The Pearl and the Price

Part One – The Pearl

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1: 25-27

For about the last thirty years or so my wife, Mary, and I have been involved with helping Christians in two specific areas: 1.) knowing Christ deeply and living by His life 2.) living by His life within us. The second part of this calling involves an understanding, revelation, and practical outworking of the life of the church of Jesus Christ. We believe that the only way that this can work is by the second part being built and lived by the first part. In other words; the life of the Church must be based upon the members knowing and living by the life of the indwelling Lord.

That which the apostle Paul called “the mystery which has been from the ages” is still a mystery and definitely hidden to many believers in our day! And yet the mystery is the key to understanding something which Paul called “the eternal purpose of God.” The whole purpose for your existence as a believer is to fulfill this eternal purpose of God. But what exactly is that purpose?

Well, it is a many-splendored purpose and can be expressed in many ways. But for our use here (in this post) I will explain it as:

“that the eternal God in Christ might be lived out and expressed through His creation in human beings. This expression is both individual and corporate. And this Christ is lived out through this New Race; the New Adam”

This Pearl (Purpose) is explained and described in many ways throughout the scriptures. But all of these point to Christ and His Church. Just to name a few: the Body of Christ, the House (Temple) of God, the New Jerusalem, the Family of God, the Bride of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the New Man (Humanity), and the Warrior. These are all “descriptors” of the same thing; the Eternal Purpose. However, each of them describes a unique aspect of that purpose.

It is my estimation that the number one reason why believers today don’t place much value on the church (the Pearl) is twofold.

  • They simply don’t have a life-changing revelation of God’s eternal purpose. Some may understand it from merely an intellectual viewpoint. But that will never do! It must be a radical revelation of God’s heart and desire for His Church. This can only be given by the Holy Spirit.
  • But you must earnestly and honestly seek Him for it. What is the one thing that God places higher than all else? What is HIS vision and HIS goal? Most believers have never even asked God these kinds of questions. And to that, He will answer with: “you have not because you ask not.”

If you read our text in Matthew 13:44-46 you will see that both the man and the merchant were seeking the treasure and the pearl. Dear saint (holy one), you first of all must be earnestly seeking God’s eternal purpose before you can find it. You must understand the value of such a treasure/pearl. Actually, the value is beyond estimation. Just think, God sent His only Son to the earth to live, suffer, and die for that purpose!

HOW INCREDIBLY VALUABLE IS THIS PEARL!

There is nothing… I repeat NOTHING more valuable than this.

Also notice with me that this Pearl is hidden. It is buried at the bottom of the ocean inside of an oyster. The fisherman must dive down to the depths of the sea to find one, then must bring it up from out of the depths. Then he must “dive” again into the shell, open it, and dig it out of the shell.

Why would anyone do this? Because they understand the VALUE of the Pearl!

Dear brothers and sisters, the bottom line here is this one question: “How much do you value your Lord Jesus?”

You see, He IS the Pearl of Great Price!

If you truly value Him as your All and your Everything then it wil definitely show up in how you live your life. Is it still your life or have you totally give it to Him?

Now… this question leads us to the next part of this blog post. Stay tuned!

The World System and the Church

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 5:19 

In these passages the word “world” is kosmos in the original GreekThis literally means the “world system”.  It’s very important for us, as believers, to understand that this world that we live in is a system.  That is, there is definitely a mind behind the system.  Actually, the kosmos is made up of many systems.  You could say that the “system” is made up of many “sub-systems”.

For example, in this kosmos there are systems such as: the economic system, the governmental system, the political system, the media system, the military system, and on it goes.  But the most treacherous system for believers is the religious system!  Of course, there are many religions in the world, but we are focusing on the so called “Christian religious system”.  This is what I would call “institutional Christianity” or the “institutional church”.

Some History

Now, of course, this religious system is very ancient.  Actually, it began in the Garden of Eden.  You know, when Adam and Eve first ate of that other tree?  Now, it’s important that we understand that from Satan’s perspective those kids eating from his tree wasn’t just about sin.  It was about control!  He is the usurper who will always (well, not always!) try to gain control over God’s creation.  So… now we have a fallen creation and a fallen humanity.  So now, everything that mankind touches is corrupt because the whole race is corrupt.

A New Adam and a New Race

And we all (hopefully) know the story.

“So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”   1 Co 15:45   

However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.

As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.

As we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

1 Co 15:47-49

Here Paul discusses the two Men.  The first Adam (Man) became a living soul but the last Adam became a life giving Spirit.  And we who are in the last Adam (Christ) now bear the image of the heavenly.

So… now we can see that this is not about going to church, sitting in a pew, and listening to a sermon.  It is not about doing “good” or “religious things”.  It is not about memorizing scripture or “saying” your prayers.  No!  We are not talking about that realm at all.  Instead we are focusing on a whole new and different realm altogether.  It is a New Creation and a New Race.  And that creation is all about the New Man (or Adam).  That is, Jesus Christ Himself.  Not just things about Christ.  Not just things for Christ.  Not just things mentioning Christ.

                                      But Christ Himself!

That is the very Person of Christ.  He is the New Creation.  Those who are part of that New Creation live in and by that New Man who is Christ.  This is totally and utterly different and even directly opposed to the first Adam and his race.  Okay, so now this brings us back to 1 John and the fact that the whole world system (kosmos) lies under the power of the evil one.  And this includes all the “sub-systems” which includes the religious system.  But what exactly is the religious system?  Well, if you have read about church history at all you will know that as early on as the second century the Christian churches began to take on the forms and practices of the world system around them.

The centrality and headship of Jesus Christ were beginning to be replaced by man-made structures and organization.  The Church, who is the Family of God, stopped meeting in homes and looked toward lifeless buildings instead.  This was all instigated by men who were building their “ministries” instead of the kingdom of God.  This gave rise to humanism in the church.

One man or woman ministries became more popular than the Church herself.  Christian “superstars” began mega-churches built around their own ministries and personalities rather than Christ Himself.  The “every member functioning” that we see in the New Testament was almost totally lost.  The believers became spectators of the church “service” on Sunday morning.  If you aren’t the “Pastor” or part of “the staff” then you are simply an attendee and an audience.

Even the “church” buildings were designed and built to be auditoriums where you would only attend and watch the back of the heads of the people in the row in front of you!  Then, you would listen an oration (called a sermon) given by a trained speaker called a “pastor”.  There would also be some music with hymns or praise songs.  Many people I know have told me that the worship is their favorite part of the service because they get to participate.  By singing the songs!

Brothers and sisters, let’s be honest with ourselves and God.  Is this a picture of:

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.

But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent.

For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted

1 Corinthians 14:26-31

Notice the phrases: “each one” and “one by one”

This doesn’t sound like a one-man show to me.

Not even close!

And what about the daily life of the church?  Is the church a loving family that loves to be together and share the life of Christ together?  Or are we too busy for that?  And that’s exactly why the Sunday morning service works so well for us.  There, we don’t actually have to lay down our lives for one another on a daily basis.  Isn’t living the church and being the church better than just going to church for a forty-five minute service?  Of course it’s better… it’s exactly what God designed for us.  It’s better for us, but more importantly, it’s better for Him.  Our God has an eternal purpose to have an expression of Himself on this earth and in this physical realm.  That expression is His church!

The Descriptors

The words or phrases used in the New Testament to describe the church of Jesus Christ are as follows:  Body of Christ, Family of God, Temple of the Holy Spirit, House of God, Bride of Christ, Kingdom of God, One New Man (humanity), New Race, New Creation, Priesthood of All Believers, Christ in You, the Mystery of God, the Eternal Purpose, the Saints (holy ones), His Inheritance, His Masterpiece, His Body, His Fullness, and many others!

Now… let me ask you a very penetrating question:

How in the world could such a group of people be so limited to actually sit in a pew and listen to a sermon on Sunday morning?

Dear brothers and sisters, there is so much more (incredibly more!) to this whole matter of being the church than we have ever imagined!

My wife, Mary and I have been working for the last thirty years to help believers realize their true calling as the Body of Christ.  If you are open to it, we have many resources and co-workers that could possibly help you.  All you have to do is respond to this email.

Here are the resources and contacts to help you:

Milt & Mary Rodriguez:

Website:  http://TheRebuilders.org       Blog:  http://MiltRodriguez.com/

The Rebuilders site has many resources such as articles, posts, audios, books, etc.

Also, here are a few FREE resources:

http://www.therebuilders.org/christ_in_3-DFreeDL.html

Some of our co-workers:

http://3rdrace.org/

http://terriorekklesia.blogspot.com/

http://searchingtogether.org

Aspects Through Angles

Seeing Christ from a Different Point of View

Introduction:

In this post I am sharing something which is very dear to my heart.  In fact, it’s so dear that I am in the process of writing a whole book on the subject!  (But more about that later on in this post.)  Knowing Christ deeply and intimately is the most important aspect of our walk with God.  Therefore, it is no wonder that the enemy of God has gone to great lengths to attempt to block and steal this from us.

The Current Situation

Dear brothers and sisters, please don’t misunderstand me at this point.  I am not making a judgement call here.  I am simply making an observation.

Most believers do not know their Lord in a deep way!  Sad to say that most believers are either steeped in religion, institutionalism, or guilt-driven, duty-motivated religious activity.

Most only know Him in an anemic, pathetically superficial way.  He is not really their All in all but rather a God that you “say your prayers to” and run to when help is needed.  In other words, He is a God of our convenience.

For many believers He is only a God that you ask, ask, and ask some more.  He is kind of like a big Santa Claus in the sky!  You want your “asking” to be answered so you go to a building on Sunday morning, sit in a pew and listen to a sermon.  Then you put something in the offering plate and feel better about yourself because you actually gave something!

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I am here to let you know that there is a much, much better way!  You can actually know this Lord more intimately than your closest friend and even your spouse.  You can actually walk in His presence all throughout your day and (in varying degrees) sense Him and touch Him continuously.  He is one who sticks closer to you than any brother or friend.  In fact, the scriptures tell us that if you have surrendered your life to Him then He has come to live inside of you!  Wow!  You can’t get any closer than that.

So I am asking you, dear reader, to open your heart, mind, and spirit to learn to see Him in (perhaps) a totally new way.

The True Diamond

He is like a great diamond.  As you hold this great jewel in your hand, you begin to notice something that is quite startling.  As you hold it up in your hand and begin to move it around in the light, you will see many different colors depending upon your point of view.

If you learn to view our Lord from many different angels and in many different ways then you will “behold” a Christ much greater than you ever thought possible.  In fact, there are literally endless ways to see Him.  You will discover many “new” aspects of this Christ as you view Him and experience Him in many new ways.

The Major Hindrance

This may sound very wonderful and all, I mean, who wouldn’t want to “behold” this incredible Christ?  But you need to know that there is a problem.  Paul calls it the veil.

Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,
and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.
But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
but whenever a person 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 liberty.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:12-18

Here the veil is referring to the Law of Moses and our own old flesh natures.  In our time we can relate this to the religious (legalistic) nature of mankind and the power of the fallen soul-life.

Many Christians are driven by a sense of duty to God.  They are motivated by what I call the “should” of religion.

“I should get up in the morning to pray”

“I should share Christ with people at work”

“I should go to church on Sunday morning”

“I should read my bible every day”

And on and on it goes…

Many Christians need to be set free from the “shoulds!”

The key to the Christian life is not doing things out of a sense of guilt, or pressure, or duty.  This is not the Christian life!

The Christian life is simply one thing…

You and I living by the Life of Christ within us!

He IS the Christian life.

Now, you may be thinking, “yes, Milt, that’s all well and good but we need to know practically how to abide in this Christ.”

I understand.  However, that would take a whole book to explain.

But, guess what?  I’m writing such a book right now!  It will be titled “Eyes Wide Open” – Learning to see and Experience an Indwelling Christ.  In this book I am going into great detail both spiritually and practically to help believers to behold this wonderful Lord.  The book is broken down into three parts:

  • A life Changing Revelation of Jesus Christ
  • How you can know this Christ deeply and intimately
  • How groups of believers (churches) can know Him and live by His life together.

All of this help is given after over thirty-five years of experience helping believers in this way.

But we need your help!

You can help us get the word out about this unique book.  You can tell your friends, relatives, home groups, bible study groups, etc.

If you would like to be notified when this book is published then all you need to do is send us an email at: milt@therebuilders.org

In the subject line of the email type the words: Eyes Wide Open Book

We will add you to a special email list for those interested.  Even though this unique book probably won’t be available until late 2020 or early 2021, you can still tell others about it.  And we will work on making it available as soon as possible.

*Special Gift! Also, if you add your email to the list, I will send you a FREE copy of my ebook entitled: “Christ in 3-D.”  This ebook will give you a good introduction to seeing a Christ you have never known before.

The Two Races

In a time when the “racial issue” is so prevalent in our society, I would like to present a totally different (and radical) viewpoint.  God’s viewpoint.  So let’s take a brief look at how God thinks about race and racial issues.

The First Race

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness: and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.””  Gen. 1: 26, 28

Of course, in Genesis, chapter one, we see the creation story.  And the epitome of this is the creation of mankind or we could say, the human race.  Out of Adam, God creates Eve, the first woman.  The two became one and the human race begins.

And, of course, we all know the tragic ending and the result of the Fall.  Adam and Eve are banned from the Garden of Eden and must then live a life of hardship.

God’s Viewpoint

Now it’s very important that we “see” and understand (spiritually) how God views this First Race.  He calls Adam the first man:

“So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”  The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”  1 Cor. 15: 45

Adam is the first human created.  Thus, he is the first one in the human race.  All of his descendants make up that race.  This is the first race.  You and I, my friend, are a part of that race.

The First Race Falls

If you read further on in Genesis chapter three, you will discover that this first race in Adam fell.  Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit and that race lived under that curse until our present day.

That was the first race…fallen forever!

The Fruit of that First Race

You don’t need a college degree to look around at this fallen race and see that it has become totally corrupt.  It’s everywhere!  And it’s getting worse all the time.  There is a good reason for this.  As you recall it was the Serpent (Satan) that tempted Eve to take the forbidden fruit.  The moment she partook of that fruit was the moment the first Race gave control over this world to Satan.  That’s why the Apostle John could make this statement:

“We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”  1 John 5: 19

Do you realize what this means?  John is telling us that the whole world system (even those parts that appear to be good!) are fallen and under Satan’s control.  Of course, he is a deceiver and a liar!

However, don’t lose heart my dear friends.

God began a whole New Race!

And He started it using a whole new Adam.  He is referred to as the Last Adam and the Second Man.

“For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.”  1 Corinthians 15:21-25

This is the Man…Christ Jesus!

He is the New Man of the New Race.  This race is those who are from the first Adam’s race but now have been born anew into the second Adam’s race.  And here is a very important and wonderful fact:

The whole New Race is inside of Christ!

And…

Christ is inside of every person in that New Race!

“Christ in you, the hope of glory!”  Colossians 1: 27

Paul tells us that this is a great mystery.  How can Christ live inside of the believer?  By one way only…in the Spirit.

And let’s be clear…the only way that a person enters this New Race is by putting their trust and life into God’s hands by receiving the life of His Son.

So there are only two races on planet earth.  The old race (in Adam) and the new race (in Christ).

The Deception of Many Races

Unfortunately, we have bought into the idea that there are many races on the earth.  Such thinking goes like this: there are whites, blacks, reds, yellows, brown, etc.  But are those designations really individual races?

Not according to many of the expert anthropologists!  Below I have included a very interesting article in Newsweek about this topic.

https://www.newsweek.com/there-is-no-such-thins-race-283123

And there are many more!  In reality these “distinctions” are merely people groups with their own distinctive cultures and features.  But what about the skin color differences and facial distinctions?

Well that’s simple.  Those “distinctions” are merely because of where those people groups live on planet Earth.  But biologically and internally, we are all the same!

Yes, we have different cultures and ethnicity.  But we are all a part of Adam’s race…the human race.

The fact that we have swallowed the “blue pill” regarding different races is why we are so separated and divided!  Yet this is a total deception of the evil one to separate us all from one another.  He is a great divider.

But now down to my main point…

Now, there is a brand New Race!

This race was born into this world about two thousand years ago through the New Adam…Jesus Christ.  If you have received this “Adam” as your Lord and Savior then you are part of this New Race.  And by the way, there are all colors and people groups within this race.  There are no cultural or ethnic divisions with this race.

The Real Battle

The struggle for this New Race is the real battle happening on the Earth today.  And yet the battle has already been won.  Jesus Christ (the New Adam) has already conquered death, sin, the world system, the religious system, and the devil and all his fallen angels.

He has conquered all through his resurrection and lives inside of everyone who is a part of his New Race!

Dear brothers and sisters, it is time to stop focusing on “racial issues.”

There are no racial issues!

There is ONLY the Old Race and the New Race.

The Old Adam and the New Adam.

Jesus Christ and His church is the New Adam.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” (2 Cor. 5: 17)

So, I would like to propose a brand new slogan to spread on the internet:

“A New Slogan for a New Race:  Christ Life Matters!

Let’s go viral with it folks!

Also I would like to send out an invitation to all those that may not have entered the New Race yet.  If you are still stuck in the Old Race and feel frustrated, aimless, hopeless, and bogged down…then I am here to tell you that you no longer need to stay there!  There is hope for you in the New Race!

However, (this is important) you will need to give up your old life in the old race.  You will need to “die” to that race and be “born-again” into the new race of the New Adam.

If you are serious about this then please contact me at: milt@therebuilders.org

It’s a New Day folks!  And I have to tell you that there is no hope for the old race.  In fact, it’s already dead.  It just doesn’t know it yet.

If you would like more information on all this or help in knowing Christ (and His Church) in a much deeper way, please contact me the following ways:

The Rebuilders

Blog

Books

Audios

And here is another great website that will help you from some friends of ours!

3rdRace.org

The True Riches

Once, my wife and I and some friends went to visit Australia to share our precious Lord with some believers in the cities of Perth and Melbourne (Ballarat).  While we were in Ballarat we visited some of the old gold mines left from their gold rush in the 1850s.  Of course, they had a tour and so we took it.  We actually went down under ground into the mines to see what the miners experienced when when they dug for gold.  It absolutely amazed me how much these men had sacrificed with the hopes of “striking it rich” way down there in the mines.  It was definitely not a pleasant situation.  It was dark and cold and many times there would be a collapse of the caves and many would die.  The air was thin and everyone down there was out to make it rich for themselves and their families.  Basically, they sacrificed their very lives in the hopes of finding some gold.  Most of them never did.  Many of them died in the attempt.  Many families up on the surface lost sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers.  And for what?  Some rocks that had some very shiny metal inside!

While I was listening to this story being told by the tour guide I realized something.  People will do all kinds of crazy things to make it rich.  They will even risk their lives to hit the big one.  They will travel all over the world, go to extreme risk and expense to find some hope of making the big time and striking it rich.

But how many will sacrifice their lives for the True riches? 

“This grace was given to me, I being less than the least of all the saints, to preach the gospel of the unsearchable riches of Christ among the nations, and to bring to light all, what is the fellowship of the mystery having been hidden from eternity in God, the One creating all things through Jesus Christ”  (Eph 3:8,9)

Brothers and sisters, I can tell you without any doubt that this “mining” for the true riches of Christ will cost you.  What will it cost, you may ask?  Time?  Money?  Effort?  Family?  Convenience?  Leisure?  No, not at all.  It will not cost you any of those things.  It will only cost you one thing…

YOUR LIFE!

“And He said to all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily. And let him follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life, he will lose it. But whoever loses his life for My sake, this one will save it.”  (Luke 9:23,24)

Read our New Radical Invitation Here

First and Foremost – Part III

Note: This is the third and final part of a three part post.  If you have not read parts 1 and 2 I recommend that you click here.

Fact: It is without a doubt that at no time in history has the church of Jesus Christ expressed more life and power than in the first century.

Question: Why is that?

Some Ideas:

* it was fresh and new

* Jesus was there

* Paul and the apostles were there

* first century people didn’t have all the distractions

* times were simpler then

* persecution kept the church pure

All true…but I believe we have missed the main reason —

Those people laid their lives down for Christ and the Church!

Needed: Men and Women of Vision

The scriptures say that without a vision the people perish. (Prov. 29:18)

In our day there seems to be no lack of believers who have a vision. It seems to be that there are “visions” abounding all over the place in Christian circles today. The question is: what vision do they have? Is it God’s vision? Oh, did you know that God has a vision?

Paul claimed that he received a “heavenly vision” (as he communicated to King Agrippa in Acts 26:12 – 20.)

“While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.” (Acts 26:12-20)

Here we see that Paul said that he was not disobedient to that vision. In other words, this “vision” was the governing fact of his life!

Now let’s take a look at that vision. A few key points regarding the eternal purpose of God to which Paul was called.

  • Paul was persecuting Jesus! (verse 14) How could this be? Paul (Saul) had never met Jesus. yet the voice claimed that Paul had been persecuting Him. Paul was persecuting the church! Do you see how closely the Lord Jesus identifies with his Body? They are one. When you hurt his Body, you hurt him!
  • I think it’s really cool that God gave Paul a heavenly vision by making him blind! Blind to all else but Christ and His Church. And in Acts 9, we see that the Lord called a brother named Ananias to pray for Paul and the first sight Paul had after being blind was a brother; Ananias. Isn’t that beautiful? God could have just sovereignly healed Paul, but instead he sent a member of his Body to lay hands and pray for him. Here again, God is revealing his purpose to Paul.

Brothers and sisters, do you have a heavenly vision; a revelation of God’s eternal purpose? If not, you need to earnestly ask Him for it. And if you have received it, then has it become the governing force in your life? Is this what drives you to do everything you do? Does this vision determine what you do, where you go, and what you think and speak?

If you answered “yes!” to the above questions, then I would like to speak with you about a very special offer I am making. This offer is only for believers who are serious. I mean really serious!

To read about this special opportunity, click  here

First and Foremost – Part II

This is the second installment in this series. If you haven’t read part one, I definitely recommend you do so now.  Click Here

When focusing on Christ and His church becoming first and foremost in our lives, it is imperative that we look at the teachings of Christ on the kingdom of God. This will clearly show us what God is looking for in His people regarding His eternal purpose. Nowhere in the teachings of Christ is this made clearer than in Luke 14 and Luke 9:58 – 62, especially concerning obstacles and distractions to the kingdom (His purpose).

“Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but first permit me to say farewell to those who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”    (Luke 9:57-62)

Let’s take a closer look at those verses.

Verse 57: Notice here with me that someone approaches the Lord Jesus and tells Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” Following Jesus is the key to fulfilling His purpose for your life. The Lord’s purpose is to have a kingdom, a family, a bride, a body, a city that will fully express His person and life. But in order to have this purpose He must have a people who place Him in His proper place, that is Lord and Head and Center of their lives! How can He have a kingdom without being the King (Lord) over His people?

“I will follow you wherever You go…”

That person had no idea what he was saying!

Then Jesus makes it clear with the statement: “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Wow! Do you realize what He was saying? Basically He was telling and asking this would-be follower if he was willing to follow a homeless Lord! Obviously, the conclusion would be that a follower of a homeless Lord would also be homeless.

Dear reader…are you willing to be homeless to follow your Lord? Or is your home something very precious to you that you hold onto with clenched fists?

Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but first permit me to say farewell to those who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”   (Luke 9:59-62)

In these verses the issue is obviously family. This is a biggie! Certainly the “Lord” would not ask us to lay down our family for the kingdom! Would He? Absolutely! That’s what the word “Lord” means: He is First and foremost!

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you ignore your family at all. It doesn’t mean that you love them less. But it does mean that when making decisions for your life and family…Christ and His kingdom (the church) comes first!

“Seek first His kingdom” Matt. 6:33 means exactly that! First in order and priority. In other words: First and Foremost.

But that’s not all…the Lord doesn’t just end there with our homes and families.

“Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat dinner in the kingdom of God!” Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great dinner, and he invited many, and he sent his servant at dinnertime to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, ‘I bought a field, and I must go and see it. I ask you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you, have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'”
(Luke 14:15-20)

Ah! So now the Lord touches upon not only home and family but also business and marriage. The acquisition of possessions, financial security and marriage are all included within this passage. What a thorough Lord we have! He didn’t leave even one stone unturned.

Now some of you may be thinking “well Milt, when the Lord said to seek first the kingdom He was talking about me (individually) seeking God’s will for my life.” And I would have to say that is true, but not completely. Notice He is referring emphatically to a “kingdom,” not just God’s will for you personally. Yes, if you are a believer then you are part of the kingdom of God. But there is so much more to it. What is a “Kingdom”? Is it not a whole civilization of people who live under auspice of a King? It is a society, a corporate people, a city, a government, in fact this particular kingdom is also a new humanity, a new creation, and a new body of people who all live in the life and under the headship of King Jesus!

Brothers and sisters, if these words of our Lord do not get practical in your life then they are powerless to bear fruit for His kingdom. And what a glorious kingdom this is!

And THIS kingdom is to come first and foremost in our decisions, our homes, our families, our jobs, and every aspect of our lives.

But again…I must ask you some searching questions.

* Does this King and His kingdom come first and foremost in your personal life?

* Is this first and foremost in your family, your home, your decisions, and your relationships?

* Is the goal of everything you do geared toward this heavenly kingdom coming to earth as it is in heaven?

* Is this kingdom made practical in your decisions such as who to marry? Where to live? What job to take? How to spend your time?  How to spend your money?

  • Is the Lord speaking to you right now through this blog post?  Or are you making excuses why you cannot comply with the King’s wishes?

May His kingdom come (through you and I) on this earth as it is in heaven.

Please contact us directly if you are serious about God’s eternal purpose and want to know how you can get involved.  The Rebuilders

If you make a comment to this post you will automatically be included in our blog email list and will be notified of every new blog post!

For audio messages on this topic:

http://www.therebuilders.org/audios.html

More resources on this topic:

http://www.therebuilders.org/books.html

Read the next part of this post here.

 

First and Foremost

As I travel around this country (the U.S.) and others helping and planting organic New Testament style churches I have learned many things. One of the questions I have asked is why do organic churches fail? Now of course I first need to define what I mean by “fail”. I’m not just referring to groups that “fall apart” in the sense that they no longer meet. But what about the groups that continue to meet for years and yet are failing to exist for their original purpose?

The Eternal Purpose of God

And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things.” Col. 1:18

This verse, in a nutshell, summarizes the eternal purpose of God. God, the Father, wants all positive things in the universe to find their center in and through His Son, Jesus Christ. That Christ would be the All in all. That He Himself (not just things about Him) would be the First, the Center, the Source, the Life, the Beginning, and the End of all things.

Wow! What an awesome purpose!

The Eternal Plan of God

But how is He going to accomplish this glorious purpose? In other words, what is the “method” by which He will get His purpose? There is only one way. It is in and through His people, the Church. Paul called this a “mystery.”

Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:25-27)

There it is! God’s eternal purpose. The reason for everything.

I don’t know about you but it sounds to me like God has a purpose (goal) and a plan to achieve that goal. He wants to make his Son the Center and Life of all things. That is, the Son Himself, His very Person. And the way (plan or method) is to place that Son into humans. Those humans (the Church) will then express His Life to all creation (visible and invisible).

Now, here is the all important question:

How do you, dear reader, fit into that plan?

Well, if you are a believer then this purpose and plan are your purpose and plan! In fact, it’s the very reason you exist!

Next question: if all this is true, then how does this purpose and plan get lived out in your daily life?

You see it’s very easy to simply declare to yourself and others that your life is first and foremost for God and His purpose. It’s so easy to say that. But does your life practically reflect that statement? When the rubber meets the road is Christ and His Church the first and foremost in your everyday life?

Or are you too busy to make that a practical reality in your life? You see the Christ-life is much more than your personal testimony of faith, your doctrine, your church attendance, or your morality.

It’s about the way you live!

Is Christ and the Church first and foremost? You see the “litmus test” will come out in your daily life. As I stated at the beginning of this post; the number one reason organic churches fail to fulfill God’s purpose is that the people in those churches are just too busy! What are they so busy doing, you may ask? They are going about living out their natural lives. Getting married, building careers, getting an education, raising families, going on vacation, accumulating wealth and material possessions, etc. etc. The lifestyle in this world system (especially in America) is an extremely fast-paced, success driven, high-stress, comfort-driven, self-driven, busyness-driven whirlwind of confusion and pressure. This is for the purpose of taking care of our “needs” (though a lot of wants are usually included). Keeping up with the Jones’s definitely plays a part as well.

But wait…stop everything…

Wasn’t there someone who walked on this planet a while back who claimed that he would take care of all our needs?

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

Just think…the Lord of all things promised you and I that He would take care of all our needs if we would just put His kingdom first! Do you, dear reader, actually believe that He will do that?

In essence He said that if we place His purpose and desire (kingdom) first then He would take care of all those things that we spend so much time, energy, and thought worrying about! He greatly desires a Bride, a House, a Family, a Kingdom, a Civilization where all the citizens are completely centered and focused on the awesome All in all!

But instead most Christians are just too busy!

Dear reader, are You too busy?

Too busy to place His purpose first and to seek after it with all your heart, strength, and mind?

Too busy to make Him first and foremost? Think about it.

If this blog post has touched you in some way then I would love to hear from you. either place a comment or email me privately at: milt@therebuilders.org

If you like this blog post then you will love these resources:

The Gathering a novel by Milt and Mary Rodriguez

The Mystery of God – Christ All in All by Manfred Haller

The Intentionality of God – Part 3

Three Colorful Figures Dance in a Shape of a Heart This is my third and final installment for this series on the “Intentionality of God”.  In this post I am going to get much more practical and to the point for the edification of the saints and the churches.  If you have not already read parts 1 and 2 please do so by clicking here.

So first of all, let me share my initial motivation for writing this series.

There is an erroneous teaching that is currently circulating throughout the following expressions of the church: house church, simple church, missional church, organic church.  All of these forms of church life share one thing in common; they have rejected the so called “institutional” forms of church.  This means the most prevalent church structure that has dominated the western world for the last 17 centuries or so.  I think it will become very clear to you why this erroneous teaching is becoming popular in some of these home churches who have rejected the traditional, institutional systems.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”  (2 Peter 2:1)

I really don’t know what to call this current wave of false teachings.  For the purpose of this blog post I am going to call it: “non-church” or perhaps “random-church”.  Though, of course, the proponents of this teaching would not like that name at all!

From what I can gather, this idea has come from folks who have left the institutional church system and now have rejected ALL structure, ALL planning, ALL leadership, and ALL order altogether.  It is definitely an over reaction to the religious system.  To these folks, church is something that just happens.  You happen to meet a friend at Starbucks who is a believer, you have some fellowship, that is “church”!  You have a “network” of friends in this city and in that other area, and in another part of town, or perhaps at work.  When you happen to be in that section of town you may visit with them … and that’s “church” as well!    It’s a willy-nilly, random, meet-by-chance situation.  There are no scheduled meetings.  Everything is left “up in the air”, or they would say, “by the Spirit”.  I have heard it said: “Well, if we all love Jesus then why do we have to plan, schedule meetings, and so on?”  They will also say things such as: “Why do we need church planters when the church already exists?”  “I’m the church, you’re the church, just be the church!”

Hopefully, this series of blog posts will irrevocably answer these questions.

The statements made above (and the like) reveal a mindset that is completely foreign to the New Testament.  As you read the story of the New Testament (if you are open and honest about it) you will see local churches or bodies of believers that were committed to one another and completely attendable.  In many instances Paul names people in the churches (see Romans 16; Philippians 4:2,22; Colossians 4:4-18; 1 Corinthians 16:15-19).

Now, let’s take a quick look at some clear and concise statements made in the scriptures about the Church of Jesus Christ.  And then, we will test those “images” or types used by God himself.

  • The Church is a Building (temple, house)

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”  (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”  (Ephesians 2:19-22)

So, let’s approach these concepts with “if… then” statements:

If the church is a building… then it would require structure.

It’s very clear from Paul’s statement here (especially in Ephesians 2) that the church is built together as in a physical structure (temple).  Everyone knows that without a purpose, plan (design), and an administration for that plan, you will never be able to build any kind of solid structure!  Notice with me that Paul gets very explicit in using words like “fitted together” and “being built together” to show us God’s intentionality for the church.  He actually “fits” the living stones together and into each other.  This is not some vague “cosmic” idea of church, but rather a very practical building and setting of people together by God!  He actually places the stones into the positions that He wants them.  In another place Paul uses the phrase: “being knit together in love” (Col. 2:2)  Now, I don’t know much about knitting, but I do know that in order to knit a sweater you need to have a pattern (design/plan) and some training on how to execute the pattern so that you end up with something that is both pleasing to the eye and functional (the expression).

How does the idea of “random church” fit into this?

  • The Church is the Body of Christ

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”  (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

“But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”  (1 Corinthians 12:18)

“Which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so adjusted (mingled, harmonized, and subtly proportioned the parts of) the whole body, giving the greater honor and richer endowment to the inferior parts which lack [apparent importance], so that there should be no division or discord or lack of adaptation [of the parts of the body to each other], but the members all alike should have a mutual interest in and care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the parts [share] the suffering; if one member is honored, all the members [share in] the enjoyment of it. Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function].”
(1 Corinthians 12:24-27)

If the church is a body, then it would require structure.

The human body is made up of eleven major organ systems.  These include: circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, nervous, endocrine, immune, integumentary, skeletal, muscle, and reproductive.  And this doesn’t even include microbiology!  What about our 30 billion cells?  What about our DNA?  All of these systems work to do a very specific function and yet all work together to express the person who lives inside.  What an incredible testimony to our intentional God!  And Paul called the Church the Body of Christ!

How does the idea of “random church” fit into this?

  • The Church is the Family of God

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”  (Ephesians 5:25-32)

If the church is a family, then it would require structure.

Obviously in any functional family there are certain requirements for it to meet in order for the family “life” to be expressed.  There needs to be a father and a mother.  They need to produce children.  The parents need to manage the household so that the children are protected, taught, and raised to be decent adults.

“He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.”   (Ephesians 1:9-10)

Did you know that your God has an administration?  He also has a purpose and a plan!  Actually, the administration (or economy) is the working out of His plan or purpose.  The purpose is to sum up all things in Christ!  He is going to do this in and through His Church, His Building, His Body, His Bride, and His Family.

“To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,”
(Ephesians 3:8-11)

The Greek word for “administration” here literally means the economy of a household.

How does the idea of “random church” fit into this?

  • The Church is the Community of God

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  (Genesis 1:26-27)

If the church is a community, then it would require structure.

Mankind was originally created to be a corporate entity.  That is, the image of the community life of God.  God is a community of three Persons who are one.  Each Person is distinct with their own characteristics and roles, but there is only ONE God.  God spoke in the plural when he created man because he wanted man to be, live, and function as many persons who are one.  Of course, we see this exemplified in John chapter 17.  Is there relationship in this community?  Is there structure in this community?  Is there mutual submission and love in this community?  Do the Father, Son, and Spirit meet randomly and without purpose?

Can you image if the community of the Godhead was run like a “random-church”?  Wow!  We would all be in a heap of trouble!

How does the idea of “random church” fit into this?

What About Meetings?

Should we have regularly scheduled meetings of the church?  Is God concerned about the content and expression of our gatherings?  Should we take the time and effort to actually plan before hand for the assembly?  Should we spiritually prepare to bring our portion of Christ? Interestingly enough the word “church” (ekklesia) means the called out assembly.  It was a secular word used for town meetings or assemblies.  In a sense, Jesus told us that he would build his own “town meetings”!  These town meetings happened on a regular basis in the first century and always had a plan and purpose.  They were not random!  Besides that, it absolutely amazes me when I read the amount of detail that Paul goes into when he describes a meeting of the whole church.  Why not read it for yourself right now in 1 Corinthians 14?  He gets into incredible detail about what should happen and what should not happen in a meeting of the saints.  And then there is the clincher line at the end:

“let all things be done decently and in order.”  (1 Corinthians 14:40)

There is an order for every meeting!  Did you know that?  

Yes, God has a purpose, a plan, and an order for every single meeting of the church!

Now here is the BIG question:

How do we find out what His plan is for the church meetings, community life, work, seasons, and so on?

There is only one way…  by seeking Him together!

The Headship of Christ can only be executed by the Body as we find His Mind together!

So we can see that God definitely does have a purpose, plan, design, and detailed execution of that plan for every local church.  However, this requires the members of the Body to all seek God’s will (mind) together and then gather to make decisions according to His mind.

In Conclusion

There are some definite conclusions we can arrive at about “random church” after considering all of the overwhelming evidence in Scripture and in God’s creation.  Our God is definitely a purposeful planning God and the idea of a random church just doesn’t measure up at all to His nature or to His revelation found in the Bible.

In fact, this whole concept that is currently floating around  those who have left the institutional church system is playing right into the hand of God’s enemy!  It actually reeks of the “spirit of the age”.  I would call this spirit and culture the “whatever” culture.  There is no commitment, no responsibility, and no mutual submission.  Just do whatever!  Everyone is just too busy to actually spend the time required to be built together into a close knit community, house, body, bride, and family.  After all, social networks of friends don’t interfere with your busy lifestyle.  You don’t need to invest your life into others, just text them or Facebook them!

In other words:

The random church is a cross-less church!

The work of the cross in the life of believers is circumvented because they never have the opportunity and responsibility of laying down their lives for one another.  And yet it is this very life of the cross that transforms us into spiritual people!  (see the first letter to the carnal Corinthians)  The idea of the random church is actually and totally of the flesh and from the evil one!

Brothers and sisters, can I make it any clearer?

How can our precious Lord ever get His expression with such a loosely-knit and cross-less people?  Where are the believers who are totally sold out to Christ and his eternal purpose?  Where are the “reckless” ones who will throw all caution to the wind and believe God and totally live for Him and His Kingdom?

The Bottom Line

It seems to me that most Christians want to jump from one extreme to another.  First, we adopt hierarchical leadership forms and oppressive structures.  Then, we jump to the other extreme of absolutely no structure, no planning, and then jump onto the random church bandwagon.  When really the answer lies in the truth that our God is an intentional God who has an eternal purpose, and He has a plan and and administrative order to fulfill that plan.  The Church is to be His expression (image) so shouldn’t we also be very purposeful?

But Here is the Key to it All:

That purpose, plan, and administration must all come from His very own Life!!!

The institution is a result of human life.  The random church is a result of human life.

The true Church of Jesus Christ plans and functions only according to His Life.  She executes decisions only by the Life of the Head according to His will.  That only comes as we lose our own lives and come together to find His mind for the Church!

 

And I leave you with an excellent quote from T. Austin-Sparks:

From observation of the maladies which come upon the people of God and bring arrest to His work through them, we have been much impressed with the fact that the violation of a Divine order is the cause of much trouble. If it is true that what God is doing in this age is not just saving individuals as such but in constituting a “Body” and building a “House” by the addition of each saved one, then the right position in each is vital to its perfect functioning and its heavenly order. There is an order, and there is a position for each member. It is not given to us – let us say it with emphasis – it is not given to us to appoint the place or to manipulate into position. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. What we do say is that each member has his or her place and God knows what it is. Under the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit each member should come into that place. If they fail to do so or get into a wrong place, they fail in their essential ministry and upset the effectiveness of the Body.

“God hath set.” Articulation is essential to life. “Unto each is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph. 4:7).

“Having therefore, gifts differing according to grace” (Rom. 12:6).

There are not a few illustrations of dislocation and irregularity in the Scriptures:-

Dathan and Abiram and their company (Numbers 6).
Aaron and Miriam (Numbers 12).
Saul going over the head of Samuel (1 Sam. 13:9).
Uzziah presuming into the priest’s office (2 Chron. 26).

Paul has very much to say on matters of order in the Church, and it is not merely the individual position which is of importance, but the relative factor and element. Independent action is as dangerous as dislocation, it robs of covering and protection and exposes to enemy forces. There is a heavenly order, a spiritual system, and the relationships and ministries of believers are to be upon those spiritual principles and a reflection of that heavenly order.

taken from:  Chapter 4 – The Paralysis of a Spiritual Irregularity

 

 

The Intentionality of God – Part 2

pillar-cloud

This is part 2 of The Intentionality of God blog posts. If you have not read Part 1 I strongly suggest that you do so by going to this page: Intentionality Part 1.  (The link will open a new window so when you are done reading it you can come back to this page.)

In part one of this series I attempted to illustrate the intentional nature of our God by using several examples within the created (physical) universe. Obviously, the creation will reflect some of the aspects of the Creator Himself. As you read this post I am sure you can see how intentional God really is. He doesn’t do anything randomly or by accident. He always has an intention (or purpose), a plan (or administration), and an expression of that purpose, which is the fulfillment of the intention.

As I pointed out in part one, the first creation (of the physical universe) is just called “creation” in the scriptures. However, we see in the New Testament, that God also has a New Creation which was actually a precursor to the first creation.

“remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:12-16)

It is apparent through this passage (and many others) that what God wanted all along was one new man. The word “man” here can also be translated “mankind” or “humanity”. This is the new creation. God wanted a new race that was neither gentile or jew but a whole new creation. But was God still intentional with this new race? Did He have a specific purpose, plan, economy, and goal in mind with this new humanity?

YES!!! Even more so than the first creation. Remember I told you that the whole reason God created the physical universe was to “house” or provide an “environment” for the new creation (or humanity)? If this is true then wouldn’t it stand to reason that the shadows and types we see in the Old Testament would point us to the spiritual reality that we see in the New Testament?

For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)

Here, Paul is telling us in one sentence that God’s whole intention behind creation has to do with the New Creation. Here, he is pointing us to the spiritual reality behind God’s intention not merely the foreshadows we see in the Old Testament. However, those shadows (or types) can reveal to us the spiritual principles behind the New Creation, that is, the Body of Christ!

See Israel according to the flesh! are not those eating the sacrifices in the fellowship of the altar?” (1 Corinthians 10:18)

Here Paul is calling the physical nation of Israel: Israel according to the flesh.

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” (Romans 2:28-29)

Here, Paul reveals that the true Jew is a spiritual reality, not one of the physical, natural nation. So therefore, is it possible to see aspects of God’s intentionality with his new creation in the “shadow” of the natural Jewish nation? I believe that it is. All of the features that we see in the old physical nation of Israel show us spiritual principles and features that apply to the true new Israel, that is, the Church of Jesus Christ!

“Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.” (Galatians 3:16)

Features of the Nation:

Separation

God strictly forbade the intermarriage of the Jewish nation with any other people or nation. The main reason for this was the fact of the “other gods” and the opening up of the door of the spiritual realm concerning those “gods”. God considered this to be “fornication” because his relationship with Israel was one of a spiritual marriage. The nation of Israel was to be separate, they were to be distinct, they were to be wholly for God. This was to preserve the seed!

Cohesion

Because of their natural blood line, the nation of Israel was to be one. They were one (naturally speaking) because they were all natural born descendants of Abraham. They were from that same seed. They were from that one family. Even though they may be scattered all over the earth, yet when you meet them you can tell they are still of one clan, one family, one nation. This is because of the “seed” of Abraham. But remember that Paul tells us that the spiritual reality of Abraham’s seed is Christ! (Gal. 3:16). In the New Testament we see that spiritual seed having one origin, one source, and one life-principle. That is the meaning behind John 17!

A Common Food

Notice with me that Israel in the flesh has a common diet! They all eat the same things at the same time. Their diet is mainly determined by the law of Moses. It is a healthy diet that gives them all strength and vigor. We can see that through the eating of the lamb before leaving Egypt.

As spiritual Israel we all are to eat and drink the same thing… Christ Himself!

“For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)

“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53-58)

The Tabernacle, the offerings, and the priestly functions

Our very intentional God left nothing to chance! He gave them very detailed instructions on how to build and erect the tabernacle. He also gave explicit instructions on how to perform the priestly ministry along with all of the offerings. If you don’t believe me you can read it for yourselves in Exodus through Deuteronomy. God had a purpose, a plan, a design, and an execution. And all of those things speak to us of Jesus Christ and His Church!

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;” (John 5:39)

The Law of Moses

The law given to the nation of Israel in the flesh also speaks of our new life in Christ. It is the same law for all believers, for everyone who is part of the true spiritual Israel. In fact, it is the only way that any of the other features will be expressed in the nation of God’s people. Without this law, the Body of Christ will simply be another social club, “do-gooders”, or “network” of friends. This law is the glue that holds it all together. It’s the source by which all decisions are made. It’s the vehicle by which seasons and directions are determined. It’s the heart pulse of this corporate people.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:2-5)

You see we, as the new humanity, we live under a law as well. It’s not the law of Moses and it’s not written on tablets of stone. Rather, it is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. And it is by His Life within us that we find the mind of Christ to make decisions. And it is by this law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (who lives within us!) that we live our lives individually and corporately.

All of these features (and many more) concerning Israel in the flesh are “pictures” and “shadows” of the Israel of God, the true Israel, the New Humanity, the Church!

“For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:15-16)

In the next blog post (part 3) we will look at the point of all of this intentionality and purpose and how this is practically worked out in the New Testament house of God, the true Israel.

You won’t want to miss this one!

Read Part 3