Friday, June 17, 2016

"Living as part of the Lord's 'house' ..."

Day #169

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 125 - 127 …

Oh, how I pray that true believers will understand who they are!!  Peter writes, "As you come to Him, the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him (Jesus) - you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:4-5).  What God has revealed to us who believe in the days since the first coming of Jesus Christ is the greatest news ever told!  God is in the process of building a spiritual house and all those who believe are part of it!

The writers of the Psalms could not have possibly known or understood what God was going to do by sending His own Son into the world to go to the cross, to bear His wrath against sin and to redeem those who believed from every people, tribe, nation and tongue.  Yet, the words of Psalms 125, 126 and 127 point to the harvest of souls that God is now bringing in from the nations to build His spiritual house, the Church, and at the same time point to God's promise to His people, Israel, the Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

All these are songs that were sung as the people ascended Mount Zion to worship the LORD, their God.  Quite probably they were written before the temple was built, yet the words, inspired by the Spirit of God, point to the spiritual house that God is building that includes ALL who believe in the Savior, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ, the Redeemer!!  "Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever" (125:1).  "FOREVER" is a long time!!  God will establish the spiritual "Mount Zion," His dwelling place, on the new earth - forever, and He will live with mankind and we with Him (Revelation 21:1-3).  The entire Old Testament, along with the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament, point to this future reality!

But here in Psalm 125, it is not only Mount Zion that will be established, but "those who trust in the LORD!" We are LIKE Mount Zion and so we, too, cannot be shaken and we, too, will endure forever. Why? How??  "The LORD surrounds His people, both now and forevermore" (125:2).  Think back to the words of Psalm 46:  "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. …  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. … The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress" (Psalm 46:1,4,6).  There is a picture of what Psalm 125 is talking about.

Psalm 126 goes on to explain the JOY of those who were delivered by God from their enemies and brought back to Zion, the dwelling place of God.  "We were like men who dreamed!" (126:1).  This was true then, and it was surely true when Jews from all over the world were allowed to return to Jerusalem in our day, to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their descendants by God Himself.  Who could have imagined that this would happen?  The prophet Isaiah had predicted it in Isaiah 66, where he wrote, "Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?  Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children" (Isaiah 66:8).  So it happened on May 14th, 1948, and the nation and people of Israel stand as a testimony to the faithfulness of God to His promises and His people.

Even though most of them do not yet understand, "It was said among the nations; 'The LORD has done great things for them'" (126:2).  We in the church today who recognize these things bear witness to the faithfulness of Israel's God!  Meanwhile, in this day in which we live, God is at work building His spiritual house, as He has been doing since the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).  God has been and is at work fulfilling His promise to Abraham that in his "Seed" all nations on earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3).  Through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ God is calling people from all the nations to place their faith in Jesus and be saved.  God is pouring out His Spirit and opening the eyes of the blind and changing their hearts through the regenerating power of the Spirit through His Word.

Many today attempt to "build" the church through manmade methods and manmade messages, but all they build is a social club.  "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain" (127:1).  The Apostle Paul explains in Ephesians 2:15-22 that it was and is Gods' purpose "to create in Himself one new man out of the two … and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross" (Ephesians 2:15-16).  Then he writes, "Consequently, you (Gentiles) are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.  In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in Him you, too, are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit!" (Ephesians 2:19-22).

We who believe in Jesus Christ are part of God's house, the “holy temple” … the dwelling place of His very Spirit.  The Spirit of God lives within every true believer, making us "living stones."  Through the power of God's Spirit we are made new creations and are being built together to become that "spiritual house" that Peter wrote about in I Peter 2.  Now our lives are lived as part of the Lord's house, seeking to honor Him, to love Him, to serve Him, to please Him in all we say and do.

Knowing Christ is all about living as part of the Lord's house, reflecting His glory to the world around you.  "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain!"  Set your mind and heart on things above, on the God who saves those who trust in Him, and you will not be shaken, but will endure forever!!

"Holy God, You are the life in me, for Your Spirit lives within me.  Apart from You I have no life and no purpose, but in knowing Jesus as my Savior and Lord I have placed my trust completely in YOU, my Creator and my God.  I believe that I am part of the spiritual house You are building to receive Jesus when He returns.  Until then, hold me close to You and continue Your work in me, making me a living stone that exists to glorify You, my God, in Jesus' name, Amen"

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