Exactly the Opposite
Saturday Morning, December 29, 2001
Good morning, Saints (depending on which side of the world you’re on, of course! : ))
Someone has just asked, “I’m a part of a ‘house church’ situation, but certainly our situation is not much nearer God’s Heart than when we sat in pews on an assigned day and hour (rather than tomorrow’s sofa). It’s clear to me, and to others, that we traded in one system for another—and still are not experiencing ‘a hundred mothers, brothers, sisters, lands, and possessions’ as Jesus Promised and Called us to. Beyond question, it is due to ‘leaven in the batch’ that we have been unwilling to deal with, as well as at least the last two points that were made in ‘the Green Beret Brotherhood’ that was sent yesterday. With God’s Help, we WILL go there, and do what it takes to bring pleasure to Jesus. But MY question is THIS! Is there any ‘short’ answer to what it is like to have ‘a hundred mothers, brothers, sisters’—instead of just some ‘good ol’ boys’ to shoot the breeze with about sports, or externals like that? What would it ‘feel’ like? I can’t even picture it!”
The answer....... You asked for a “short” answer, so let me just say it this way:
Picture yourself as a 9-year-old child, happy in your home life. And then something tragic happened. All in one moment, in a terrible auto accident, your mother and father and brother and sisters...all were killed. Can you project yourself into that situation? What would you feel like? Can you imagine the immense darkness that would descend upon you, as a 9-year-old in that situation? And then, unthinkably, it got yet worse. That same day, your grandmother died of a heart attack, and your grandfather went into the hospital and was comatose. Imagine the anguish, the aloneness, the confusion of all that would happen inside of you in those dark moments, stretching to days and months. Imagine the horrors of all that you would feel inside if all of that happened. Imagine the change of life for you—how every morning would be different, awakening to the emptiness and stillness of nothing. Put yourself in the place of that 9-year-old. Picture it, feel it. Project yourself into that lonely, lost feeling.
What is “a hundred mothers, brothers, sisters, lands, possessions”—the true Church Jesus is Building—REALLY LIKE, you ask?
It is the exact opposite of that horrible experience we just pictured together!! All of the pain, aloneness, anguish, and confusion—flipped over into their exact opposites, stretching to days and months and years and decades!!!!!!!!!!! Consider it—take those terrible experiences and hideous feelings, and ponder the depth of love and life and fullness in the exact opposite experience. THAT is His Intention for His “City set on a Hill”!
Not that there will never be moments of difficulty and challenge and heartache—of course. It is Jesus’ Life and Work we are Participating in—and, of course, He paid a price—as will we. However, the PEACE and STRENGTH and CLARITY and LIFE and LOVE and HOPE and CAMARADERIE in the “trenches”—“from the least to the greatest” (not just a clique or “bestest buddy” counterfeit)—is the staggering and joyous and immensely powerful Inheritance, according to Jesus, of those who will “lose their life” for the Master and His People. To never again worry that you will be talked about behind your back. To never again worry that you must suffer alone. To never again be dependent solely upon your own abilities to “pay the bills,” or “raise or educate the children properly.” To never again be totally dependent upon your own abilities to find enough time or energy to clean the house or be qualified for a job or.... To never again be totally dependent upon your own abilities to know how to pray, or to have the strength and understanding, alone, to solve problems of sin and temptation, or to bear fruit in others’ lives. To never again be dependent solely upon your own abilities—because we were DESIGNED to be Together in a Synergy of Life where your Gifts are mine, and mine are yours. We’re not competing—we are the SAME! We were CREATED to be TOGETHER. Not a bowl of potatoes, but a bowl of mashed potatoes!
“His Body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way” (Eph. 1:22-23).
We are “being built TOGETHER to become a dwelling place in which God lives by His Spirit” (Eph. 2:22).
Consider the worst imaginable pain of lost relationship in a world that you can comprehend... And then know that His Life—in HIM and in HIS BODY—is the exact opposite, multiplied by infinity! As the Angel said to our brothers, “GO! Tell the people the FULL MESSAGE of this NEW LIFE!”
“Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this provision was given me: to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the practical working out of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His Intent was that now, through the church, the rich and many-faceted wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. This is according to His eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence....
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:8-21).