CLARK E. WADE's picture

Ephesians 2:13 says this:

"But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were so far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ have been BROUGHT NEAR."

What are the implications for this as believers right "now" as the passage states, to live in nearness to Him Who so loved us and gave Himself for us? If He really does live 'in' us, which doesn't get any 'nearer' than that, how can we live 'in' Him who lives 'in' us? I think it would be a good thing to prayerfully reflect on some passages which I don't think we have understood very well, let alone actually attempted to practice, as obviously the early church did. They knew an indwelling Lord! He was the central focus of their lives together, in community, and I think we are going to see that in these passages in new and unexpected ways.

Some of the passages that speak of this immense privilege of entering into the joy of the Lord in the land of the living are Hebrews 10:19-25; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18,4:6-7; and I Peter 3:15.

Our precious Heavenly Father. Oh how we love You and thank you for placing us in Christ, in whom are all heavenly things, and then placing Christ in us. We pray that Father, you will open first our ears to hear just how glorious is this gospel of Jesus Christ to us and in us. And then in our hearing Father, may you then open our eyes to see this utter blessedness in which You have granted to us in placing Christ in us as our indwelling Lord, Savior, Teacher, Friend and soon-coming King! The world is famishing not because they haven't heard our doctrine, but because they haven't seen our Lord in us, together, as Your community expressing Him in Spirit and in Truth. Oh Father, when Christ is truly living in us, we become living epistles. If the world can't 'read' Christ in us, we perish as Your church! Oh our great and glorious God, let us know Him, who lives so near! The glory of God was in this place and we knew it not. Plant in us ears to hear and eyes to see. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

ladyhoffman's picture

Who is at the Center?

S-"For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility."
(Ephesians 2:14-16; also Colossians 1:19-20).

O-I am quietly reflecting upon all I have taken in this last week. It is all about Christ filling us up, actually living in us and giving us His glory. The end of this statement is to Make Peace. I, like many of you, have taken a long time to get to the place of understanding that Christ lives in me everyday and by Him alone there is Peace.

The head knowledge, the scripture references, the years of Bible study, praying, desiring to make God the center were all present but the infusion of my Lord into my inner being was not. As I read about the problems within the church, I am left without answers as to what has happened over the years to have diluted the message within me for my own life still contained many selfish desires. I am at a new point in my faith. I now understand that I had to see my selfishness and pride because God's work of refinement takes time and must be understood. He is me sanctifying me more and more. He alone knows where I have come from and what I need in order to worship Him without creating divisions in the assembly.

My desire is to love Him more and even though it has been my consistent desire, the growing up in Him has taken many years. He has brought me to this place of understanding His mystery now, through His Spirit, that teaches men the deeper things of God. All of my consistent study, praying, writing and professing did not bring me here sooner. I often wonder why it has been so long in coming and yet I trust God knows the reasons.

Can I hold the church responsible? Should I hold myself accountable for my inability to have understood? The answers have not come to me yet. When I look at the different churches I have been a member of I remember why I left each time. I was more immature and selfish than I am now. Jesus is my life and my all. He alone is my first love therefore I want to be careful not to dishonor His Name. I think much about the reality I might communicate to others through actions that are not grounded in Him for I do not want to become as those Jesus speaks about in the following verse:

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" (Matthew 15:8)

My immaturity has caused me to focus on the short comings of the particular denominations, churches and people I have worshiped with. I have been Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist. I have attended services at Episcopal, Lutheran, Congregational, Pentecostal, Nazarene, Church of Christ and Catholic assemblies. In all of these, I previously could find fault in either the ceremony, congregation or doctrine. I now know I was focused on myself for once I choose my place of worship my job is to integrate with the Body of Christ building it up. Christ must be alive and well as I allow God to iron out our differences.

I am particularly focused, this year, on tearing down any division that still remains in my soul. How do I know when I am divided? It is easy for me these days because I know if my thoughts are anywhere other than in the Heavens and seated with Christ they are not His thoughts. Furthermore, I know it is my job to live obediently to Christ's teachings in this matter. He is clear in His commands on how I should live therefore I am to give up self to His Spirit and allow examination of my heart to see if there is fault within me. Allowing God to judge my heart takes time, silence and prayer. By beginning with myself, I am aligning with Christ. Some of the verses I use as my guide, follow:

In John 15:12- Christ commands believers by saying “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

Mark 12:30-31- Jesus gives his followers his two greatest commandments “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us there are visible signs in the world that are evidence of His light and life within us. He says:

"I was hungry and you fed me,I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,I was homeless and you gave me a room,I was shivering and you gave me clothes, "Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.' Matthew 25:34-40

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).

And then Jesus said we are to settle our difference before coming to the altar:

"Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent."

It is the words of Christ that impact my life today. I am a part of His body, His hands, His feet. I am gentle and lowly in heart, never seeking to argue or cause division. My goal is to build up the body, never becoming estranged from the assembly or judging my brothers or sisters. It is these virtues that I am concerned with in the later years of my faith and I trust God for my continued sanctification for His good work.

P-Lord God, It is all because of You that new life has been given to all who trust in the Truth You have freely given. You tell us that our light will be seen before men and that light is Jesus. I pray for the building up of Your Church, without division, as those that seek to lay up treasures in Heaven go about doing Your work. You, Dear Jesus, are always the center. Guard our hearts and minds so that the words we speak will be yours and not ours. Help us to remember that it is not for us to argue, condemn, judge or prove. It is by Your living Spirit that men are changed and only You can do the work of preparing their hearts. Cause us, to trust and obey, for in doing this we are doing as You commanded. Father, for the mystery that You have already revealed, we give You thanks.

In Christ Alone,