Monday, 22 October 2018

T The governing congregation

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Part 3)

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By the time that Jesus was born on this earth, the disastrous consequences of sin were painfully visible in the world. The decay had set in everywhere and nothing was in the state that God meant it to be anymore. While reading the Bible, we can read this page after page. The difference between the world that was just created and the world where Jesus was born in was huge. But when you are born into a generation that knows no other world then the one you were born in, you don’t know any better. However, Jesus was not just a man, born into His generation. He knew the difference. He was sent to the earth by the Father, as we can see in what is probably the most known verse of the Bible.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

Until the moment that Jesus was born, this is what sin had caused on this earth and among humanity:

  1. We became disconnected from God, unable to have a direct relationship with Him.
  2. Humanity had to suffer under God’s rejection
  3. A spiritual blindness came upon us
  4. The inability to have dominion over the earth
  5. The inability to rule justly 
  6. Sickness had come into humanity
  7. Death made its appearance 
  8. Punishment was now involved
  9. We were now considered unrighteous
  10. The curses of God became effective
  11. Disobedience caused poverty
  12. Shame had come upon us

I’m sure there are more things, but these are to be considered as the most important consequences that are mentioned in the Bible. There were only two groups of people who were able to avoid most of these consequences, and that were the kings and priests that were appointed by God. These two groups were the only people who could receive the Holy Spirit and have a direct relationship with God. All the other people were not able to do have that. And the biggest problem of it all was that it was irreversible. Once decay sets in, it can’t be reversed. It can only be conserved to delay the decay, but eventually it passes. So in order to bring true restoration, instead of a temporary reprieve, all things needed to be made new. And that is exactly what our precious Savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ, did for us! All the points that are mentioned in the list above were dealt with by the sacrifice He brought for us. The work that Jesus did for us is so incredible and so huge that we would need lots of time and pages to tell all about it, but in this study we focus on the issue of dominion and government. 

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
John 14:6

The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
John 14:10-11

Before He started to share about the authority and the works, Jesus started by pointing out that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Regardless of the position one may have, regardless of money, regardless of power, there is only one Way to the Father: Jesus. Basically He was telling them that there is no shortcut. If you want the Father, you have to deal with Jesus, the Beloved Son of God. 

A short while later He continued by telling them that nothing that He said or did was of Himself. He taught them that every move He made and every Word He spoke originated in heaven, from the Father of all. Jesus was empowered by the Father. The authority He used was the authority of the Father. When He made a move, it was because the Father told Him to move. When He shared a Word, it was because He had heard the Father say it. Until the point of His sacrifice, it was the Father Who had asked Jesus to do it. So in everything Jesus said and did, you can hear and see the Father. 

It is so easy to look at all the signs and wonders that Jesus did, and to totally forget where they originated from. Yes, we give praises and honor to this King of kings and Lord of lords, but it is not only Jesus. The Father is the director of it all. But Jesus is the only Way to that wonderful Director. We can never avoid Jesus, His life or His sacrifice. He is and will always be the only Way. But why can we say that it is not just Jesus? Because Jesus Himself said so when He said that it was and is the Father, Who dwells in Him, Who is doing all the works. So when we talk about Jesus, we are talking about a team. Jesus and the Father, working together as a unity, being a unity. Jesus concluded by saying that if you’re not able to get that, then by all means, believe Him for the sake of the works themselves. 

It is important to understand where the authority of Jesus was coming from. What He did for us was not His Own initiative, although He gladly obeyed His Father. At several places in the Bible the Word says that the earth and the heavens belong to God (Psalm 24:1, Deuteronomy 10:14, 1 Corinthians 10:26 etc.), which points out that the Father is the Ruler of all of it. It was also the Father Who appointed Jesus Christ (which means “Anointed One”) and acknowledged Him as His Son (Matthew 3:13-17). Anointed and appointed was not only what Jesus was by how He was treated, He carries it in His name, it is His identity. There is no greater way to grant power and authority to someone. Name says everything about identity and as we can see in the Bible, God always reveals Himself through His identity, by giving us His names. That makes Jesus God. Appointed, acknowledged, approved by the Father, the Ruler of all. So when Jesus used that authority, it was everything but empty or meaningless. But it even goes further!

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
John 14:12-14

That is a huge step forward, compared with the condition we came from! But it also doesn’t stop here. In order to be able to do the same works, we need authority. His authority. And by receiving His authority, we have the same authority that He used and uses: the authority of the Father. The Bible actually mentions the part where Jesus grants us His authority, and by doing that, the Father’s 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

Not many Christians realize what kind of greatness this is. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Beloved Messiah, restored the possibility to have an intimate and close relationship with the Father again. And because of that restoration, and the authority Jesus gave us, we can now have dominion over the earth again. All the effects of sin were undone by His sacrifice! Many know and believe that the relationship with God was restored by Jesus. But only a few realize that we now have dominion over the earth again. Not as individuals, but as the body of Christ. Whether we use our authority or not, that is a different story. I always say that if we don’t use it, the enemy will abuse it for his purposes. 

The life of Jesus, the agony of Jesus, the torture of Jesus and His dead on the cross, it was all part of the enormous salvation plan of the Father, to bring us back into the state He once created us in. That is including the part of “having dominion over the earth”. But what about the decay? Once the decay sets in, it cannot be reversed. I believe God can, but He does something much better.

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
Revelation 21:5

Everything will be made new. As followers of Jesus Christ we have received a new life and a new spirit. When we finally escape time and are added to eternity, we will also receive a new body. That new body is no subject to decay, since once we have that body, we also have access to the tree of life again. And that is the part where the process of restoration is completed. The difference is that the new body is something that has yet to come. We first have to leave this earth, time and our current body in order to get there. But with the new life and the new spirit it is a different story. Our new life started at the moment that we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Messiah. At that moment there was also a new spirit given to us. That new spirit is connected with God, as it originates from Him. The interesting part is that our new life and new spirit are no subject to time or decay, since they are already part of eternity. They are gifts to us, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And that means that all the authority Jesus had is also available to us, like He said in Luke 10:19. That is here and now. Not for own pleasure, but to have dominion over the earth, power over the enemy and to bring it in alignment with the Word of God. That is the basic task of the congregation. For the sake of the salvation of souls. For the sake of His Kingdom. For the sake of His glory.

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