Our Journey Towards Destiny
First John Chapter 2. What I want to share with you tonight is something I really hadn’t thought about doing until last night. But I could see as I thought and prayed about it, it’s real important that you see yourself and the journey that you’re on. Because it’s really very easy for us to think that somehow to go to meetings more often than somebody else does, or to be a little more “evangelistic,” or know our Bibles a little better –- that that’s the end of the road. And it’s just not so. There’s something much more than that. In fact, I think you’ll see tonight that that’s just childhood in the Kingdom of God, and there is something much more in God’s mind for each of us.
It’s a journey that each of us are on and whether we stop, whether we allow things to stunt our growth or by choice we bale out. If somehow we move outside of the river of God’s purpose for our life and start to drift out of the main current, off into the little eddy currents along the side, we’re going to get tossed. We’ll go under and come up, under and come up. We’re just not going to make it to where God wants us to be as individuals or as a body. What I want you to look at with me tonight is something that I think will mean something to you as you look into it.
First of all, keep your hand in first John 2 and turn back to Hebrews chapter 8. Verse 5 talks about the priests of the Old Testament. It says, “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and a shadow of what is in heaven.”
You might have wondered as you read through the Old Testament, “Why all this detail?” So many feet this way and that way and the Ark of the Covenant has to be gold and has to have the cherubim sitting on top of it… and He said, “Let everything be done according to the pattern. Everything must be according to the pattern.”
As people who have been involved in the restoration movement, as it’s called, you can at least intuitively observe that restoring according to the pattern is in God’s heart. Whether it’s doctrine or whatever it happens to be. It’s got to be according to the pattern, just like it was in the Old Testament. The reason it’s got to be according to the pattern, is because the sanctuary for instance, the temple that was on earth, that had certain dimensions, and had the court of the Gentiles and the court of the Israelites and the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. That was done for a purpose. It was a shadow of the reality that is in heavenly realms, and we can be seated in heavenly realms as it says in Ephesians 2. So it’s not just after we die and go to heaven. We’re supposed to be seated in heavenly realms right now. So these things have a reality for us even now.
Colossians 2 says that food is a shadow of the reality that’s in Christ. Remember, “I am the Bread of Life.” “If you don’t eat my body and drink my blood, you have no life in you.” See? There’s a reality in Christ and all the things you see -- the rivers, the lakes, the streams, the clouds in the sky, the earthly sanctuary, the temple of Solomon -- all of those things as God designed them are a shadow of a reality that’s in Christ. That is pretty exciting for me. I don’t know how you feel about that, but that does things for me to look at a plate full of food and say that this is the shadow of the reality that’s in Christ. What this does for my body, Christ does for my spirit. That’s really neat! When you really find a revelation of Christ to your soul, then those things will become more and more real to you.
This earthly sanctuary is a shadow and a copy of things in heaven. In Hebrews Chapter 9:23, “It was necessary then for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Again, you’ve got the idea that the things on earth, the holy things of God are a shadow of the reality of the things that are in heaven. They had to be purified with water and so on. There were special ways to do that. But there was a heavenly way to purify the things that are in heaven, and that was by Christ’s blood.
Hebrews 10:1, “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming.” Even the Ten Commandments, the Law itself, is only a shadow of the reality of the good things that are in Jesus Christ.
We talked the other night about how this [the Scriptures] is an explanation of benefits, of assets. This isn’t a rule of, “Do this and do that, and don’t do this and don’t do that.” It shows us the heavenly life. Remember that Jesus is the Word. “The Word was God. The Word was with God. The Word became flesh and dwelt for a while among us.” This is somehow the external representation of the heart of God.
As we penetrate into obedience in these areas, what we’re doing is, we’re penetrating into the real life that is in Jesus, rather than the shadow life of this world. The more you disobey these things, the more you walk apart from the realities that are in here, the more you’re cheating yourself out of your destiny! Your destiny is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, to grow into the full measure of the stature of Jesus Christ. And what we do is we rob ourselves of our own destiny to be restored to the full Glory that man had in the Garden of Eden and that Jesus had with the Father before the world was.
So, this is an explanation of benefits. This is not a bill. This is not an invoice to be paid, and we go through life with our back bent over trying to obey these things. This is the Life of Christ. Penetrate into these things and you’ll find real life for your spirit, for your soul. If you don’t do these things, you’ll starve your soul and your spirit because you were created as a spiritual being.
You were created half out of the heavenly realm and half out of the physical realm. God took a ball of mud and He breathed on it the wind of heaven. He blew the wind of heaven into man, and man was born of spirit in addition to being born of the physical birth. And that was our destiny to live as Jesus was -- incarnate, part God and part man. Jesus Himself quoted the Psalmist and said, “Man was created to be gods, so why do you say that it’s a problem for me to consider myself a god?” (John 10:33-36; Ps. 82:6) That was Jesus’ argument as He quoted the Psalmist.
Even back in the Psalms it says that we were created to have Christ within us. This is the mystery that was withheld from the Gentiles, Christ in you, the hope of glory. Ephesians 3:17, “Christ dwells in your hearts by faith.”
“John baptized with water; I’ll baptize you in the Holy Spirit. I’ll breathe anew into you the kingdom of heaven. I’ll breathe into you the unseen world again and re-create your spirit within you. You’ll be a new creation. The old is passed away. Behold, look at that. All things are new” (Acts 1:5; 2Cor. 5:17). That’s what we’re destined for, and as we consider this a bill instead of an explanation of benefits, then we go around with a totally wrong attitude and it’s very difficult to function in Glory. That’s what Romans 7 was all about. When this is a bill, it forces you into a situation where you can’t cut it. The law says, “Do not covet.” Well, that ignites my sinful nature and I want to covet. Instantly I want to covet.
But there’s a new and living way which is expressed in living the life of Jesus out of a reality of a relationship with Him, out of fellowship with Him. “No longer written on stone tablets, but they will all know Me, they will all have intimacy with Me from the least to the greatest.” That was all the way back in Jeremiah! He said it would no longer be trying to function according to behavior modification, but “Now they’ll have intimacy with Me because I’ll breathe My Spirit into them and I’ll turn their hearts of stone (that couldn’t keep the law anyway) into hearts of flesh, into a living, breathing entity” (Eze. 11:19, 36:26). We’ll no longer be aliens in our spirits to God. We’ll no longer be buried in the futility of our thinking and alienated in our minds and our hearts, but we’ll be reunited with the destiny that God had for us before the world was (Eph 4:17-24; 1Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:3-12).
We were predestined (Rom. 8) before the world was, to be conformed to the family likeness of the One who was with God in the beginning before the world was and yet walked on this earth. And we’re going to be the Bride of Christ. Just like Eve was taken out of the rib of Adam, so the Church is not created -- it’s taken out of the rib of Jesus Christ. His Bride would be taken out of His rib. We’re partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1). Great and precious promises, to be partakers of the divine nature. That’s the destiny He has for us.
What happens is, because we don’t have a vision for all of these things, we function in just doing little things. We live little bitty lives and we’re in poverty that we don’t need to be in! Maybe you aren’t in poverty, but I’d say the inclination and the environment that wants us to stay in poverty is all around us, whether you guys are in it or not, only you really know. But there’s so much there that is still unexplored for the people of God.
Paul caught a taste of it. Elijah caught a taste of it. Jesus showed us that it was possible to empty Himself of every equality with God that He had to claim and yet to still fellowship with the Father in a way that would be something that would be open to us as well. Though He had equality with God, He didn’t grab after that. But He showed us how we can live in fellowship with the Father the same way He did, and anyone that claims to be in Him must walk as He walked, in that harmony, in that fellowship with the Father (1 John 2). That’s our destiny. If we will only see that and grab a hold of that, what an exciting, thrilling thing that really is!
My last year or so, even after “preaching” for several years, I’m just now beginning to taste it. Tasting the powers of the coming age, not studying them. Tasting them. We may not see the whole thing until we see Him face to face, but I can tell you experientially there’s so much more to it than I knew a year ago. Experientially. Now I look in my Bible and I see it was always there! “Where did that come from?” Well, it’s there, and it’s written into the heart of God. It’s there for those that will move ahead and grab after that.