Sunday, March 20, 2011

CHRIST'S AMBASSADORS AND SONS OF GOD IN HIS HOUSEHOLD

CHURCH--WE ARE THE “AMBASSADORS OF CHRIST,” “SONS OF GOD,” “THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD,” “ADOPTED” ONES, “CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN,” whose “CITIZENSHIP” is HEAVEN, and NOT of this earth.  We are TRANSLATED into the KINGDOM of God’s DEAR SON, and MADE KINGS AND PRIESTS in CHRIST’S KINGDOM forever.


If that statement OVERWHELMS, I meant it to be that way!

This heading is LONG and POTENT, because I needed to place ALL these concepts together, in ONE UNIT, because they intertwine and blend.

To those of us who PERSONALLY KNOW Jesus, this is in an INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP.  I ask a question to those of us who have accepted Him as our personal SAVIOR and LORD:  Do we THINK of ourselves as included in the ABOVE POSITIONS?  What we see here is a POWERFUL TRUTH, and we do well to FAMILIARIZE ourselves with WHAT the Bible declares ABOUT us.  These things are indeed part of our POSITION in Christ!

Now, after that brief explanation, let’s consider these things under separate headings.


AMBASSADORS OF CHRIST


Before I quote the scriptures which show the Church as AMBASSADORS of Jesus, I’ll DEFINE the word.

In Strong’s Concordance, an AMBASSADOR is a REPRESENTATIVE of Jesus and of HIS GOSPEL, also called a PREACHER.  In the dictionary, the AMBASSADOR is an ACCREDITED DIPLOMATIC AGENT of the HIGHEST RANK.  Ambassadors are appointed by THE GOVERNMENT to serve in a foreign country--to be a spokesperson in the INTERESTS of their HOME COUNTRY.  AMBASSADORS live in the country to which they are sent.

Now, let’s see how that applies to the Church of Jesus Christ.  Let’s first look at Ephesians 6:19-20.

“And (pray) for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to MAKE KNOWN the MYSTERY of the GOSPEL, for which I am an AMBASSADOR in bonds:  that therein I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.”

The Apostle Paul said he was an AMBASSADOR.  An ambassador of what?  The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!  We also know that Paul was CALLED and SENT by the “direct” INTERVENTION of Jesus.

Where was Paul sent?  To THE GENTILES, to preach the MYSTERY of the GOSPEL.  Why was the GOSPEL called a MYSTERY?  Because no one in Old Testament times understood that God would turn His attention to THE GENTILES, to “CALL-OUT” a people for His name--who’d become the Church.  We know that Paul preached and taught GOD’S WORD by the AUTHORITY of Jesus, Who COMMISSIONED him--so Paul was a REPRESENTATIVE of Jesus to the Gentiles.

That was Paul.  What about the WHOLE CHURCH?  Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:19-20.

“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has COMMISSIONED UNTO US the WORD OF RECONCILIATION.  Now then WE ARE AMBASSADORS for Christ...”

AS Paul was an AMBASSADOR of Christ, so we, the ENTIRE CHURCH, are likewise REPRESENTATIVES of Jesus--who dwell on this earth in Jesus’ stead.  We are COMMISSIONED to share the GOSPEL.  And as we do so, we’re SENT OUT, by Jesus’ GOVERNMENT at the throne of God, to serve the INTERESTS of the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN in this FOREIGN place on the earth, in which we dwell.  (More about our TRUE CITIZENSHIP will be discussed later.)

How does this teaching apply to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church?

When wars and upheavals threaten THE SAFETY of chosen AMBASSADORS in foreign countries, a GOVERNMENT calls the AMBASSADORS home!

Likewise, when the time of God’s wrath is to be poured out on the FOREIGN LAND (the WHOLE WORLD), the AMBASSADORS for Jesus will be CALLED HOME by a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.


SONS OF GOD


In John 1:11-13, the Apostle John wrote, concerning His own people, the Jewish nation of Israel.  He saw how HIS OWN would REJECT Jesus, and from that understanding, John spoke concerning ANOTHER GROUP OF PEOPLE, foreordained by God, the Church.  He called the Church “the sons of God.”

John 1:11-13--“He (Jesus) came to His own, and His own received Him not.  But as many as RECEIVED Him, to THEM He GAVE the power to BECOME SONS OF GOD, even them that BELIEVE on His name.”


To become a “son of God,” we MUST BELIEVE upon the name of Jesus!

The Apostle Paul also had something to say about the Church as “the sons of God.”  Let’s look at Philippians 2:15.

“That you might be blameless and harmless, THE SONS OF GOD, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

As “sons of God,” (or “daughters” of God--see the notation BELOW) we, the Church, are to be A LIGHT in the middle of a dark and wicked world.  The LIGHT is NOT our own, but the LIGHT of Jesus Who lives INSIDE us.

(A BRIEF NOTATION about INCLUDING the idea of “daughters” when THE SCRIPTURE so clearly declares “SONS.”--If MEN in the Church are “true sons” of God, “common reasoning” suggests that WOMEN in the Church are God’s “daughters.”  BUT, let’s consider ANOTHER explanation--We, in the Church, are called the BODY OF CHRIST, so therefore, ALL of us are viewed as SONS.  There’s NO DIFFERENCE between male and female IN THE CHURCH, since we’re “ALL ONE in Christ Jesus.”  See Galatians 3:28.)

There’s more.  In John’s first epistle, we see that being “sons of God” is a reflection of God’s LOVE--which is bestowed upon us.  John also tells us that AS the world did NOT recognize Who Jesus was, so also, the world will NOT recognize who we are either.  Let’s look at 1 John 3:1-2.

“Beloved, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called THE SONS OF GOD:  therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not.  Beloved, NOW we are THE SONS OF GOD, and it does not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”

This passage ends by looking FORWARD to “the appearing” of Jesus.  When Jesus APPEARS in the Pre-Trib Rapture, He will ONLY “appear” to the TRUE CHURCH.  He will APPEAR in the sky by descending into the air in the clouds.  When Jesus APPEARS, then WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM.  We’ll be LIKE Him AT THAT TIME in GLORIFIED bodies --resurrected from the dead AND translated (while ALIVE), which means “instantly changed.”  At THIS TIME we shall SEE Him as He truly is.  (I believe that Jesus looks THE SAME as described in Revelation 1:12-17.  WHICH IS GLORIOUS AND AWESOME!)


SONS OF GOD IN THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD


The next scripture not only DECLARES the Church as “sons of God” but includes the “Spirit of ADOPTION,” and how with that Spirit, we cry “Abba, Father.”

Not only are we ADOPTED into God’s family by the work of Jesus, AND have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but we are made HEIRS--HEIRS OF GOD and JOINT-HEIRS with Jesus.  These are most-powerful truths.  Let’s look at Romans 8:14-17.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are THE SONS OF GOD.  For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received THE SPIRIT OF ADOPTION, whereby we cry, ABBA, FATHER.  The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirits, that we are THE CHILDREN OF GOD.  And if CHILDREN, then HEIRS; HEIRS OF GOD, and JOINT-HEIRS WITH CHRIST; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be gloried together.”

Is the suffering, mentioned in that passage, THE SAME as what will happen in the Tribulation”  ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Look at Romans 8:18.  It tells us WHEN the SUFFERING for Christ happens!

“For I reckon that the SUFFERINGS of THIS PRESENT TIME are not worthy to be compared with THE GLORY which SHALL be REVEALED in us.”

The SUFFERING is THE SAME as that which has plagued the Church ALL through its LONG HISTORY--in THIS PRESENT TIME!  Anytime we see a SUFFERING Church, it involves THIS PRESENT AGE--the TIME when the Church ministers for Jesus in THIS PRESENT WORLD.

WHEN is the NEXT WORLD system?

We see it mentioned in scripture as THE DAY OF THE LORD, as THE DAYS OF VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD, as the TIME OF JACOB’S (Israel’s) TROUBLE, and as the 70TH WEEK prophesied by Daniel.  In other words, it’s “the Tribulation” (which will last seven years) as set up by Daniel’s timetable.
 
The Church WILL NOT SUFFER during that horrible time of God’s judgment.  YET the Church WILL SUFFER as long as it ministers for Christ in THIS PRESENT CHURCH AGE.  Why?  Because, since the world HATED JESUS, it will also HATE us!

Romans goes on to say that WHAT we SUFFER in THIS PRESENT TIME, is NOT WORTHY to be compared with THE GLORY we’ll receive when we and Jesus are GLORIFIED TOGETHER.  This is referring to THAT TIME when Jesus descends to CALL us to Himself in the Pre-Trib Rapture.

When will THE GLORY that’s to be “revealed in us” happen?

Let’s read Colossians 3:4--“When Christ, Who is our LIFE, shall APPEAR, then we shall APPEAR WITH HIM in glory.”

Do you see it?  We have a CLEAR REFERENCE to the Rapture of the Church!  When Jesus, Who is our LIFE, shall APPEAR (in the Rapture), THEN we WILL APPEAR WITH HIM IN GLORY!  We’ll receive our GLORIFIED BODIES at that time.

Let’s return Romans 8, and pick up another detail--we, the Church, as HEIRS of God.

Because we are the “sons of God” and “the children of God” who say “Abba, Father,” God gives us an INHERITANCE.  What is THAT INHERITANCE?  It’s the very SAME things that Jesus INHERITED from His Father when He ascended to God’s right hand!
 
How can we know that?  Because Romans DECLARES that we, the Church, are JOINT-HEIRS with Jesus!

What is that INHERITANCE?

I suggest you study these scriptures:  Ephesians 1:10-12.  Ephesians 1:18-23.  Ephesians 2:4-6.  Ephesians 3:4-6.  Ephesians 3:9-12.  These are POTENT promises of what the Church POSSESSES in Jesus.   (I give you some homework.  GRIN.  Be sure to look up these passages and DISCOVER what they show!)

Have a bountiful and wondrous time of searching for the truth.  God will NEVER disappoint.  And Jesus waits for us to converse with Him.

Be abundantly blessed with all of God’s promises, which is granted to us through our faith in Jesus.

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