On Saturday morning, I read the Torah Portion Plus… ie the Torah portion allocated for Jews this week as through the year, including a part of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) plus an Old Testament portion and a New Testament Portion (for Messianic Jews and Gentile Followers of Yeshua). The whole consisted roundly of: Deuteronomy 1 – 3, Isaiah 1 and Matthew 24 (to verse 22).
I read the Torah Portion scriptures every Saturday, the actual Sabbath of Yehovah Father GOD, and recommend it thoroughly. He speaks through His Word but with the Torah Portion He speaks particularly loudly, clearly, timely; that has been my experience. But I digress….
Today, marking through the failures and successes of the Hebrews in the desert, then the opening of Isaiah’s prophetic word to the Jews, and finally, the end of the age according to Jesus, I suddenly had a revelation of minute data I’d been gathering and contemplating for several years. I am not special by the world’s standards at all. I used to hope I was but that longing search for expression that would be appreciated by man has died, along with the will to live my life my way. So, I am not one of note. And I am a woman. And I am approaching retirement age. So I am surprised He has shared with me this morning but I must pass this on to all who will read.
To all who are searching for GOD’s will to be done on earth as in heaven (Lord’s prayer: Matthew 6; Luke 11), read on. For the LORD has seen fit to show me me the entirety of His plan through His Kingdom and the Church designed by Jesus, and how the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are meant to be woven together. It is so simple, you might even miss it, or think you’ve known it all along.
Others must, of course, test this Word, to ensure I am correct. The Spirit of the LORD will convict us of all truth. When we allow Him to direct, we are small and He is great, and His kingdom will come on earth as in heaven.
Two Gospels, One Truth
The Gospel of the Kingdom of GOD is not the same as the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of personal salvation. Jesus came to earth, born of a virgin and by the Holy Spirit, lived perfectly as the son of GOD, died innocently and rose again by the power of GOD and overcame sin and death for all who believe and follow him. Believing this and committing to following this Jesus brings us salvation from our own sinfulness and everlasting death.
The “Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). What is this gospel?
The Gospel of the Kingdom
The Gospel of the Kingdom is how earth can be run when GOD is in charge; when people live their lives as unto GOD, we are in an Eden, as GOD intended us to live.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is the love, justice, mercy and grace of Jehovah GOD, which we Believers are meant to live, as described in Acts 2 and 4. It is how earth is meant to be run, with people living their lives unto death in the name of Jesus. It is living as Jesus builds his church… which has little to do with the church we attend on a Sunday morning (I will share more shortly).
The Gospel of the Kingdom is the earth running as it would if it were heaven, with GOD’s judgement, truth, mercy, grace, integrity, values, peace, and love being the hallmarks of society in word yes, but in deed also.
Throughout the ages of man, since Jesus returned to the Father in heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, man has been attempting to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through missionaries, testimony and preaching, often by coercion and physical force. But this is not Jesus’ way. His way is through the living, breathing church; as it was in the beginning when the early church, primarily led by Jews, was established, many gentiles also came to believe. In the same way now, this is the way forward for the church, if the church is to influence those who do not believe to recognise Jesus as the way to GOD.
Recently in a prayer group, a brother urged others to meditate on the LORD’s prayer, for all its nuances; every word, he rightly said, is for us to digest. Well said.
“Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” is the focus here.
While we attend church on a Sunday morning, as prescribed by Constantine in approximately 300 AD, we miss Jesus’ church almost entirely. Even though in the reformation, theology became more closely linked to the Word of GOD, yet the structure of church changed little.
Paul in 1 Corinthians addresses the idea of meeting together. There is his plea for order and for courtesy. Do not forsake meeting together, but when you meet together, don’t “pig out” (eat excessively) or blab uncontrollably. But rather, have time to listen (to the Holy Spirit and to one another), allow order and sequence. That’s about it. He did not presume to adopt or prescribe a set structure. Why do you suppose that is?
Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” didn’t he? (Matthew 16:18) I believe the church we witness today and have witnessed for some 1700 years has little to do — perhaps even nothing to do — with Jesus’ true concept of his church.
Church on a Sunday has been man’s way to “do church”, just as religion across the globe and throughout cultures has been man’s way to get to GOD. On the other hand, just as Jesus is GOD’s one way for man to get to Him, Jesus’ church is GOD’s way for us to be church.
Preparing the Bride
What has all this to do with preparing the bride for Jesus’ return? We are to live as though for heaven… fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
As we live and pray GOD’s will be done on earth as in heaven, the kingdom of GOD and the kingdom of heaven will influence the whole earth; GOD’s will on earth can be done as it is in heaven, through our corporate lifestyle of surrender to Him and in our love, justice, mercy and grace. As we are the church and as we live as the church of Jesus, the will of GOD is done. OUR LIFESTYLE IS CHURCH. And this will bring more of heaven to earth, touching the lives of humanity around the globe.
The way to be church is the way to be as people who follow Jesus. It’s one and the same thing. Church is not a service nor a building. Church, you’ve heard it said, are the people of GOD. I’ll add one more element: church is the people of GOD surrendered and living as followers of Jesus, united in his love, justice, mercy, and grace; it is living in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than in the power of the flesh. It is living a lifestyle of service to one another rather than partaking in a service.
Meeting on the Sabbath (Saturday) is just the beginning
For about a decade, I’ve been saying privately that the Church Age is finished, and that GOD has fundamentally left the church and is waiting to send his son to return. (Yes, there are kingdom churches but they are rare; and there are moments of His glory descending in a service, but that is an infinitesimal fraction of what He has intended all along.) This morning I understand much more clearly: Jesus is asking us to allow him to build his church before he comes.
After 1700 years of our trying, isn’t it time we gave up our authority and allowed Jesus to take authority in our hearts and also in our “church”? For the church is not a building but fellowship and being together (see previous blog: https://laruspress.com/church-needs-to-change/ ). We are family and we are sent out ones, called to live as witness to what family is meant to be in the eyes of GOD our Father.
Coronavirus is a gift to the church, not a curse
What the devil means for evil, GOD intends for good.
What lockdown and suspension of places of worship has done has given all people an opportunity to slow down, to contemplate our lives, to “smell the roses”. For followers of Jesus, it has been an opportunity to recalibrate our relationship with GOD. And to recalibrate the concept of church.
I pray we will do that, have done that, and that there is room now to let go, let GOD, and get out of the way to let Jesus build his church.
Will we do it?