YAHSHUA  BEHOLD, HE COMETH WITH CLOUDS; AND EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, AND THEY ALSO WHICH PIERCED HIM: AND ALL KINDREDS OF THE EARTH SHALL WAIL BECAUSE OF HIM.  EVEN SO, AMEN. REVELATION 1:7.

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THE CHURCH

 

THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH

 

© Carlos Padilla, July 2010

 

 

... For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you ... Luke 17:21

 

The Holy Spirit has been, and still is, doing the awesome work of raising His Church, since Pentecost; and the Holy Spirit has been keeping the Church alive since then, in spite of all the attacks and persecutions throughout history, until He delivers it to Jesus Christ upon His coming, and He has also done this work, and still does it, through His people. We will see all of this very clearly in the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem, known as Temple of Zerubbabel. The story is told and mentioned in the Old Testament by several prophets.

... Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. 3 Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” 4 So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?” 5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” 6 So he answered and said to me:“ This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘ Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. 7 ‘ Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” 8 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 9 “ The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 10 For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” 11 Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left? 12 And I further answered and said to him, “What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?13 Then he answered me and said, “Do you not know what these are?” and I said, “No, my lord.” 14 So he said, “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.” Zechariah 4:6.

Again, a prophetic reflection of Gethsemane in the two olive trees that provide oil like gold, the oil press, the anointment of the Spirit. The Lord awakes Zerubbabel's spirit, the leader of Judah and the spirit of the High Priest and the spirit of the people so that they accomplish the work of the reconstruction of the Temple of the Lord, the House of the Lord, the symbol of the Church in our New-Testament age. The story tells us about the prophetic vision on the construction of the the Church, our specific church or congregation. In order to do this, we must have oil, the Lord's anointing. The Text shows us the two anointed ones. Moses and Elijah appear in the transfiguration of the Lord, and this is what we are told at the time: ...“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. Luke 16:16. In the transfiguration, the Father gave the instruction: While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” Matthew 17:5. Therefore the Gospel that the Lord has taught us is our foundation and our means to win souls for His Kingdom. We can read more about it in Haggai 1:1

...1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, 2 “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.”’”3 Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” 5 Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!  6 “ You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

Countries, regions, cities, families, individuals and churches who do not place the work of the Lord as priority, ... But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you... Matthew 6:33 and only look for their own blessings from the Lord, they will receive what the Lord warns about in this Text, which is a jewel of the construction, life and purpose of the Church.

 7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord. 9 “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.” 12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the Lord.” 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius. Haggai 1.

Such a relevant event as the construction of the second Temple of Jerusalem is due to a tremendous miracle by the Lord, explained in Ezra 1, when the Lord of heavenly Hosts stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia (Iran, in our times), who signs a proclamation whereby he instructs for the Jews to be sent to Jerusalem to build the Temple because Cyrus says: Yahweh is the only true God. This miracle is accomplished by the Jews listed in Ezra 2:2. led by Zerubbabel; fulfilled, although there were attempts to stop it, by the decree re-confirmed by Darius, king of Persia in Ezra 5:5 as a response to the attempt of opposition of the provinces surrounding Judea, which are the nations that, nowadays, also oppose. It is also confirmed in 7:7. They are all essential Texts of the Word of God to understand how God plans and designs the construction of His Church.

Today, we see that Jerusalem does not have the favour of the surrounding kings or leaders, they are threatened instead, but the curse over those anti-Semite nations, enemies of Judah, is still in force in the Bible, we see the results, since the Lord is who will deal with Judah and Israel directly, and not the world, in accordance with their hearts. It will be the fulfillment of the pending prophecy, the conversion of the Jews to Yahshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ, when God wipes their sins away, the same way as He did with us, the rest of the nations, the gentiles who have received the Lord as Saviour, because He loved us before, whilst we were still in our sins, just like they are in theirs. This is what Apostle Paul reminds us of in Romans 11:25-36 so that we are not arrogant.

The  story of Zerubbabel is the key of faith for building the Church. It helps us understand that it is the Lord's work, not ours, and that we have the privilege and responsibility of sharing it with Him. God touches the hearts of ordinary people just like the heart of leaders of all nations, and makes the great miracles of history. Let us pray so that in our nations, today, we are given leaders who, like Zerubbabel and Joshua, make it a priority for the pastors and all the brethren to be able to dedicate ourselves to raise the Church of the Lord until the coming of Jesus Christ on the air.

In my years as a boy-scout one of my passions was going camping to the mountains nearby, where we used to do abseiling, treasure hunts, cross rivers and lakes on canoes and one time we even did a survival exercise, spending the night on our own. Often we used to go to a place we knew well, close to a mountain village, in a location which we used to refer to as the base camp, next to the river. It was the meeting point and the place where we planned all the activities once we had walked into nature, going up the course of the river. At night we used to make a camp fire and we would all sit around it to listen to stories that the teacher used to tell and we would speak about the adventures we had experienced, and we sang songs. The experience was as good as it gets for young teenagers; it was a healthy atmosphere, the teachers were good people and we used to have a great time with our best friends.

One of the adventures was a real challenge, which not many wanted to do. It was called "the solo". Spending the night on your own in the middle of the c woods was something that not many kids fancied. We left the base camp and went up the river, where each kid was left in a specific location, approximately 200 metres away from the previous one, as we went up the meander of the river which was about 3,5 metres wide in some areas, with small waterfalls and deep lagoons where to swim. Once you were left on your own it's where it started getting exciting for 12 and 13 year old kids, in an area where there were some wild animals, a few foxes, rabbits, eagles and hawks. A real adventure at the time. There were no mobiles or GPS devices. If you had a problem you could always return to the base camp. I invite church leaders to do these type of adventures with their teen groups.

The Lord reminded me of that unforgettable experience some days ago, when I was writing about the Church, pillar and bastion of the truth, since this experience holds a symbolic story that will help many Christians to see their local church as a base camp where they should always go to as a meeting point and to plan the adventure of the Great Commission which the good Master Jesus Christ instructed us with. This "solo" experience is where they will use their talents and gifts of the Lord for the greatest purpose of all: to serve the Lord, but it is also where they will learn to get the oil for the anointment of their souls, like those five wise virgins who entered into the wedding of the Lamb. Matthew 25. I recommend you to do prayer retreats, like the Lord taught us in Gethsemane, the garden of the olive trees. It was in Gethsemane, the base camp of our Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, in front of the Temple, where He drank the cup of our sin, where His sweat was like drops of blood, where an angel visited Him to strengthen Him, someone who takes the prayers of the Church so that the Lord would see the future of His work, where He used to meet with His disciples to instruct them about the Great Commission, and also where He was betrayed. The church, our base camp, the garden of olives, Gethsemane. From the aramaic word meaning "oil press".

Both pupils and teachers enjoyed the base camp, just like Christians, elders, the pastor and the church will also enjoy the spiritual base camp, their church, their homes and meetings, to learn and live together sharing all the activities and ministries that will change the lives of those who receive Jesus as their saviour, through the Gospel preaching. The river of crystal clear and drinkable waters that was the guide to the base camp reminds us of the guide of the Holy Spirit, that will always lead us to the presence of the Lord in prayer, like rivers of living water in our soul, and to the congregation to share Christian life. At the light of the fire of the Spirit, a deep and meaningful preaching will shape the soul, the mind and the heart of Christians, who will sing praise in the presence of the Lord. Prepared and comforted, knowing that we have a base camp, fellow adventurers and teachers who, like the good shepherd, love the flock, Christians can take part in the good works, from the heart, and in the name of Jesus Christ.

There are certain requirements to create and build up a good project for camping and adventure activities...likewise, it is necessary to have a clear vision and God's love for the Church and for all of its congregations, as well as wisdom from the Lord, in order to understand that they are Jesus' project universally, which the Father has entrusted in the hands of pastors and prophets inspired by the Holy Spirit who gives each and everyone of us, according to the times, culture and country, a church project to bless souls. We generally see the division of Christianity in many denominations as a weakness, but it would be good to see it as an advantage and another evidence of God's love for His people, adapting the manners and practices to the different communities. We all know that traditionalists, ritualists and conservatives would never walk into a Pentecostal and emotional church, and neither do congregationalists accept the episcopal or presbyterian systems. But the Lord manifests Himself in every congregation where, setting aside the forms of expression and government, doctrine is the sound doctrine of the New Testament taught by the Master, and it is not that difficult to walk in the Ways of the Lord if it is our will, like He teaches us in Luke 11:9: ...So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you... God makes us partakers of His Kingdom in His Church.

 

THE CHURCH, THE LORD'S KINGDOM ON EARTH

...For our citizenship is in heaven... Philippians 3:20

The word "ekklesia" (church) appears for the same time in the Greek text of the New Testament when Jesus refers to the congregation of His disciples, those who confess Him as the Son of God through faith in His redeeming work on the Cross as the resurrected Messiah who sits to the right of God the Father. Matthew 16:16. The meaning comes from the word used to call those outside to come in to gather, congregate or form an assembly. The Church, therefore, is the temporary congregation on earth of those of us who will be citizens of the Kingdom of the Lord, who will live in the new creation, Revelation 21, called the Kingdom of God. The Church is made up by all of us who have been called, and those who will be called through our preaching of the Gospel, to become part of the Body of Christ for whom He gave His life. The Church belongs to God. Jesus Christ, Yahshua, died for the Church. The Holy Spirit governs it.

...Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5.

... For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16. The Church seen in parables is one of the Master's teachings. The Lord compared His Church with His bride, His body, His flock, His house, His kingdom... Christians are the citizens of that kingdom and we live temporarily on earth, but our destiny is not of this world, but of the one to come, where we will reign with God throughout eternity. ...My kingdom is not of this world... John 18:36.

In order to become part of the Kingdom of the Lord it is necessary to be born again from the Holy Spirit, who will baptize us in Jesus Christ making us members of the Church through faith in God's plan for our salvation. God's plan is, and is fulfilled - as we already know - in the redeeming work of His Son Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary as Lam of God that takes away the sins of the world. To believe in God is the key and His message is that we believe in His Son Jesus Christ as our Saviour. 1John 5:11, Who takes us to the Father: ...I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me...John 14:6.

By believing that the only way to reconcile ourselves with God is through God's plan for salvation, for which He gave His Son Jesus Christ, we recognize that we are sinners and that we have no merits of our own to save ourselves, receiving God's salvation through His love, not through Law which we are unable to fulfill. One we have believed through faith, the Holy Spirit looks after us and makes us become part of His Church until the second coming of Jesus Christ to establish the new heaven and the new earth where the Lord's justice dwells. In the meantime, we live sharing a Christian life with our brethren, working for those who still need to receive the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Lord.

In order to announce to the open public our new Christian condition who has been born again through faith, John 3:3, and join in as part of the Church and a specific local congregation or church, the Lord taught us and instructed us to baptize in water as a symbol of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ gave us His example by being baptized Himself by His cousin John the Baptist to fulfill all righteousness. Once we are members of the Kingdom of the Lord we celebrate the victory of our King, Jesus Christ, partaking in the Holy Supper, taking bread and wine that are the symbols of the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ, until He comes down from heaven, and thus we will bear witness, not only on earth but in heaven, in presence of the angels, here and now, that we are children of God, body of Christ, a nation of kings and priests of the Kingdom of the Lord.

Once we are all members of the Body of Christ, or Church that He has bought for the price of His own Blood, we are spiritually built in a personal growth through the teaching of the Holy Spirit of the Word of God to give Him the glory, taking the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Lord to those around us for the salvation of our neighbour. We commit ourselves to attend to worship the Lord, because we love our heavenly Father, we come to the Church to praise Him and to get ready to preach the Gospel to those around us and invite all those who do not know the Lord to attend the Church.

As members of the Church, and our church in particular, we will be part of a work project to help others who are in need, spiritual, physical, mental or emotional need, in the circumstances of their lives, to praise the Lord because we love Him and our neighbour. Grateful, because God has transformed our lives into lives full of plenitude, purpose, commitment and spiritual victory for the regeneration and for His immense mercy and compassion towards us, we also want that those who convert to the Lord enjoy His blessings.

Our belonging to a specific church must be based on God's love. In our church is where we will find that love and where we will enjoy a brotherly fellowship amongst our brethren, who are our real friends, where one feels part of the Lord's family, where the disciple of Christ can be part of the Lord's family, and where we will enjoy serving Jesus Christ with our lives, until His coming.

A mature and trained Christian has a ministry, a mission to fulfill that is know to all as "The Great Commission" in Matthew 28:19: ... Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations ... this is how the Church has been going for two thousand years throughout the world preaching the Gospel. The commitment and obedience to fulfill the Great Commission is though Matthew 22:37-40, the Great Commandment, the love of God. The church where we share our lives must provide us with sufficient tools for spiritual growth and training to be effective for the work. A Christian must pray and search with the Lord for his/her gifts to serve in the Church and, once they are identified, get to work with them, taking part in the different ministries that make up the work of the church.

The church we belong to must teach the Word of God in sound doctrine, theologically based on the Bible as the sole guide of conduct and life according to the New Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ. A theology that must be the same as the one taught by the Lord's apostles, taught by the first Christians of the New Testament. It must be governed by pastors and elders who emanate God's love, brotherly love and knowledge of God and His Word. That they have evangelization projects using all means within their reach. That they worry about the brethren so that they enjoy a close, friendly and brotherly relationship, so that they grow to their full potential, helping them in all the needs of their lives, making sure that all members participate in worship, praise, the Lord's Supper, evangelization and good works, giving glory to the Lord. That they have projects for the neighbour in good works, which are so badly needed. That it is all done for the Lord's glory. Then, those Christians who really want to be part of the Church of Christ has found - or should we better say that the Lord has taken him to - a church that is part of the True Church of Jesus Christ. Now the Christian must prove, by his fruits, his commitment to surrender his life to Christ and lay down his life for the brethren in the Church carrying his cross to win new souls for the Body of the Lord.

... For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20.

... the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, n

If, in your Church, you do not find the Biblical structure, fight for it. If you do not try, nothing will improve; be patient, pray and share your commitment with the elders in your church. If you have attempted it and is not possible, look for another church where you are part of the Body of Christ. The structure for a Christian to develop his Christian life as member of the Church of God is explained in The 7 Pillars of Christian Life and Church, which we can read below, where one can clearly see that it is the Lord's powerful hand which makes it possible, through Jesus Christ, for the Holy Spirit to turn our lives into effective lives for the Great Commission, for our own spiritual joy, and filled with the Lord's love for His glory.

 

THE 7 PILLARS OF CHRISTIAN LIFE AND CHURCH AS THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The 7 pillars of God's project for building the structure of Christian life as Church and Kingdom of God on earth lead us to the change of mind called repentance, to change our heart, our life and mission, and to receive the Lord's blessing:

1.- John 3:16

Because God loved us first, whilst we were still in our sins, when we did not love Him, and loved us in such a way that He gave His Son, His first begotten, the One He loved, the Son in whom He was well pleased, the perfect Son who loved the Father and was able and courageous, because of His love for us, of offering Himself out of His own will to die on the Cross descending from His throne in Heaven. There is no greater love than this. This is the beginning of God's work.

...  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16.

2.- John 1:12

This is why God sends us a messenger who preaches the Gospel to us, and through this preaching we receive the gift of faith. Faith is the Lord's gift. The Gospel of John calls this gift the Work of God: ...Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent. John 6:29.

... But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. John 1:12.

 3.- John 3:3.

The Work of God, as we have read above, is faith, which brings us to repentance or change of mind, making us receive the Son of God as our Saviour, because this is God's plan for the salvation of human kind, there is no other. Faith makes us be born again so that we can see the Kingdom of God and enter inside it.

... Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3.
 

4- Mark 12:29

When we are born again, we become a new creature to Christ's spiritual likeness, Who grants us, through spiritual birth, a new heart full of God's love, and this makes us want, willingly, and not as an imposed commandment, to fulfill the main and Great Commandment loving God, brethren and neighbour.

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:29.

5.- Matthew 28.

Man, by nature, does not bring God's love in his heart, or love towards his enemies because this is against human nature; but God has shown us in His Son Jesus Christ - Yahshua - that He is the most powerful force that changes man's heart. This new love that we experiment and that comes from above - which we have identified as love for God - makes us become evangelists because we love our neighbour who do not know God, so that they can save their souls and enjoy God's presence today and until His Kingdom comes. This love allows us to be able to fulfill the Great Commission of Matthew 28 to give God glory and praise.

... And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18.
 

6.- 1John 3:16

A Christian has two spiritual legs to walk with. One is preaching the Gospel, and the other one, good works. If there are good works but the Gospel is not preached, we are walking lame. If we preach the Gospel but we do not help those in need, how does the love of God abide in us?. Christian life is a life of fullness for the Glory of the Lord. In order to help us walk with the two legs in shape, there is nothing better than bending them and kneeling down every single day in our privacy with God so that, in Jesus' name, as members of our church, the Holy Spirit sends us out to do those works that we have been designed by God for, and by witnessing through them we can preach so that whoever listens may enter the Lord's Kingdom if he receives God's work in His heart, God's faith and love.

... Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 1John 3:16.

7.- Revelation 21.

Our hope of life, the promise of the Gospel of salvation, His coming, to establish and live in the Kingdom of the Lord eternally. We are also given this hope in Revelation 1:7 where it describes how the Lord will come with clouds, just like He ascended, and every eye will see Him. This is our hope, not just for us and our beloved ones, but also for our neighbour, those who will listen to us and receive Christ and who will also be transformed and come to a new paradise of the Lord throughout eternity.

... Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21.

 

THE 7 CHURCHES OF REVELATION. CHARACTER FOR THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD.

In Revelation 2 is where we find the characteristics of the 7 churches of those times, but they are a reflection of the character of the church throughout the times of the Gentiles. In that description we will learn, briefly, some characteristics that are approved by God and some warnings in order to prevail on the Way of the Lord.

The church in Ephesus can be identified with the city where there was a temple and worship to Artemis or Diana, who is the symbol of the idolatry to a mother-goddess. But additionally, the warning is that they have left their first love, and this is their love for Jesus Christ. The two of them go hand-in-hand, When the love for God cools down, there is idolatry. This is where Paul had problems with Demetrius, who was a silversmith who made shrines. Ephesus was also a cross-roads of trading routes where idolatry was distributed to the rest of the world of those times. Many people stopped buying idols due to Paul's preaching, and Demetrius' business dropped, hence he complained to the authorities.

The virtue of patience in the test of those who are not true apostles, and hard work for the sake of love of the Lord's name. This is the character of the first church, adopted from paganism. Called to repentance returning to the first works and thus being able to eat from the tree of life, that is in the middle of the Lord's paradise.

The church in Smyrna is identified with myrrh, due to its name; the bitterness of hosting false Jews and the synagogue of Satan, but the Lord asks to be faithful until death in order to inherit the crown of life and not to suffer harm of the second death. It can be related with the church made up by Jews who wanted to judaize amongst Christians of the first millennium a.D.

The church in Pergamum is identified with the pergamum paper, which is the origin of the use of this name due to its famous library, which was only second to the one in Alexandria. The Lord warns that He has the sharp two-edged sword, which we all identify with His Word, the Bible, that can either bless or condemn and is more powerful that the sword of the world, the human knowledge that was available there. This knowledge, taken to the extreme, makes men turn it into idolatry and its consequence - in the case of images - is fornication and every marital disorder, since when someone has idolatry for something he/she leaves God aside, the true spiritual husband of the soul.

This does not mean that God does not want us to have historical, scientific or philosophical knowledge, amongst others, but it is absolutely essential that the Word of God is in our heart first. The Lord says that is we are faithful He will give us the hidden manna, the food of His Word in revelation and He himself in Holy Supper, until His coming, to eat with Him in His Kingdom, and the white stone with our new name.

The church in Thyatira is also related to the worship of idols, due to the fact that the greek-roman culture was essentially idolatrous, and every town had their own god or patron. It was the place to trade purple, the symbol of grandeur that was used in royal clothing, temples, etc. In spite of this, they had works, love, faith and service but they tolerated a prophetess. The Lord is who searches the minds and hearts, He knows what we cannot see in every person, whether they are or they are not true worshippers of the Lord. But in Thyatira there were many who did not have doctrines of idolatry and they will also receive power over the nations and the morning star. It can be identified with those Christians who did not accept the Vatican's doctrine before the protestant reform.

The church in Sardis, the capital of Lydia, also related to purple, it is not complimented for the perfection of its works, on the contrary, it is warned that it is spiritually dead. It is usually related with the church of the end of the middle ages. As opposed to the purple garments, they are offered white garments, the ones preferred by the Lord in their spiritual meaning. The grandiosity in humbleness and salvation opposed to the purple of the self-centred grandiosity of pride. Those who overcome will not have their name deleted from the book of life, and it will be confessed before the Father by the Son.

The church in Philadelphia is seen as the perfect church, the evangelical church that lives for Jesus Christ and for the neighbour. Its name relates to brotherly love. It has the virtue of keeping the Word of God, therefore there is no idolatry and they praise the name of the Lord. We also see that it is related with those who call themselves Jews but they are not, and the Lord speaks of His love for this church, also symbolically linked to the true messianic or Christian Jews, who - together with the Gentile Christians - make up the people of the Lord. We shall be kept from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, a symbol of the rapture of 1Thessalonians 4:17. Those who overcome shall be made a pillar in the Temple of God receiving His name. 

The church in Laodicea is where we find those who, in the end of times, and generally, show themselves as "enlightened", they know everything and they do not look for how to serve the Lord and the Church but their own glory. It is interesting to point out that Laodicea was the most advanced ophthalmic treatment centre at the time, and a famous city for their ophthalmic ointment. Therefore the Lord advises them to buy spiritual eye-salve for them to see. The Lord reproaches this church for being lukewarm, which He abhors - and so does anybody that has the fire of the spirit of the Lord. The gold refined in the fire is a symbol of the need to have our feet washed, because the gold of our lives needs to be refined from the dross of sin under the fire of the Most High. God loves us and therefore He disciplines us. He is at the door and knocks, if anyone opens the door of their heart to the preaching, the Lord will come in and dine, and we will sit down with Him in the Throne of God.

 

CONCLUSION

This is our reward, once we are in the Way of Salvation through Christ's merit, live a life of blessing where we see God's hand and the work of the Holy Spirit in the calling, the restoration and the salvation of God's people.

Are you committed with your church to fulfill the Great Commission? Do you find in your church an efficient project to succeed in it? If you dislike being in the Church now on earth and you do not want to live a Christian life and share it with Christians, how are you going to spend eternity with them? As long as the church where one attends is a true reflection of Christ's church, a Christian will want to be part of it, and not being just a simple attendee to listen to the preaching, whether it may be in a home or a building. The local church is like an emergency hospital, where people arrive with destroyed lives looking for healing. The call to "repent" was useless and they mocked when they heard it; the preaching and warning during the times of abundance, health, youth, etc but suddenly their lives receive, like Job, the payment for their acts, the payment for having lied to themselves thinking that they were righteous before God in their own mind, rejecting God's love who gave His son for us. The world does not help them out, society demolishes them even more. Most of the members of our church came to us in that state.

Man has to convert twice, one from earth to heaven and another one from heaven to earth. In other words, man has to convert for his salvation and then he has to convert to being a servant in order to bring salvation to others. The shorter the time someone spends in the first phase (the one of salvation, personal salvation and training - and this is the need for good church to have a specific discipleship ministry for spiritual growth and training, as well as to build commitment and shape the person's character - the longer that they will be able to work to win souls for God, for His glory and for the blessing of those who receive the Gospel, fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28 as members of their local church, that is part of the universal Church.

Our base camp, like Gethsemane, will provide us with the project, anointment and fellowship of our brethren, but also of the love of God amidst His church as well as in worship and in our "solo" moments, when we pour our soul into the Lord's heart.

... These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1Timothy 3:14.

...And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1John 5:11-12.

We are citizens of the Kingdom of the Lord, we work for the Kingdom of the Lord and we await the coming of our King Jesus Christ to establish a new creation, the return to Paradise for eternity. In the meantime, let us live like citizens of the Kingdom, let us give glory to our King, confess the name of Jesus Christ, Yahshua, to the world around us, preaching the Gospel and making disciples and new citizens, inviting them to our churches. May the anointment of the oil of Gethsemane and the love of God be poured in the hearts of all of us who have been loved by the Lord, to bless the heart of the Father. May the blessing and peace of Jesus Christ reign in our spirit. Amen.

 

SELECTED BIBLE TEXTS FOR "THE CHURCH - THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD"

MATTHEW 5

3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...

MATTHEW 7

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

MATTHEW 12

28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 

MATTHEW 13

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.

31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
 

MATTHEW 16. The construction of the church

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

MATTHEW 18. Behaviour amongst brethren.

3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

MATTHEW 18. Building a team in order to win souls for the Kingdom

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. 18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

MATTHEW 22. Christians searching for souls for the Kingdom of the Lord.

1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ 5 But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Good and evil people go in, the only condition is that they wear a wedding garment. That garment is the blood of Christ. We must have accepted His Salvation which, by faith, takes away our sins. Whoever does not have a garment is cast away, to hell.

MATTHEW 25. The 10 virgins, the parable of the oil which we started with.

1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Have you already got your oil? If you don't, go into your privacy and pray, praise and do.

LUKE 1

30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

LUKE 9

62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

LUKE 10

9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

ACTS 2. Christian life.

43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

ACTS 11. Christians in Antioch for the first time, example of the first churches.

19 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. 22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

ACTS 14. Persecution and government.

22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

ACTS 15. Example of Church government.

4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.

22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. 23 They wrote this, letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings.
 

ACTS 20. Example for those in the government of churches.

... “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. 32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.

1 CORINTHIANS 4

20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

1 CORINTHIANS 12 and 13. God's love in the Church and the gifts from the Spirit.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. ... ... 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

GALATIANS 5

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

You can achieve all of the above by putting the study of VIRTUE into practice.

COLOSSIANS 1

12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
 

2 PETER 1

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

REVELATION 22

5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

 

FINAL WORDS FROM PAUL, AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE RELATIONSHIP AMONGST BRETHREN TO BE IMITATED BY CHURCHES

ROMANS 16

1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.

17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

21 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you. 22 I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

 

  • For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Prophecy of Isaiah 9:6.


  • I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6. Words of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.
  • You want to know God, but you know the way is not through organized religion, nor by sects, nor by society. The world has failed. ...I pray for them;  I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours... John 17:9. Prayer of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.


  • If you really seek God, begin today the new life though the true hand of God. The Gospel is the message for all nations, no matter their race, their origins or culture. God is the saviour of those from humanity who open their hearts to Him.


  • ...Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  1Corinthians 15:58.

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