I was very impressed while watching message 8 of the video-training on the Crystallization-Study of the Psalms (1), entitled, The House and The City – God in Christ is enlarged to become the church as the house of God, and the church as the house of God needs to be enlarged to become the city of God, the kingdom of God, where God can rule and reign.
In the house of God we enjoy the river of God’s pleasures, the fatness of God’s house, and in God’s light we see light! It is such a pleasant, lovely, delicious, wonderful realm – the church as the house of God! But God desires something more: He wants to establish His kingdom on the earth, and through our enjoyment of Him in the house of God, through our enjoying Christ in the system of grace, we are brought under God’s government.
The church as the house of God has to grow, increase, mature, and advance to be the church as the city of God, the kingdom of God! In the gospel of John we see the system of grace – everything is life there (the bread of life, the tree of life, the water of life, the life, etc). But in the Gospel of Matthew we clearly see the system of government, where Christ is the king and He needs us to be His kingdom.
The church life today in all the local churches is the house of God, and needs to become the city of God. I was particularly impressed with the points the brother shared with us from Matthew concerning the kingdom of God – practical points in the church life and the Christian life which unveil what is our Christian life and our church life in the city of God.
- Hearing the church in Matt 18:15-18 – the brothers want to recover the sinning brother (the system of grace), but if the sinning one still refuses to hear the church, there’s a matter of God’s government. The sinning brother is not excommunicated, but it is excluded from the fellowship of the kingdom. The interesting thing is that the sinning brother does not refuse to hear the Lord, or the Spirit, etc – he refuses to hear the church. There may be some people living day by day in a perilous situation simply because they refuse to hear the church! The Lord has set up authority in the church, and if we hear the church, we get the blessing!
- Not lording it over others or exercising authority (Matt. 20:25) – Some people may practice this, and some may have a controlling disposition, an unpredictable emotion, or something in himself/herself that damages the saints. Moses was the meekest person on the face of the earth – he lost his temper only once, he was angry with God’s people – but God was not angry! This one sin was a “sin unto death”, and he did not enter into the good land. In the city of God there’s no human control, there is no exercise of the authority in a fleshly way – here the Lord’s authority flows, and it is represented in love with the budding rod…
- We need to forgive others and repent to the saints – The life of the city is a life of forgiving others and asking for forgiveness. On the one hand, even if we’re having a time with the Lord when we remember that a brother has something against us, we need to ask for forgiveness right away. Don’t wait for the other to come to you – just go to him and ask for forgiveness. If you have NEVER asked for forgiveness in the church life, you might have never lived in the city of God. On the other hand, we need to FORGIVE the other saints, and not be upset if they don’t come to us to ask for forgiveness. We have a forgiving life, and we have a forgiving God. He doesn’t ask for conditions and promises to forgive us – He just forgives!
- Don’t judge, less you will be judged (Matt. 7:1-2). This is a law in God’s kingdom: if you judge others, you yourself will also be judged. With the same measure that you judge others, you will also be judged likewise. As soon as you say something to judge someone else in a certain way or measure, you have “pronounced your own judgement”. How much we need to learn from the Lord who, out of every man who lived on the face of the earth, HAD THE RIGHT to judge us or the people around Him, but He chose not to judge but to put everything in God’s hands and while being reviled, He did not revile in return. Christ lived the kingdom life while being on the earth.
- The opinions are fully exposed – in Matt 16:21-26 we see that Peter’s good intentions, behind which Satan lurked, are man’s opinions which frustrate God in the fulfilling of His economy. In the church life it is so easy to have opinions about others, what others do or should do, what people wear, etc – and to voice those opinions. There’s so much pain that can be caused by simply voicing our opinion about others, things, health, diet, etc. But we need to learn to deny ourselves and not express our opinion! The Lord never expressed His opinion concerning the people around Him, He never tried to improve them – He just lived out God and ministered life to them!
- In the kingdom we have a hidden life with God – yes, we meet with the saints in all kinds of meetings, gatherings, conferences, etc. We share things from what we enjoyed with the Lord, but in Matt. 6:1-8 the Father listens to those who enter into their private room and spend personal, private, spiritual, and intimate time with God. What are you BEFORE GOD? Others may see you as a good brother/sister, but are you weighty before God by spending hidden time with Him? Or are you a shallow one, mainly outwardly, with no hidden history before the Lord… May the Lord save us from any superficiality and anything for others to see only – we need to spend hidden time with the Father!
- In the kingdom we are active in function! We don’t bury our talent, and we don’t sit around pretending to be spiritual. Rather, we are the Lord’s slaves, living and active in our spirit. We are learning to be vital, fresh, living, and active with the Lord. The talent the Master gave us, we put it into business and bring profit to God.
- We are serving God and not mammon – you may say you don’t love money, but are you sure you’re not anxious about money? The Lord may have your time, your energy, your capacity, but what about your money? No one can serve two masters – you either serve God wholeheartedly or you serve mammon.
- Go and disciple all the nations (Matt. 28:19) – in the church as the kingdom of God we are preaching the gospel of the kingdom. We don’t do it for others to see, and we don’t do it to make a great work for ourselves – we simply are faithful to the Christ who commissioned us to go and preach the gospel!
- Doing the will of the Father and seeking first His kingdom (Matt. 6:33). We do not do our own will in the kingdom – rather, we choose God’s will. Also, we FIRST seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness.
Wow… these are just a few matters that are clearly mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew concerning the kingdom people and their living in the church as the kingdom of God. When we read and hear these things, we are so exposed and enlightened – we realize that in ourselves we cannot do these.
What should we do? What’s the key? What’s the solution? The brother mentioned Col. 1:13 – God has delivered us out of the authority of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love! Yes, it is in the KINGDOM that we were transferred, but there’s no fear in this kingdom – rather, there’s life, love, and light.
No iron rod, no scepter of authority imposed on others, but there is life, love, and light. We are ruled in love – so delightful! In the atmosphere of God’s delighting in the Beloved Son – we just love it here! We are ruled in love with life flowing and the light shining! When we see this realm, when we see the kingdom of the Son of His love, the above items become our experience and practice spontaneously!
In love being ruled by the shining of light and the infusing of life we gladly hear the church, not lord it over others, we repent and forgive, we drop our opinions, we preach the gospel and disciple the nations, we have a hidden life with the Lord, etc… It is such a lovely realm, but we are still in the kingdom of the Son (of His love)! How much we need to SEE this key and use it in our daily church life!
[sharing inspired by the brother’s sharing in message 8 in the 2011 summer training on the Psalms (Crystallization Study); become a fan on Facebook and share your enjoyment from this message!]
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