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How to Be the Church, (Not Just Go to Church)

How to Be the Church, (Not Just Go to Church)

It was always the plan from the beginning.

The Spirit hovered over creation, and God walked among man in the cool of the day, and so He has always wanted His Spirit to be present and dwelling in us. It has always been the plan. Even when we messed it up, the invitation has remained the same: come nearer. “Let us dwell in the house of the Lord”. Resist the urge to run away in fear or to reject Him heartlessly.

But in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit could not inhabit inside a person because man on the inside was unclean and holy. It was only after Jesus appeared on the earth, died and resurrected that made it available for us to be cleansed and holy from the inside! So, in the Old Testament, the people of God were invited to a physical place called a tabernacle, temple or synagogue. In that place they can come into the Presence of God and enjoy Him. In the Old Testament, you had to go to church!

Now since Jesus had come, the invitation that was from the beginning of time can be given out again: “Come, let Me dwell within you.”  Since the New Testament, instead of us being invited from the outside, instead of inviting you to come to a physical tabernacle, temple or place of worship, this invitation is from within us. God wants to make you His dwelling place. Since the New Testament, you get to be The Church.

For one who is born again and surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ, you are now the dwelling place and temple of the Holy Spirit. You have already come into His Presence because He dwells in you. All we need to do is not tune Him out. He has made you holy and perfected you, so live it, being holy and perfect. He has cleansed you, so remain pure and clean. He has loved you all this time, so love Him back. He has given you a powerful voice and testimony, so use it powerfully and without fear.

God’s Holy Spirit dwells in you, so let Him out and show His effect to the world. You are the Church, the Dwelling Place of the Holy Spirit.

When Hope Came Back to Life

When Hope Came Back to Life

Here was a man who valiantly gained favor with men. He was the man they hoped would throw the present kingdom of His day. He was very promising. Moving with such power and might, He was championed by the masses and the underdogs.

He spoke so many wonderful things about the kingdom of His Father, and He wowed many with his words. And yet He was spit on, beaten, and flogged while carrying a wooden cross and was dressed in a purple robe, crowned with thorns. This was not the king they hoped for.

And then He was crucified and His clothes divided and cast into lots by those who mocked Him. He was heard crying, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” until finally He breathed His last breath and died. This was not the king they hoped for.

It could have been a tragedy—a man who willingly went out to die for His beloved, His bride. Their hope had died with him on the cross that day, for the people did not hold Him at His word and they thought His death was an ending to the Kingdom they’d hope for, but it was in fact, just the beginning.

As He took His last breath on the cross that day, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” (Matt. 27:51-52)

The moment He died, it wasn’t just the saints who had passed on before us that came back to life, because through His death, we who were also spiritually dead were given the chance to walk into eternal life. It was for the joy that was set before Him that He endured the cross (Heb. 12:2), knowing full well that what He would gain was far greater than what He was about to lose. This was the price that He paid for, this is how much He loved His bride! And now He sits at the right hand of the Father, awaiting with anticipation the Bride He willingly died for!

This “realm of death” describes our former state, for we were held in sin’s grasp. But now, we’ve been resurrected out of that “realm of death” never to return, for we are forever alive and forgiven of all our sins! He canceled out every legal violation we had on our record and the old arrest warrant that stood to indict us. He erased it all—our sins, our stained soul—he deleted it all and they cannot be retrieved ! Everything we once were in Adam has been placed onto his cross and nailed permanently there as a public display of cancellation. (Col. 2:13‭-‬14)

Hope is not lost. Hope is not dead. Hope is alive because Jesus is alive! He is risen and in Him is eternal life!

Remember what he said to his disciples before? “You have a sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22) It’s the dawn of a new day, and I say to you, look ahead with anticipation and watch the revelations of God unfold before your very eyes. The promise of irrevocable joy is now yours if you are willing to take it. Take off your grave clothes and put on instead the cloak of righteousness in Christ Jesus.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)

Jesus is His name. God with us. The Prince of Peace. Champion of Heaven. Our Living Hope.