RSS feed

Download the pdf file 

 

The beginning and the end define a line and the direction of that line, road or journey.

The book of Acts, the acts of the apostles, written by the physician Luke, begins with the physician telling us what Jesus was doing with His post resurrection days on Earth, until the day He was taken up to Heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen.  After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive.  He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.[1]

Jesus’ final concerns were not about the Kingdom of Heaven, not even about His church, although He was speaking to the church, His disciples, and He was certainly not concerned about the Kingdom of Israel.  So, what should we, the church, be concerned about?  Is it the church itself, or the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom of Israel?  Or is it the Kingdom of Darkness?  Not once did Jesus mention Satan post resurrection!

No, Jesus was concerned about the Kingdom of God, and He spoke to us, the church, about the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, the kingdom we should be fully devoted to is the Kingdom of God and its King.  And these are the last two verses of the book of Acts:  For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  Boldly and without hindrance he preached the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.[2]

The last recorded act of the apostle Paul, which was in his home where he was later martyred, was that he was teaching all who would listen, Jews and Gentiles, about the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was not teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, church growth, personal, material or spiritual blessings for believers, or the Kingdom of Israel, or even the church itself.  The apostle who has more letters published in the epistles than any other, and probably started more churches, and whose letters are used by the church to dictate doctrines and traditions, etc, was at the end of his apostleship  focussed only on the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, we are back to where we should be:  Focussed entirely on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God that He spoke of, a kingdom that Paul clearly wrote to the churches about.[3]  Now, do not be in error here, we are not ignoring the church, no, but the church is guilty of ignoring the Kingdom of God.

The relationship between the church and the Kingdom of God is like the relationship between the tent of meeting and the Kingdom of Israel in the Old Testament.  Which came first in the Old Testament – Israel or the tent?  It was of course Israel, for it was not until the Lord had delivered them from the Egyptians by a mighty display of His power that He told them to set up the tent of meeting, which later through David and Solomon became the temple at Jerusalem.

As Paul wrote to the Corinthian church:  Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?[4]  The ‘you’ being a plural collective ‘you’.  And again, He wrote:  For we are the temple of the living God.[5]  But did the temple come first or did the Kingdom of God come first?

Jesus said, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”[6]  He began to drive out demons before He began to teach His disciples about the church in Matthew 5:23-24.  The Kingdom of God came first and then Jesus began to teach His disciples, disciples who became the church and who would become the church, the temple of God in the Kingdom of God.  So far, the entire focus of the church, in extending the size of the kingdom, has been about building a larger and larger temple.  The relationship and focus are askew.

The kingdom came first, and then the tent of meeting, the temple, was built, and that tent of meeting, which was what God wanted, was mobile.  The temple at Jerusalem was what David wanted.  Wherever the Tent of Meeting was, the Kingdom of Israel was, so that in the forty years of wandering in the desert, wherever the tent was, there was the Kingdom of Israel around it.  Likewise, we who are the temple of God, wherever we are, so there is the Kingdom of God around us, a kingdom, which like Israel of old, would occupy the land wherever they were, and if they encountered any nations foreign to theirs, they were permitted to destroy them and drive them out.  But they were not allowed to destroy or occupy the kingdoms of their cousins, the descendants of Lot and Esau, the Moabites, Ammonites and Seir.[7]

Once they entered Canaan, God defined their boundaries so that the Kingdom of Israel was to sit in the midst of all the other nations.  A kingdom within which was housed the Ark of the Covenant, and a nation of miraculous power as well as physical, military and economic power, unrivalled by any other kingdom.  Unfortunately, they did not obey the Lord, and they developed the idolatry of the temple.  When they disobeyed the command of God, they thought as long as they had the temple in their midst, they would be safe and fine, but God said to them, “Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place.  Do not trust in deceptive words and say, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!’  If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.  But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.”[8]

You see, it is not about the presence of the temple or the preaching of words, it is about the action, deeds and the way things are done.  Jesus was not just a preacher, but a doer of things impossible with man but possible only with God.  Anyone can preach, anyone can say they have received a message from God or an angel, and make you convert at the point of a sword, but no one has ever done what Jesus has done, raise up a religion, a church, without inciting His followers to the violence of war, but rather, empowering His disciples to do what He has been doing, healing the sick, causing the blind to see and the lame to walk, and raising the dead.

The Kingdom of Israel was not defined by the presence of the temple, but by their deeds, and the presence of the temple without the proper deeds of the people of the kingdom made its purpose so superfluous that God destroyed the temple.

This must serve as a warning to those who idolise the church for its own sake, saying, “We are the church, we are the church, the temple of the Lord.”  And yet their actions, deeds and ways do not conform to the proper conduct of the Kingdom of God that came before the church was set up.  Likewise, unless we change our ways, actions and deeds, and do not rely on worthless works, God will do to the church as He did to Solomon’s temple, even though He loves the church for it was built by His own Son, Jesus. 

And what are the ways we are to change, what are our actions and deeds supposed to be?  We must prove to God that the church, the temple of God built by His Son, deserves to remain on Earth by manifesting from the church, from the temple and around the temple, the Kingdom of God in a way that is acceptable to God.  That is, the presence of the church, the people, causes the Kingdom of God to manifest in such a way that the lame walk, the blind see and the food is multiplied.  And the words spoken by the church must be the full message of the new life in Jesus Christ.  All other words are worthless.  Without the Kingdom of Israel, the temple would have been meaningless, likewise without the Kingdom of God, the church is meaningless.  That is why, to the church Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God before He ascended to Heaven.  That is why the apostle who started more churches than anyone else of his day, spoke at the end of his career not of raising up more churches or growing bigger mega churches, but of the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

If God was really into big churches, he would have never permitted the Jerusalem church to be scattered, but rather, would have protected it until it was the biggest church in the city and remained so to influence the city, as they say, to have an impact on the city.  The permitting by God of the scattering of the mega Jerusalem church of at least 5000 families in a city of no more than 20,000 to 30,000 families is a clear and present sign that mega churches are not really part of the Kingdom of God’s plan.  Small groups at full power, preferably pairs of disciples at full power, like the twelve,[9] like the 72,[10] and like the two witnesses of Revelation 11… can you see?  Are your eyes open yet?  The Jerusalem mega church would be like having a single church of 400,000 to 1,000,000 in this city of Sydney alone, meeting every Sunday in say, Darling Harbour, with all the sick being healed and demons driven out at every one of their services.

The mini churches of pair by pair held miraculous services where just a pair would heal many more times their number and preach to even more.  For a mega church to match the two by two plan, a church of 18,000 would have to be healing 36,000 plus per meeting, and preaching to 36,000 plus unsaved people per meeting to meet the efficiency rate of God’s two by two plan.  Are you seeing this yet?

By the time of Jeremiah, it is obvious from God’s complaint in Jeremiah 7:4 that the Kingdom of Israel was no longer behaving as it should.  It was speaking as it should, but not behaving as it should.  It was oppressing the aliens, the fatherless and the widows, and shedding innocent blood.  It was stealing, murdering, committing adultery and perjury, burning incense to Baal and following other gods.  It was because the Kingdom of Israel was not doing what it was supposed to be doing that the temple was destroyed and Israel was banished.

Now, what of the Kingdom of God?  Are the people who say they belong to the Kingdom of God doing what they are supposed to be doing?  And what do people of the Kingdom of God do?  Firstly, they drive out demons, and with power witness for Jesus, proving what Jesus said, “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”  Paul said, the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power,[11] not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.[12] 

Jesus said to the church, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses…”[13]  The church is meant to display the Kingdom of God through its actions, and the Kingdom of God is then meant to maintain and give purpose to the church’s existence.  The two are symbiotic; one cannot exist without the other, although one came first.  The kingdom came first, then the temple was built as a sign that God was dwelling in the kingdom.  However, without the kingdom, the temple has no purpose.

Unless we are able to change our ways, actions and deeds, and manifest again the Kingdom of God, then there is no need for the temple, the church.  Thus, your work as the elect who have been set aside by the Holy Spirit is to continue where the last survivor of the first pair of elect left off, to boldly and without hindrance, preach the Kingdom of God, and teach about the Lord Jesus Christ.  And we take it one step further; we are to teach about the Kingdom of God that which we now know, and preach about Jesus Christ and His soon return, for we teach what we know and we preach what we believe. 

Paul, in his career, saw the church forsake the New Covenant and under the teachings of men from James, go back under the Law of Moses and lose the power that was integral and essential for the church to manifest the Kingdom of God.  It is only because God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish but all to come to repentance,[14] that He has permitted and humoured the powerless preaching of His Son’s Gospel by so much of the church, and watched her over the centuries become Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abominations of the Earth,[15] for within her were still many courageous believers who gave up their heads and lives for the sake of their testimony of Christ and the word of God.  But just as God came to a place in time with Israel and Jerusalem where He said, “Enough!” and this time it is not to the avenging angel to withdraw,[16] so now, we will and have come to the place and time when the destruction of the prostitute church has arrived.

The presence of the elect of the Holy Spirit, like the first two, is to keep the church safe from error and therefore from punishment.  The elect are to first restore the Kingdom of God, its ways, deeds and actions, so that God might yet relent and not tear down this temple as He did the last one.  Our success will mean that there will be a temple of God, the present temple of God, waiting to greet the Lord on His arrival, and just as the cloud of glory filed the temple when Solomon first finished it, so then the temple will be taken up into the clouds of glory when Jesus arrives.  The temple that has been purified and sanctified again because it has repented and is now listening to Jesus and practising His words under the supervision of the Holy Spirit; the temple that is protected by the Kingdom of God and the temple that blesses the kingdom.

The symbiotic relationship between the kingdom and the temple has now been rekindled.  The Kingdom of God has returned to rebuild the temple like the Israelites returned from exile, and the finished temple doing what it is supposed to do will bless the kingdom.  Except, whereas the temple was in the Kingdom of Israel, for us the Kingdom of God is in the temple.  The relationship may be inverted, but the effect is the same, once both the temple and the Kingdom of God are both doing what they were meant to do, God is glorified, that is what counts.  It is not that the temple is glorified; it is not that the Kingdom of Israel is glorified; God is glorified.  It is not that the church is glorified or the Kingdom of God is glorified, no, it is God who is glorified.  God glorified… is when the kingdom and the temple are doing what is right in God’s eyes.

Now, are your eyes open to see where we have come back to?  The future… Acts 28:32 awaits you, church. 

Let Your kingdom come, O Lord;

Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. 

For You have given us our daily bread and forgiven us our trespasses,

and have not led us into temptation;

but have delivered us from the evil one and his kingdom through Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Send Him back, O God— for His kingdom and His temple await Him. 

Fear not, O Lord.  Not only will the Son of Man find faith when He returns,

but His kingdom and His temple await Him. 

Amen




[1] Acts 1:2-3

[2] Acts 28:30-31

[3] Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 4:20

[4] 1 Corinthians 3:16

[5] 2 Corinthians 6:16 

[6] Matthew 12:28

[7] Deuteronomy 2:9,19,4

[8] Jeremiah 7:3-8

[9] Mark 6:7

[10] Luke 10:1

[11] 1 Corinthians 4:20

[12] Romans 14:17

[13] Acts 1:8

[14] 2 Peter 3:9

[15] Revelation 17:5

[16] 1 Chronicles 21:15

|


Notice: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' in /home/holyspiritsworks/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Notice: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' in /home/holyspiritsworks/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ultimate_ga.php on line 524