas card. Or sometimes the Lord burdens them and they send a provision through the mail, a gift card or a check. This week someone sent me a gift they made. I was so amazed by this. I really mean it. Amazed.

4 Coasters and 2 cat toys
My ministry is piggy-backed on the gifts the Holy Spirit has delivered to me. (1 Corinthians 12:11). He gave to me the gift of prophecy, discerning of spirits and teaching. (1 Corinthians 12:10, Romans 12:7). So I write, and speak, and write, and speak. I write on the blog and also occasionally within my church. I speak at my church and occasionally at other churches or venues. I am always seeking to make sure the gifts the Spirit distributed to me are used for His glory.

I'm involved in my church and my public sphere is actually very small. Aside from church twice a week, I go to work and I go home. Once a week I go to the grocery store. That's it. The sphere of my ministry in the local public sphere is restricted to the local body. The ministry with the blog is wide, but invisible. I don't see you all on the other end. So though I 'know' there are people out there, certainly, because you comment, lol, it can become easy to forget the global body that I'm part of.

With so much falsity rising in the world that we have to acknowledge and deal with, the Lord is gracious to show that there is also much love, also. When someone sends a note or an email or a present it reminds me so vividly of the common love we share. It is a nudge that we are part of a body, connected. Because it is not just the note or the email or the present, it is the time and energy and thought behind it. Someone out there who loves Jesus spent some time developing love and enacting it. This makes the church body across the world thrum.

What?

I envision the global church as scattered across the earth but connected like the strings of string theory and each one is thrumming with love. These strings that connect us glow with a heavenly glow. The harmonic strings that connect us vibrate with a supernatural quality because it is the Holy Spirit who weaves them.

He is always at work in believers all over the globe. He indwells each believer and helps us in our weakness. He convicts of sin, brings to mind the scriptures, molds our character and produces fruit. He is doing this in every believer all over the earth and this is the church. The church is love because it is part of the body of Christ who is the head, and HE is love.

We, the church, is His bride. And it is all about love. Though the false and evil in the world is rising and attacking the church, His bride is unbesmirched. It is indwelled by Holy Spirit, growing in fruits and surrounded by love. LOVE. We can't see each other all over the place but we are out there. We're beautiful because Jesus imputed His beauty and goodness to us. He is the Head but it is His body.

"For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him," (Ephesians 1:15-17).

"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world." (Romans 1:8)

The faith of the saints and our love for Christ and one another is a glorious thing. We are united, tied with a scarlet thread of Christ's blood which redeemed us. We love each other when we see each other. We love each other even though we don't know each other. We love each other when we don't see each other. The darker the day the brighter our love for each other grows.

"We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing." (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you." (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

Thank you all for being my brethren May our Holy God purify us even further so that we may love Him with all our soul, strength, mind and heart, and love one another as neighbors both near and far.

3 comments:

  1. Surely you don't have your address posted online! That is so unsafe. How else would someone know where to mail a gift? Please be careful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have my address online,you're absolutely right that it is unwise. Our town is so small that a package addressed to me at my town's name gets to me anyway, lol.

      Delete
  2. To me, there is almost nothing in this world that compares with seeing faith live and grow in those I am in contact with. Watching as the Holy Spirit affirms the truth.
    Around fifteen years ago I had the chance to speak with a young man from China. He was here training in a manufacturing facility and to return to China.
    He visited the church we were a part of and after the service I made my way to him to greet him and to ask him about what he had just heard from the pastor's message. He said "It is so hard to really decide who is right, all the world's religions say they are the way and they can't all be right. I said that is true, but all the world's religions have a common thread, it is about man making HIMSELF acceptable to God. Biblical Christianity is different in that it say's man cannot make himself acceptable to God, and that is why God sent his own Son Jesus to do that for us. He blinked and said I never thought of it like that.
    It was after hearing the story of Adam and Eve and about being born a sinner that he made a profession of faith with another gentleman.
    I have never seen or heard from him again but occasionally I think of him and pray for him as he is part of the body of Christ in China.
    We are joined in Christ.

    With all the tools that are available today with technology Elizabeth, your writing is far reaching and the possibilities are endless. Be encouraged and know our God will use all our efforts despite our human frailties.

    ReplyDelete

Lot received so much mercy

Picture by Violet Nesdoly , patterned after “Escape for thy life” by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld The story of Lot is an interesting o...