Posts Tagged 'the body of Christ'

The New Temple

JESUS SPEAKING

‘Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it was marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21: 42 – 44.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Many of the Jews rejected Jesus. In response He quoted an old testament prophecy that states ‘the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.’ Concerning architecture, a cornerstone is the first block laid down during the construction of a masonry foundation. Every other piece is set in reference to this one ceremonial stone; thus ensuring the proper orientation of the entire structure. Jesus came to destroy the old temple and to erect a new one in its place. This new temple is comprised of flesh and blood. God no longer dwells within any sacred building; instead He inhabits the hearts of all those who believe. Every faithful soul is a brick laid down upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. Those who deny the Lord will be crushed by Him; but those who believe will fall upon Him and be broken. This brokenness permits God to use us according to His desires; so that His Church may continue to grow.

Many years ago, a researcher named Jack Lipton attempted to study how the members of 11 different major symphony orchestras perceived each other. He found that the percussionists were viewed as insensitive, unintelligent, hard-of-hearing, and yet fun-loving. The string players were seen as arrogant, stuffy, and unathletic. The brass players were described as “loud,” whereas the woodwind musicians were held in the highest esteem; they were characterized as quiet, meticulous, but a bit egotistical. Quite interesting findings, to say the least. With such wildly divergent personalities and perceptions, how could these orchestras work together to create beautiful music? The answer is simple: regardless of how the musicians viewed one another, they sacrificed their biases and stereotypes in subordination to the leadership of the conductor. Under his guidance they were able to work together to generate inspiring music.

In a similar manner, we as Christians are called to sacrifice our own desires and concerns for the greater good. When we lay down our lives and submit to God we become members of the Body of Christ; an interconnected structure of individuals that collectively represents the new temple; the physical manifestation of Christ on this Earth. Jesus is our cornerstone, and when we rest ourselves down upon Him, we become bricks in the Church; a divine structural instrument that creates beautiful music. May we find value in fellowship with other believers; that our faith might continue to grow as God adds to His Church daily.

“Lord Heavenly Father, you are worthy of all honor and praise. May we be broken and added to the temple you have erected upon the foundation of your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to desire fellowship and embrace the gathering together of the brethren. Fill our hearts with Your Holy Spirit, that we might be used to add to Your Church daily. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.” God bless all of you!

Unity Vs Division

JESUS SPEAKING

   “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Mathew 12: 25.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Division produces strife; which in turn, creates weakness.  Although there are many forms of discord, by far the most damaging is ‘internal conflict.’   Hatred between friends is often more devastating than hatred among enemies.  Divisiveness breaks the bonds of marriage; it sets parents against their children; it tears families apart; it defeats armies and conquers entire nations.  The body of Christ is a divine family; made perfect in unity and peace.  Hatred and resentment have no place among God’s children; for hostility creates division; and division leads to destruction.

    Since its inception, the United States has been involved in many military confrontations.  Despite the numerous wars waged in foreign lands, the bloodiest conflict was actually fought on American soil.  The Civil War erupted in the 1860’s; ending nearly 620,000 lives and producing millions of crippled war veterans. The property damage was astronomical; the cost exceeding 6 billion dollars. In fact, the entire city of Atlanta was burned to the ground.  Railroads were destroyed; homes and businesses were looted and vandalized; entire crops were set ablaze. Many families were also torn in two. There are several historical accounts of siblings fighting against one another in battle.

    Much like 1860’s America, the church has at times, experienced great disunity.  The number of issues that have fostered division include: differing methods of baptism; observance of certain holidays; adherence to dietary restrictions; the structure of church authority; the recognition of a pope; priestly marriage; confessional; child baptism, etc. Avoiding such tedious divisions means placing our emphasis upon a common faith in Jesus Christ; choosing instead, to refrain from arguing over ‘uncertain things.’ We, as believers, are faithfully united in our acceptance of his sacrifice, the desire for obedience, and our hope in his future return. As eternal brothers and sisters, we are “all one in Christ Jesus.”

    “Lord Heavenly Father, we desperately desire spiritual unity.  Destroy the things that divide us; that we might love each other. Forgive our transgressions and cleanse our hearts of hatred and resentment. Strengthen Your body; that we may endure the hardships of this life as a family. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and we pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray,  amen.”  God bless all of you!

Jesus Creates Division

JESUS SPEAKING

    “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!  Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.  For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12: 49-53.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Jesus corrected the commonly held belief that he came to bring peace to the earth; his real purpose was to give everyone the opportunity to choose their eternal destinations for themselves.  The baptism Jesus underwent on the cross divided the world in two; some have accepted his sacrifice and followed his teachings; still others believe he was just a man, and the cross has no meaning in their lives.  On this earth the strongest of all bonds exists within the family unit. Loyalty among siblings is paramount; as is the fidelity between children and their parents; yet not even these sacred relationships can withstand the new order Christ’s sacrifice has produced; the believer’s new supreme allegiance belongs to the Son of God, and those who share this allegiance make-up, ‘The Body of Christ.’

    In the book of Luke, Jesus presented a man with the gospel, saying, “Follow me!”  The man responded, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus then replied, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you, go and preach the kingdom.”  Eventually another man came to him and said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”  Jesus responded saying, “No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.”  In both cases Jesus caused turmoil and separation; creating division between those who believe and those who do not.

    Jesus Christ is the prince of peace; however, he is also a sword that cuts the world in two.  He came to produce unity among his followers and division between those followers and everyone else.  Often, if we are at peace with the world, then we are in opposition to God. Persecution is also a very real part of genuine faith.  We will be divided from others and suffer numerous afflictions, but we will never be alone. We must be strong for each other; as a single body we can endure and overcome the world; through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ we can know victory.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You give us the strength to step out in faith.  We hunger for Your Word, and desire to be Your followers. May we be filled with love, and may we never be ashamed of the truth.  May our allegiance to You and to Your Son be supreme; may we never put anyone or anything ahead of You Lord. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.” God bless all of you!


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