Tuesday, 18 September 2018

T The governing congregation

So goes the Congregation, so goes the nation (Part 5)

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As you have read in the previous parts, we are called, chosen, elected, to reign. If you haven’t read the previous parts yet, I want to encourage you to do so, to get a clear understanding why we are called to reign and to understand this study better as well. For those who did read the previous parts, let’s start with a reminder of what Jesus said regarding our authority. 

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Luke 10:19

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mark 16:15-18

Like I’ve mentioned in several other studies as well, the spiritual world runs equally with the natural world. What we see happen in this natural world is what we consider our ‘reality’. However, that is not a reality. It is a reflection of a spiritual reality. Someone once said that the spiritual world is more real than what we see in the natural. I agree. All things are first established in the spirit. When they are established, that reality becomes visible in the natural. We know that God is Spirit and that He moves in the spiritual world, not in the natural visible world. When we would have to describe what that is like, you could compare it a bit with another dimension. That is world is not distant, it is among us. Very real and very effective. Besides that it is among us, it is also (far) above us. It extends from here to the heavenly places. 

When God created the heavens and the earth, He truly was in this part of the spiritual places. When He spoke and created life, He established it in the spiritual world. The result became visible in the natural. That is the only right order. We can’t established anything in the real world that is effective in the spiritual world. When we want it to be effective, we need to think and act spiritually. It is in these places that Jesus Christ gave us authority, like mentioned in Luke 10:19. 

The authority Jesus gave us was given to us on a personal level and on the level as “the Ecclesia”, the governing body of Christ. That means that we also have the responsibility for our nation. In every nation where the Governing Congregation (the followers of Jesus Christ) is established, God will hold us responsible and accountable for everything that happens in the nation. Each one of us will have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ to explain how we used this responsibility. 

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
Luke 12:48

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:10

That is not to be taken lightly. There are souls at stake. We are responsible. When we look at the resistance, as described in the Word, we see a powerless enemy. His aim is to steal, kill and destroy, but God made him powerless. He did so by taking his name and identity away (Ezekiel 28:19). Then how did he became powerful? Where does he gain his power? That would be us. He closely observes us, gives us thoughts and tries to make us sin. 

In the very beginning, Adam and Eve had all authority over the earth. By committing sin, they were no longer in line with God’s Word. By obeying the word of satan, they were in line with his words and subject to him. That’s where he was able to gain legal authority, by legally taking it away from Adam and Eve, because of their sin. It still works the same in these days. Jesus has given us all authority over the enemy. The only way to become subject to him, or to one of his servants, and to lose our authority, is by giving in to sin. But in these days that means something different then in the very beginning. 

In the beginning, obeying God was purely “doing what He says”. So the only thing satan had to do, in order to make men subject to him, was to make them do something that was going against what God said. That’s how easy it was. When Jesus came, He went much further. Deeds alone are no longer enough and they became just a fruit of something more important: the heart. When Jesus said that we have to repent, He did not just mean that we have to change our deeds. It is possible to change your deeds, if you can, while your heart remains unchanged. In God’s eyes you are still a sinner then. Repentance means having a change of heart, changing the way we think. Jesus said that the heart is the place that produces all sins, so that’s where the change needs to be. That means that satan now has to aim for our heart in order to make us sin and to gain authority. 

Doing a sinful deed does not immediately give him power anymore. In those cases we can confess our sins, and we are forgiven by God’s grace. No more place for the devil. But allowing that sinful deed to continue means giving it access to the heart. That does give him authority and legal ground. If we continue in the same sins, we are losing our freedom on that area and the freedom to stop with it. In that case we become bounded by it and satan’s army gains power. Is satan really powerless when he has no areas in our live where he can seduce us to continue to sin? First of all, Jesus has given us authority over the enemy. So yes, he is powerless against us, unless we give him the power. 

Ezekiel 28:19 is a beautiful verse in the Bible, but in almost all translations awfully and wrongly translated. In the English NKJV translation it says “and shall be no more forever”, while the Dutch NBG translations says “disappeared are you – forever!”. What it actually literally says is “and there is no you until eon”. That does not mean “forever”. An eon is not eternity, but a time period. It has a defined beginning and a defined ending, which eternity or “forever” obviously doesn’t have. Does this mean that he will gain his identity and authority again at one point? Yes.  One more time he shall gain authority. In the next eon. 

It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
Revelation 13:7

That shows us what he is to gain soon. But it also shows us what he doesn’t have now! Now let’s turn this verse around to see what we have now, until his time comes and he gains that authority. Then we can read something like this: “It is granted to us (the Ecclesia) to make war with the devil and to overcome him. And authority is given to us over every tribe, tongue and nation.”

The governing congregation has all authority and thus all the ways to reign over our nation and cities. Spiritually that is. It really doesn’t matter who is in charge in politics. It can be the most evil man. When we have victory in the spirit, even that most evil man has no other option then to carry out that victory or to lose his position. That’s why Jesus told us that we should submit to the authorities, even if they make bad decisions. If something is not going well, then change it in the spirit. Do the laws restrict us in serving God? Then change it in the spirit. The natural world has to follow and is subject to the spiritual world. We have that power as the Governing Congregation. We can change our nation. 

The governing congregation, the Ecclesia, is not only limited to this earth. When we look at the bigger picture, we see one Ecclesia, partly established on earth, partly established in heaven. In this scenario we can also see that the spiritual runs parallel to the natural. Both the congregation on earth and the congregation in heaven are the same congregation, the same body of Christ. All together we are one. Even more, we are not separated, we are even connected. The next verses are pointing to the Ecclesia and to the fact that we are connected and one. I have changed it partly from Church to Ecclesia, where it actually says ecclesia. 

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the universal convocation and to the ecclesia of the ones who went before us (or firstborn) who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Hebrews 12:22-24

The authority is huge and it is available to us. Like I’ve mentioned before, there is a way to lose that authority and that is by committing sin, when we allow it to continue and to have access to our hearts. We are to use our authority to bring everything in alignment with the Word of God, from our own lives to our nations. All the areas in between are our responsibility. If we don’t use our authority, we are not doing the will of the Father. In that case we are no longer in alignment with the Word of God. At that point satan takes over. He does not waste an opportunity to gain power. Since the Ecclesia is both spiritual and natural, failure to take authority in the natural has an impact on both ends.  That is why satan starts in the congregations and it is why God’s judgment starts in the Congregation, before He continues with anything else. 

Let me give an example. If we allow a sin in the congregation (not doing anything about it is exactly the same as allowing it), then we also allow that sin (and the power we gave it) in the areas for which we are responsible, from our cities to our nations. The fruits we see happen in our nations are an exact copy of the fruits of the congregation in our nation. In our nation we can see a lot sins that are allowed under the banner of “tolerance”, which is directly in contrast to the Word of God. It is not our nation that is to blame. It is the congregation in our nation that has the blame. To God, they are responsible and each member of the congregation has to answer for that, before the judgment seat of Christ. An example of this can be found in Hosea 4, where also the cause is mentioned. 

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. “The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity. And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds.
Hosea 4:6

What does the world do? “They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity”. The only reason why sin can spread, is because the Congregation did nothing about it. Then the Bible says that “it shall be: like people, like priest.” From that moment the fruits of the congregation are equal to the fruits of that nation. The congregation did not (always) caused the sin, but they did allow it by doing nothing about it. The fruit is clear: So goes the Congregation, so goes the nation, and the other way around. 

Sometimes I hear people brag about “the great things we do as a congregation”. I have learned first to look at the fruits in the nation. And when I look at my own nation, The Netherlands, I can only see heartless fruits. The nation has no respect for life. No compassion for the homeless, the widows and the orphans. In fact they are evicted from their homes and their children are robbed away because of it. People who make mistakes and commit sins are branded for life, there is no mercy. Sure there are some lovely people in our nation who actually try to change all of that by showing compassion and grace, but the fact that these fruits are still so clearly visible, tells us that they are a minority within the congregation. 

I have always thought that this was a bit undue, but then I started to hear a lot of testimonies and I realized that it is actually happening all around us. I found that shocking. My naïf and “believing that people have some good in their selves” attitude was crushed.  We are to blame. We are responsible. Maybe you are one of the people who do have compassion and grace. Thank God for you! And thank you for allowing God to work in your heart. But the congregation, the Ecclesia, is one. If the majority is ignorant for the hurt, grief and need of people around them, we are all to blame. And if they don’t understand these principles yet, we have to carry it out for them. We have to confess the sins of the congregation and the nation before the throne of God. We have to carry out the example Jesus gave us, by taking responsibility and by taking the blame, acknowledging the sins of the congregation and the nation. We have to humble ourselves and cry out to God on behalf of our congregation and nation.

The righteousness of God will be restored. The law of God shall prevail. There are only two options that can make that happen. By the judgment of God or by the grace of God. And we know that grace only comes when sins are humbly confessed. If nobody does that on behalf of our congregation and nation, there is only one alternative left, and that is that the judgment of God will come over us. That judgment will start in the congregation. We have the knowledge and the power to avoid that. 

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Notice that God only talks about His people who are called by His name. It is not the nation who is responsible. The Governing Congregation, the Ecclesia, carries the responsibility of its own fate and the fate of the nation. The question is: how will we respond?

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