The church is the enlargement of Christ, and, as revealed in Hebrews, the church is the real Sabbath rest and the church is the unshakable kingdom of God; coming to the church is coming to the new covenant and to the heavenly New Jerusalem.
There are many wonderful and glorious aspects of the church revealed in the book of Hebrews, and so far we have enjoyed the church as a living composition of the many sons of God, who are the many brothers of Christ, and the church as a corporate partnership with Christ, where all believers are partners of Christ and co-heirs with Him.
It is amazing to think that the God who created all things, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whose righteous, holy, and glorious requirements exclude man from coming to Him, has the heart’s desire to have man as a co-heir with Christ.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come and has passed through a process to redeem man, and now whoever believes into Him becomes a genuine, bonified son of God, a child of God born of God (John 1:12-13).
As sons of God, we have God’s life and nature, and we are growing in life to be matured in life and be heirs of God together with Christ.
God has a divine operation in the universe to accomplish and gain a glorious expression of Himself in humanity; Jesus Christ took the lead to be the firstborn Son of God, and He regenerated many sons of God to be the many heirs of God and partners of Christ in the divine corporation.
Christ as the firstborn Son of God is God’s appointed Heir, and we as the many sons of God are His joint heirs; we are Christ’s partners, anointed with Him, and together we enjoy all the riches of God and are going through a process that will conform us to the image of Christ to be His glorious expression.
As the partners of Christ, we share in His anointing and cooperate with Him in His operation to reach the goal of God’s economy – the glorious expression of the Divine Being.
The church today is a corporate partnership of Christ, and in His heavenly ministry Christ is ministering to us and perfecting us to become God’s glorious expression as the church.
The Church, the Enlargement of Christ, is the Present Sabbath Rest
According to the principle of the first mention in the Bible, God ordained the Sabbath after He completed the work of creation in six days, and late on the sixth day He had a man in His image and with His authority.
When God obtained such a man, He could rest; He entered into the Sabbath rest, having satisfaction and rest, because there was a man who expressed Him with His image and represented Him with His authority.
Whenever God gains a group of people that express Him with His image and represent Him with His dominion, He enters into the Sabbath rest, and His people also enjoy this rest.
Christ Himself was personally such a God-man, and the Father testified, This is My Beloved Son, in whom I find all My delight; hear Him. The individual Christ is God’s Sabbath (Matt. 11:28-29), and the church is the enlargement of Christ; therefore, the church is also God’s Sabbath rest (John 2:19, 21; 3:29a, 30; 1 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 3:6; 4:9).
The present Sabbath rest is the church life, and in the next age the Sabbath rest is in the kingdom.
The church should be a Sabbath rest to God and man in the sense that God’s image is increasingly expressed, and His authority is increasingly exercised to limit and deal with His enemy.
The work of God is to cause Satan to lose ground on the earth; the church as the corporate Sabbath rest is a realm where, under the heavenly ministry of Christ, His image is expanding, and especially through our prayer and the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom, the church is able to cause Satan to lose ground for the kingdom of God to enlarge.
When we are at the Lord’s Table Meeting, especially when we worship the father, we should sense that there’s rest, for the Father has a certain degree of rest in us because His image and dominion are here.
The church is God’s satisfaction and rest because in the church God has His habitation for His expression and representation (Eph. 2:22).
If we fail to express God but rather misrepresent God, we may suffer God’s discipline, just as Moses failed to properly represent God when he struck the rock a second time and was angry with God’s people.
The Lord is ministering Himself into us so that we may express Him and represent Him. We need the supply of Christ’s heavenly ministry day by day so that we may express Christ and represent Him both individually and together as the church, thus being the church as God’s Sabbath rest today.
Lord, we want to be the church as Your enlargement to be the Sabbath rest for You in this age. Work Yourself into us and keep us open to Your heavenly ministry to be inwardly supplied and enabled to express You with Your image and represent You with Your dominion. Amen, Lord, gain Your corporate expression and representation on earth today in the church! May the church express You and represent You, so that You may find Your rest and satisfaction in the church. Make the church the Sabbath rest You desire to have in this age!
Coming to the Church is Coming to the New Covenant and to the Heavenly New Jerusalem
There’s a link between Galatians and Hebrews; in Galatians Paul deals with Judaism, warning the believers not to backslide in Judaism but stay in grace, while in Hebrews we see the charge not to drift into the old covenant but remain in the new covenant.
In Heb. 7-10 we see the better covenant, which replaces the old covenant; the old covenant is over, and the new covenant is here to replace it. Then in Heb. 12:22-23 we are told that we have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, and to the church.
Coming to the church is actually coming to the new covenant and to the heavenly New Jerusalem. Gal. 4 shows us that the mother of the believers – who is the Jerusalem above, the New Jerusalem – is the new covenant of grace symbolized by Sarah.
To come to the new covenant is to come to the New Jerusalem and to the church.
It is serious to turn away from the new covenant and keep the old covenant; this matter is so serious in God’s eyes that, as history confirms, God had to destroy the city of Jerusalem and even the church in Jerusalem because there has never been a dispensational transfer in that church.
God has fully abandoned Judaism; now we have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the church.
To come to the church is to come to the new covenant and to the heavenly New Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22-24; 8:7-13; 11:10, 16; Gal. 4:24-26). Hallelujah! In the church life we enjoy the new covenant, and we have a foretaste of the New Jerusalem!
Thank You Lord for bringing us into the church life where we can enjoy the new covenant and a foretaste of the heavenly New Jerusalem! Fully deliver us from any ordinance or law of the old covenant, and bring us into the new covenant of grace to enjoy God as our everything! May our coming to the church be our coming to the new covenant and to the heavenly New Jerusalem!
The Church as the Enlargement of Christ is the Unshakable Kingdom of God
By believing into Christ we have entered into the kingdom of God, and we have received a ushakable kingdom (Heb. 12:25-29).
The kingdom is actually the Lord Himself as the kingship within us; the kingdom is the spread and enlargement of Christ in the aspect of His ruling and reigning. The church today is Christ’s increase in life, and the church as the kingdom of God is Christ’s increase in administration.
As believers in Christ, we need security and safety; the church is the unshakable kingdom of God. The kingdom is actually the Lord Himself as the kingdom within us (see Luke 17:20-21; Mark 4:3, 26).
On the one hand we need to let the Lord increase in us as life, giving Him the ground in our being to spread into every part and saturate us with Himself. On the other hand, we need to let Christ with His kingdom spread in us; we need to let the kingdom come in all the aspects of our daily life, so that we may live in the church life as the kingdom of God.
When we let Christ rule in our being, checking with Him concerning everything and allowing Him to rule and reign in us, we live in the kingdom of God today, which is the church life.
In the church we are living in the kingdom of God today; the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).
We may really enjoy aspects of the church such as the Father’s house with His love, the composition of God’s many sons, and an entity in life, but we also need to realize that the church is the kingdom of God.
We have received an unshakable kingdom; no matter what happens, we cannot be shaken because the kingdom within us cannot be shaken. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but the only unshakable thing on earth is the genuine church constituted with the unshakable kingdom of God.
To advance in the kingdom of God, we need to let Christ increase in us in administration. May we be those who live in the kingdom of God in the church today (John 3:3, 5; Rom. 14:17; Rev. 1:9).
Thank You Lord for giving us an unshakable kingdom. Thank You for making us part of Christ’s enlargement as the kingdom of God. Lord Jesus, we enthrone You in our being; You are the King and the Lord. Increase in us in the aspect of administration and ruling so that we may live in the kingdom of God today in the church life. May the church be filled with saints who live in the reality of the kingdom of God, enjoying the unshakable kingdom of God!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ron Kangas for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Hebrews, msgs. 19-20, 36, 41, 53-54, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Cooperating with the Heavenly Ministry of the Ascended Christ (2017 Spring ITERO), msg. 7 (week 7), Practicing the Church Life under the Ministry of Christ as the Minister of the True, the Heavenly, Tabernacle.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Lord, I believe a rest remains / To all Thy people known; / A rest where pure enjoyment reigns, / And Thou art loved alone… / Remove this hardness from my heart, / This unbelief remove; / To me the rest of faith impart, / The Sabbath of Thy love. (Hymns #424)
# We’re under the New Covenant, / With glorious items, three: / The law of life, spontaneous, / Transforming utterly; / We are His people, He’s our God— / Oh, bless’d reality; / We all are fully able now / To know God inwardly. (Hymns #1188)
# In fulness of the seasons / God’s Christ will head up all. / Then all will own His reigning / And worship, great and small. / Such reign in life and glory / The Church e’en now foretastes / And to His rule submitting / Unto His kingdom hastes. (Hymns #941)