1 Corinthians (Program #19) – Growth in Life Needed (2)
In first Corinthians the apostle Paul confronts the difficult situation in the church there in a very wise way. He first identifies that their problems would due primarily to a shortage of the growth in the divine life. Although they had received the initial gifts of the divine life and the Holy Spirit they were still infants or babes in Christ.
He then unveils to them the marvelous progression of God’s economy. First they need to realize that they are all plants growing on God’s farms. Then the goal is to be built up together into a building and finally that this building is destined to become God’s dwelling place, His temple.
How about you and me? Have we received such a vision, such a revelation or are we like the Corinthians satisfied to remain in our spiritual infancy and hang on to personal preferences in our own traditions?
1 Corinthians (Program #16) – The Church, God’s Farm, God’s Building (1)
The first two chapters of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians are very rich in their presentation of Christ. Paul clearly was doing all he could to bring the troubled Corinthians to Christ in their experience.
But in Chapter three Paul turns his focus to the church. Though not in shallow or superficial language rather he speaks in marvelous profound expressions referring to the church in types. First as a farm growing, producing a rich crop. Then as a building and ultimately as a temple, a divine dwelling place, build out of priceless materials such as gold, silver and precious stones. Of course these materials are not literally either but types of the transformation work that the Holy Spirit is engaged in with all of us, God’s redeemed.
John (Program #24) – The Need of the Thirsty – Life’s Quenching (2)
Today the Lord does not expect a welcome in religion, but He surely appreciates His lovers, His seekers, those who enjoy Him, not in the temple but in their little house. That’s where He is.
The Gospel of John frequently uses the feasts as a background for the presentation of Christ, the Son of God as life to us. In chapter 6, the background was the feast of Passover, the first of the annual feasts. In chapter 7, the background is the feast of tabernacles: the last of the annual feasts, a time of celebration, and joy, and in a sense success in the harvest. The Lord uses this feast as a background to address the need of the thirsty, and to present life as the unique capacity to quench the thirst of human beings.
Zechariah (Program #9) – The Prophecies of Encouragement (1)
About 2500 years ago, the prophet Zechariah’s burden was to help the returned people of Israel to see God’s purpose. Today, God’s intention and His desire is that we will be one with Him. He’s brought us back to the very site, to the ground, even to the foundation of the temple typified by the recovery back to Jerusalem from Babylon in Zechariah’s day. Now God wants us to see that His interest, His desire and His burden are to finish the building of the temple, to build up the Body of Christ.
Zechariah (Program #3) – The Visions of Consolation and Promise (2)
Zechariah chapter 2 is one of the mysterious chapters in the Bible and to be sure the book of Zechariah is considered quite mysterious by many, if not most believers. A man with a measuring line appears in verse 1 and this man is measuring Jerusalem. Then, Jehovah declares that He will be the glory within Jerusalem and the fire round about her protecting the city and His people and its inhabitants. All of this is against the backdrop of the previous seventy years of history where Jehovah seemingly was silent and inactive. What has caused the Lord to rise up and take such an active and vigorous stand on behalf of His people? The answer is clear – His people has returned from captivity in Babylon and they are re-inhabiting Jerusalem and Jehovah is re-inhabiting His house, the temple.
Haggai (Program #1) – The Building of the House of Jehovah in Relation to Israel’s Welfare and Messiah’s Coming
Some of the most penetrating words in all of Scriptures are found in the Old Testament Prophet, Haggai. They are penetrating because they have immediate relevant to every believer. And they touch us in some of the most carefully guarded places in our hearts.
“Is it time for you yourself to dwell in your paneled-up houses?” he writes, “while this house,” God’s House “lies waste?..Consider your ways, you sown much but you bring in little, you eat but there is no satisfaction.”
Haggai was a prophet raised up by the Lord to accompany His people on their return to Judah and Jerusalem following the 70 long years of captivity in Babylon. And when they returned they faced the temple, God’s house in ruin and in desperate need of rebuilding. But they like so many of us today have become completely preoccupied and engrossed with their own needs and situations. And the result as imply by Haggai probing questions is that, in spit of all of their effort and dedication without God’s hand of blessing in their lives, they and we would never be satisfied regardless of how much material wealth or possession we acquired. These are questions that must be asked again and again among God’s people.
Luke (Program #39) – The Ministry of the Man-Savior in His Human Virtues with His Divine Attributes from Galilee to Jerusalem (19)
Luke Chapter 18 presents us with a parable of two men going up to the temple to pray. One, a religious leader, a Pharisee, and the other a sinner even an evil extortioner. The contrast in their prayer gives us an interesting insight into why the Lord Jesus was drawn not to the so called righteous but to the unrighteous, those who knew they were in captivity and in need of the Jubilee.
Ezekiel (Program #25) – The Holy Land and the Holy City
Clearly the subject and central focus of the last section of the book of Ezekiel is the temple, the house of God. Show the house to the house, the Lord tells Ezekiel and that is exactly what he does in the final chapters. Yet, there’s a very profound postscript to Ezekiel’s vision that is found in the final chapters of the book and that is the land upon which the temple sits. In fact the land and the house are the central focus of the entire Old Testament. Recall Jehovah’s words to Joshua following the death of Moses as the children of Israel were encamped at the border of the good land in Canaan, “Moses My servant is dead; now then arise, and cross over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, to the children of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads I have given to you, as I promised Moses…Be strong and take courage, for you will cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give to them.” (Joshua 1:2-3,6). Well if the temple typifies the church as the fulfillment of the house of God, what then does this land typify?
Ezekiel (Program #22) – The Return of God’s Glory to the House
Early in his ministry as recorded in chapters 9 and 10, the prophet Ezekiel had seen the glory of Jehovah depart from the temple and even from the earth. It was the gross sin of the people, the abominations, the whoredom, the carcasses and the degradation that caused the Lord’s glory to depart. But after receiving the vision of the completion of the building of the temple in chapter 43, Ezekiel saw another vision. This time a vision of the glory of Jehovah returning to the earth and filling the temple. This is Ezekiel 43:1-5, “Then He brought me to the gate, that is, the gate that faces toward the east. And the glory of the God of Israel was there … and His voice was like the sound of many waters, and the earth was illuminated with His glory. And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, that is, like the vision that I had seen when He came to destroy the city; and the visions were like the vision that I had seen by the river Chebar. And I fell on my face. And the glory of Jehovah came into the house through the gate which faced toward the east. And the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner court, and just then the glory of Jehovah filled the house.”
Following the vision of the glory of the Lord filling the house, the Lord had many things to say to Ezekiel as He also does to us concerning His house. Question is, do we have ears to hear and eyes to see the house of God?
Ezekiel (Program #21) – The Building at the Back, the Walls, the Incense Altar, the Holy Chambers, and the Boiling Places
Ezekiel, a book of visions, begins in chapter 1 with the vision of God’s glory. The final vision in chapter 40 is a vision of the house of God or the building of God. Hopefully, we like Ezekiel, have seen both of these great visions in our life – a vision of God’s glory and a vision of His building. But the sad truth is that though Christians speak much concerning the glory of God, there are precious few words spoken concerning His building. Most likely, it’s because this great vision is yet to be seen by the vast majority God’s children.