Being the body of Christ is about becoming us and revealing the testimony of Christ’s life influencing the world from the testimony and power of us. We have to see ourselves as us, not just in the setting of Sunday service but wherever we are in life. I don’t do anything in life as an independent individual. I do it for the purpose of the gate of heaven, the church. This includes my everyday word and even my own natural family. Ephesians chapter 1 reveals that our hope is the calling of Christ and our riches are His inheritance that is in us and the testimony of His power in through us for His glory. It is not our calling, our inheritance, or our power. It is us for His glory, but it is always us in connection with other believers.
Isaiah 2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
The prophet was prophesying concerning God’s heart for the earth in the future. His words were in regard to Judah and Jerusalem. Israel was never intended to be merely a nation. It was a testimony of the day when God would make all tongues, tribes, peoples, and nations a part of the Israel of God. God’s way was never a nation. It has always been a kingdom, but the kingdom of God is an internal kingdom. It is in our hearts. It consumes our lives, so the kingdoms of our lives become testimonies of the kingdom of our Lord and Christ. There are physical expressions in our kingdoms that testify of the internal kingdom of God in our hearts. When Isaiah was prophesying about Judah and Jerusalem, it was for more than these natural realities. He was prophesying to the spiritual reality of what that it is. To understand it, we have to translate the words. The name Judah means praise. It can be a people of praise or the praise of God in the earth. Jerusalem means vision of peace. It is being able to see that there is no separation between men and God. The spiritual reality of these two things is for all people to become the praise of God and for all people to become the community of God that is not separate from Him. The prophet was speaking to humanity in eternity concerning being the praise of God and the community of God in the earth. Praise is something we are. It is not just something we do. When we become fully alive for God’s glory, that is praise. When we become an imitation, a fake, or an actor – that doesn’t praise God. When we become the excellence of who we were meant to be, that praises Him. When we live for Him with all our heart, soul, and strength, that is praise. When we live for ourselves, that is not praise. When we live for Him we find life more abundant because He doesn’t need anything from us. He gives us life, breath and al things. When we give to Him our life, our breath and our things, we discover there is no end to the increase of the life, the breath, and the things He gives to us. We enter into the joy of having a relationship with God who is a giver. We manifest as sons and daughters of God – givers of life. When we are together as the people of God, the church, the gate of heaven, Zion – we become the community of God known as Jerusalem. The prophet was speaking about that Jerusalem and Judah.
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
What are the ways, paths, law, and word of the community of God? It is a community with a justice system of love. This means it is a community that will have to exercise love and demonstrate love for God and one another. It isn’t just a place to be loved, but a place to grow in being able to love. I wonder if we can expect that to be challenging at times? It is a community of diversity. It is diversity that springs out of one Spirit. It isn’t unity through diversity because of the diversity, but unity through diversity because of the strength of One Spirit. It is one tree with many branches. The strength of the tree is not in the branches, it is in the connection of the branches to the one trunk of the tree. There are diversity of expressions, but one family in the family tree of community.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson