Friday, March 18, 2011

THE TRUE CHURCH IS MADE ONE IN JESUS

Under this heading there are many headings and sub-headings.  Allow me to offer a brief preview.  (There’s so many wonderful gems to share, I’ll be splitting the information into several blogs.)


WE ARE MADE ONE WITH JESUS CHRIST; HE IS THE HEAD, WE ARE HIS BODY--WHICH IS OUR “POSITION” IN HIM, AND “WHO” WE ARE IN HIM.  WE ARE TOTALLY IDENTIFIED WITH HIM, AND HE WITH US--AS WE ARE BORN AGAIN.


I’ll also ADD, that we, of the true Church are CHRIST’S AMBASSADORS; we are CITIZENS of HEAVEN--not of THIS WORLD, which is destined for judgment.  We are SONS OF GOD, “adopted” into God’s HOUSEHOLD; we are THE CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN; and THE BRIDE of Jesus, who will BE MARRIED to Him in a HEAVENLY CEREMONY after we’re Raptured.

What does ALL this mean?  Just reading through the LIST, categorizing our complete inheritance “in JESUS,” makes my heart jump for joy!  But I get AHEAD of myself--allow me to backtrack and explain TWO very important categories:  MADE ONE with Jesus AND Jesus is the HEAD; the Church is His BODY.  (We’ll continue, category by category)


MADE ONE WITH JESUS


Jesus, speaking to His disciples (and PROPHESYING to the Church) in the gospel of John, said this--John 14:18-20.

“I will not leave you comfortless:  I will come to you.  Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more; BUT YOU SEE ME:  because I live, YOU SHALL LIVE ALSO.  At that day, you shall KNOW that I am IN My Father, and you IN Me, and I IN you.”

Jesus LIVES inside us!  This makes us ONE with Him!

He is UNITED to us by the power of His Spirit, and we are vitally LINKED with Him. As we RECOGNIZED what Jesus did at the cross for us (God’s GIFT in GRACE), we CALLED OUT to Him in FAITH, and PLACED our total RELIANCE upon Him.  As we INVITED Jesus come to dwell in our hearts as Savior and Lord, we were BORN AGAIN, made into a NEW CREATURES--and the OLD passed away.  We have Jesus IN us, and we are IN Him, a statement that refers to our ONENESS.

In Ephesians 5:30-32, we have a passage which compares the Church to the UNION of a man and woman in marriage.

“For we are MEMBERS of HIS BODY, of HIS FLESH, and of HIS BONES.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be JOINED unto his wife, and they two shall be ONE FLESH.  This is a GREAT MYSTERY; but I speak concerning CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.”

Jesus and HIS CHURCH are MADE ONE, in the SAME manner as a man and a wife become ONE when they marry.  HOW does Jesus and His Church become ONE?

We are UNITED in SPIRIT; we are IN AGREEMENT in goals and purposes; we share a PROFOUND INTIMACY; we are LINKED together in a STRONG BOND; we’re JOINED TOGETHER--Jesus and us.  God calls it being ONE.

Yes, it’s also “A MYSTERY”--Christ and His Church (and very difficult to comprehend)!  Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Church is called a MYSTERY which was ALWAYS in the mind of God, and which was NOT REVEALED in the Old Testament (in a direct “word for word” manner--but the Church IS seen in the Old Testament by TYPE or PROPHETIC PATTERN, and this must be SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED).

We see this recorded for us in Colossians 1:25-26.  “Whereof I (Paul) am made a minister, according to the DISPENSATION of God which is given to me for you (Church), to fulfill the word of God; even THE MYSTERY which has been HID FROM AGES and FROM GENERATIONS, but is NOW made MANIFEST (revealed and shown) to His saints (of the Church).”
 
You see, God KNOWS EVERYTHING.  Every SMALL DETAIL of His GREAT PLAN OF SALVATION was ACCOMPLISHED in DISPENSATIONS (which is defined as THE METHOD of His ADMINISTRATION--the VARIOUS WAYS in which He dealt with mankind THROUGH THE MILLENNIA).  God KNEW ALL THIS from the very beginning to the end.

To sum up this section:  What does being made ONE with Jesus have to do with a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church?

Since we are ONE with Him, united together--likened to a man and a wife--Jesus will NOT place a PART of Himself (or His Beloved) into that time when God will pour out judgments, punishments and wrath upon the wicked.  HE WILL NOT DO IT!  By His blood, He purchased us, and we are His, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and PROMISED to be taken to our mansions in God’s house in heaven, as Jesus comes to collect His Bride.  Hallelujah!
 
For Jesus to place His Church, ONE with Himself, into the time of The Tribulation, would be, for Him, like TAKING God’s judgments AGAIN upon Himself (and since those of us, made ONE with Him, are a VITAL PART of Himself, He would suffer there, too).

It will NOT happen that way!  Scripture clearly declares that Jesus SAVED us (delivered us, rescued us) from THE WRATH TO COME.  It’s recorded in 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10.

“…and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and TO WAIT for His Son from heaven, Who He raised from the dead, EVEN JESUS, Who DELIVERED US from THE WRATH to come.”

When we have believed in Jesus, and have received Him as Lord of our lives, we are ONE with Him, and NO longer under the vengeance of God!  We’re set free from that!  “Who the Son has set free, is free indeed!”  John 8:36.


JESUS IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH--AND THE CHURCH IS HIS BODY


Being ONE with Jesus, vitally linked and united with Him, we, the true Church, are known as HIS BODY, while He is the HEAD.

What can be ANY CLOSER than PARTS OF A BODY?  Plus, THE BODY “cannot” function without THE HEAD.  This not only SHOWS ONENESS, but another powerful truth!  Let’s look at a few more scriptures.

The epistle of Ephesians is full of the CHURCH’S POSITION in Jesus Christ.  We’re told how BLESSED we are “with all spiritual blessings IN HEAVENLY (spiritual) places in Christ.”  We’re assured that we were CHOSEN in Him BEFORE the foundations of the world, to BE HOLY (set apart for Him), and WITHOUT BLAME before Him in love.  We’re comforted to know that we are “ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.”  I could go on and on, but I don’t want to quote the whole book!

In Ephesians 1:22-23, we see where Jesus is called THE HEAD, while we, the Church, are HIS BODY. 

“And (God) has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be THE HEAD over ALL things TO THE CHURCH, which is HIS BODY, the FULLNESS of Him that FILLS all in all.”

Wow!  THAT’S POTENT!  But how often do we BELIEVE this about ourselves?

Jesus is HEAD over ALL to the Church!  Since we are ONE with Him, vitally linked to His LIFE inside us by the Spirit, His HEADSHIP flows from heaven to us, and we are enabled to REIGN with Him in this life--and DO as He directs us.  (Romans 5:17--a scripture I’ll return to later in this series.)

In addition, Jesus has put ALL things under His FEET.  Jesus is indeed THE HEAD of the Church, but WHERE are His feet?  They’re on THE EARTH, as a part of HIS BODY!
 
This is why we’re told elsewhere that we can TRAMPLE upon the enemy (devils), and be successful.  We see it in Luke 10:19 where Jesus told His followers--“Behold, I give unto you power to TREAD on serpents and scorpions, and over ALL the power of the enemy:  and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Notwithstanding in this, rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

What’s shown here is yet another example of OVERCOMING POWER, which comes to us though Jesus by the Holy Spirit.  He gives us the ability to RESTRAIN the works of the evil one.  This, again, is a STRONG REASON why such a SPIRIT-FILLED CHURCH cannot be in the Tribulation!

Back to Jesus as the HEAD and the Church as His BODY.  Let’s look at Colossians 1:18.

“And He (Jesus) is HEAD of the BODY, the Church:  Who is the beginning, the FIRSTBORN from the dead; that in ALL things He might have the preeminence.”

Even as the CHURCH (who is Christ’s BODY on earth) does EXPLOITS through His NAME and POWER, Jesus remains THE ONE Who has the PREEMINENCE, for He is our HEAD.  Jesus is ALWAYS THE ONE Who is GLORIFIED!

I’ll show you another scripture which describes the Church as the BODY OF CHRIST.  Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 12:12-14.

“For as THE BODY is ONE, and has MANY MEMBERS, and ALL the MEMBERS of that ONE BODY, being many, are ONE BODY:  so also IS CHRIST.  For by ONE SPIRIT are we ALL BAPTIZED into ONE BODY, whether we be Jews (who accept Jesus during the Church age) or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been ALL made to drink into ONE SPIRIT, for the BODY is not one member, but MANY.”

1 Corinthians 12 goes on to describe gifts, callings and functions which are within the MANY MEMBERS of the BODY OF CHRIST in the Church.  Jesus as THE HEAD directs the ministry, while the BODY, the Church, as a whole, performs what Jesus says.  Simple as that!

1 Corinthians 12:27 sums it up--“Now you are THE BODY OF CHRIST, and MEMBERS in particular.”

(I’ll also add this thought:  Since the END TIMES have produced a Church in apostasy--characterized by Laodecia in Revelation 3--we do NOT see much evidence of a victorious Church which operates in the overcoming power that believers displayed soon after PENTECOST.  This does NOT mean that Christians are NO LONGER ABLE to operate the way the Bible teaches!  IF we have confidence (faith) that WHAT the Bible says is TRUE, then we can witness THE POWER of Jesus made manifest in our lives, and in the Church, and Jesus will be glorified.  Many have lost sight of what Jesus gave to His true Church because TRUTH has been so watered down by RELIGION.)

To sum up this section:  What does Jesus being THE HEAD of the Church (who is HIS BODY) have to do with the Pre-Tribulation Rapture?

First of all, there’s a FALSE TEACHING which claims that the Rapture will be PARTIAL --that “only those” who are EXPECTING a Pre-Trib Rapture, plus “only those” who are asking for forgiveness and walking in a PURIFIED STATE, plus “only those” who are EXERCISING THEIR FAITH, will be ready, and therefore, ONLY THOSE will be Raptured, Pre-Tribulation.  The rest will need to work out their shortcomings within the Tribulation.  THIS IS SO FALSE!

WHEN Christ comes to gather His Church to Himself in the air, WILL He LEAVE BEHIND a toe, or a little finger, or a knee?  Will part of His BLOOD-BOUGHT ONES be thrown into the terrible Tribulation?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!

If a TRUE CHRISTIAN (who has trusted Jesus to SAVE him) is NOT “expecting” a PRE-TRIB RAPTURE at all, or is CAUGHT “committing a sin” at the TIME of the RAPTURE-- then that Christian will STILL BE WITH Jesus.  Why?

Jesus’ BLOOD is SUFFICIENT to cover sin, ALL our sin--past, present and future.  The one caught in a state of obeying the flesh nature (and sinning) may LOSE a REWARD at the throne of God, but since that person TRUSTS in the blood of Jesus to save him, he will INDEED be included in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.  The one who does NOT believe in a Rapture (but is BORN-AGAIN) will INDEED be included in the Pre-Trib Rapture (perhaps surprised, but going up for sure!).  There’s NO such thing as a PARTIAL RAPTURE of the Church!

The same kind of ANALOGY can be applied to the idea of the Church, the BODY of Christ, being placed into the Tribulation.  Will Jesus, as THE HEAD, allow HIS BODY--His neck, arms, legs, torso, and those trampling feet--to be SEVERED FROM HIM and cast into that time when God will pour out His VENGEANCE upon those who ignored or rejected Him?.  ABSOLUTELY NOT!

The true Church has ACCEPTED God’s GIFT of His Only Begotten Son, and are BORN-AGAIN.  God will NOT punish these FAITHFUL ONES!  Jesus will NOT suffer again the anger of God upon HIS BODY (through those linked to Him as ONE).

Consider this--Jesus, as HEAD of His BODY, in heaven, will rip the seals off the scroll!  To allow the anger of God to fall upon His BODY (which is the true Church) would be THE SAME as Jesus PUNISHING a part of HIMSELF!

Can you picture the UTTER FOOLISHNESS of that idea?  Every time somebody says that the Church will be IN the Tribulation, I see JESUS there, too--because Jesus is ONE with His Church!

Read this carefully!  Since Jesus is so closely linked, ONE with His Church, I see Him as being JUDGED AGAIN--as ONE with His Church (in the Tribulation)--and this time, Jesus SCOURGES His OWN BODY--because His Body is the Church that’s IN that Tribulation!  I see Jesus RIP off the SEALS at God’s throne, AND PUNISH HIMSELF--He, Who LIVES in us!  (PLEASE MAKE NOTE--The seven seals on the scroll in Revelation 6 are the WRATH OF THE LAMB--and with the Church on earth to experience those seal judgments, Jesus puts HIMSELF--as ONE with us-- under the WRATH OF HIMSELF.)  Can you see the IMPOSSIBILITY of ALL this?  I hope you do.

I pray that illustration opens many eyes.  JESUS DIED TO REDEEM HIS BLOOD-BOUGHT ONES, and as we are BORN AGAIN and made ONE with Him, we will NEVER be in the Tribulation.  Do you see it?

I praise Jesus for our wonderful inheritance in Him.  There is so much more, and will put that into another blog.

JESUS IS SO WORTHY OF OUR LOVE AND PRAISE.  LET’S WORSHIP HIM IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS.

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