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Series: In His Image; Corporate Christ
Sun am 23 November 2014 – Kobus Swart
Isa. 4:1-6; Rev. 1:9-13; 2 Cor. 5:16; John 14:6; (John 16:14); Acts 1:9-11; Acts 3:21;
Col. 1:13-20; (2 Cor. 5:18-20); Rom. 8:29-MSG; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 10:12-13
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all in it – but it is not in good shape. The spirit of burning and of judgement is already in the earth. Here we find seven women running to one man, wanting to use his name, wanting to be validated by association. God is busy purging the earth and He is also washing away the filth of the daughters of Zion. (Isa 4:1-6).
John on the Island of Patmos said he heard a voice, and turned to see the voice and saw seven golden lampstands, seven churches (Rev. 1:9-13). In the midst of the lampstands he saw one who resembled a human being (Phillips translation) or the Son of man.
God says He will make all things new. When He made us new, did the old me and you have to first disintegrate? No, He did a cleansing process, a washing away and a re-creation process as it were. So God is going to make all things new including a new heavens and a new earth. God is in the process of doing that. God is requiring our participation, as the redeemed community, in the final phases of human history.
The Son of Man, who is He? If I ask each one of you individually, “Who is Jesus? Who is He to you?” We will have different answers. Firstly, He is seen as the historical Jesus of Nazareth from a first century Jewish perspective. Nothing wrong in reading the Scriptures and form a picture of Jesus of Nazareth. However, people are questioning the reality of the historical Jesus because they are looking at the Church. Then there is another ‘Jesus’ as defined by theologians in modern times, which is the ‘Jesus’ which is being re-defined in many ways. The question is, “How personal has Jesus become to you and me?” There is a growing tendency of people who believe and confess God, but no longer see the role played by the Son of God, Jesus Himself. They feel God is accessible to all and there are many ways to God (John 14:6).
Have you encountered the real Jesus? Is He just a concept, a myth of sorts? Or is He a living reality in your heart? Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer (2 Cor. 5:16). There has been a shift. Paul was the first if not the only apostle in the Bible that saw the shift from the Jesus of Nazareth to the post-resurrection Jesus Christ. Can you truly say that He is to you the truth, the way and the life? (John 14:6). Jesus is the exact representation of God. There is no way to know Jesus without the Holy Spirit (John 16:14). What is the Church reflecting? What does the Church advertise? What sound is being released into your world and relational environment?
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into [h]the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the (empty) sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). He will remain out of sight until all things said by the prophets have taken place (Acts 3:21). ‘This Jesus’ refers to the post-resurrection Jesus, who was able to be here now and a second later be anywhere else in the universe because He was in another dimension. This Jesus will come again.
This is the Jesus I believe in: For He rescued us from the domain of darkness (obscurity), and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (Col. 1:13-20). The people in His time had a problem identifying Him and seeing who He truly was.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him (Rom. 8:29 – MSG). Jesus was the first of a new humanity, different from what we are now. Resurrection life is on God’s agenda for us. Keep believing; keep embracing this Jesus because you are being made into His likeness, if you submit to the process.
Jesus had every right to walk this earth with a chip on His shoulder, but look at what He did: Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men, Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:5-8). One of the reasons why I believe in the corporate is, if any one of us or any human being had all the availability of power and glory that Jesus had, it would not be long and we would fall because of pride and not being able to handle equality with God. Jesus did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but He emptied Himself. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-10).
What is He doing now? But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet (Heb. 10:12-13). He is waiting for the rest of this new humanity, for the sons of God to rise up in the same spirit. We are called to be conformed to the image of this Son. Do not settle for anything less than this. This is the Jesus I believe in.