Pay the Price to Mature for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThe name Jerusalem means “foundation of peace.” Today we often do not have peace outwardly but Christ is our peace inwardly. He is spreading within us until the manifestation of His kingdom brings peace to the whole earth and brings New Jerusalem down out of heaven.

Colossians 3:15 encourages us, “Let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts, to which also you were called in one Body; and be thankful.” Christ is making home in our hearts (Eph. 3:17) and He guides us by His peace, or by the lack of it when we are away from Him.

We have to pay the price to answer His demand within us. What is the way to maturity? The way is to let God work in us. He is a living God. He is in us ruling, restricting, touching, motivating, and turning us. In order to be willing to let Him be everything to us, to work in us, and to build in us, we have to pay the price. How do we pay the price? We pay the price by following His feelings within us.*

To be part of the “foundation of peace” we need to have Christ as our peace arbitrating, deciding, in our hearts that He “might have the first place in all things” (Col. 1:18). He is on the throne in New Jerusalem and we should let Him be on the throne in the practical affairs in our daily living today.


*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM.

More:
Peace, Now and in New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem is the Foundation of Peace
The Foundation of Peace
New Jerusalem, the Foundation of Peace

Deny the Self for God’s Building Work

Our path to New Jerusalem is growth in God’s life which is God’s building work. An example is Paul’s word in 1 Corinthians 3:6, 9, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth….You are God’s cultivated land, God’s building.”

New JerusalemTo be a part of God’s eternal abode requires maturity in life. How can we mature?…The answer can be found in 1 Corinthians 3:9, which says that we are God’s cultivated land, God’s building. God’s building is His cultivating. This means that the way to grow unto maturity is to let God build within us and to allow God to work within us….We have to allow the Spirit to work within us, to touch our difficulties….His building is our growth; His work is our maturity.*

Our natural man is a hindrance to God’s building. That is why we have to allow the Spirit to work in us. To allow the Spirit is to deny the self. In Matthew 16 the Lord promised to build His church and He followed that with words about denying the self. After this He spoke about seeing Him come in glory in His kingdom.

The Lord’s building work in us needs our cooperation to deny ourself by applying His death and growing by taking His resurrection supply. This brings us to His return in glory and leads to the manifestation of His kingdom and New Jerusalem.


*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM.
Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Growth and Building Bring Forth New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is composed of valuable materials—gold, pearl, and precious stones. We were born as men of clay (Rom. 9:21). We were reborn of the Spirit with the eternal life. This life-giving Spirit transforms us from clay to stones for God’s building.

New JerusalemGrowth in God’s life and God’s building are always linked together. Here are some verses which present this linkage.
• In Matthew 21:33-46 the Lord told a parable about a vineyard; He applied it by speaking about the cornerstone of a building.
• First Corinthians 3 speaks of feeding and growing, then says we are God’s cultivated land (to grow) and God’s building. Continuing verses speak about the building.
• Ephesians 4:16 tells us that the rich flow from the Head, Christ, through every member “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”
• First Peter 2:2-5 moves smoothly from nourishing for growth to stones for building.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of our growth in God’s life and our being built together. The verses above are about growth and building today, which is our path to New Jerusalem.

In these verses and others, growth is by nourishment. The end of Hebrews 5 is on food and exercise, and continues into an exhortation to be brought on to maturity. Our food is the word of God, as in Matthew 4:4 and 1 Peter 2:2. Our exercise is to call on the name of the Lord, praise Him, pray, sing, declare His doings, digest His word, and more. All of this takes us onward to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Be Brought on to Maturity for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of all God’s work throughout the ages. As such it is of the highest standard, the divine standard. Yet it includes humanity—all who have believed into Christ Jesus, been infused with His riches, and grown to maturity in Him.

Hebrews 6:1, “Let us be brought on to maturity.”
Colossians 1:28, We labor “that we may present every man full-grown in Christ.”
1 Corinthians 16:13, “Watch, stand firm in the faith, be full-grown men, be strong.”

Can a man of clay who has not been transformed be put among precious stones? Is he worthy of such a thing? Of course he is not. This is not the case. It is by our growth in life and by our being transformed continually unto maturity that we will one day become fully mature, issuing in the New Jerusalem. It is not a matter of entering in or going up but of allowing God to build us and work us into the New Jerusalem. This is the way of the New Jerusalem, the way of life.*

We grow in the Lord’s life by holding to Him. Our growth as a Christian is growth in the eternal life, and this life is the Lord. We grow with His growth in us. Colossians 2:19, “Holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.”

In the spiritual realm, growth and building are inseparable. The Lord’s growth within us is the building of New Jerusalem.

*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Precious Stones with Eternal Weight of Glory

Revelation 21’s description of New Jerusalem includes:
“Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” (v. 11)
“The building work of its wall was jasper [stone]” (v. 18)
“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone.” (v. 19)

New JerusalemWe who are stones are the materials of the city that God has been building throughout the ages. God will keep working on us and building us, the stones, until a city is built at the end. God, man, and also heaven will be in that city. Heaven will be in it, God will be in it, and man will also be in it. However, the heaven in the New Jerusalem will not merely be heaven; it will be heaven mingled within man. God will be there, as well as His glory, life, nature, and image. However, in the New Jerusalem, God will not be purely God but God mingled within man.*

We become stones for God’s building by the transformation accomplished in us by the indwelling Spirit. This transformation is an inward renewing all the way to the newness of New Jerusalem in the new creation.

At times the Lord arranges outward difficulties to bring us more to Himself for this renewing. Paul describes such difficulties in 2 Corinthians 4:8-12. But He encourages us to look away from these to the unseen eternal things which renew us with the eternal weight of glory (4:16-18), the glory of New Jerusalem.


*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Recent posts also about transformation:
Transformed into the Glory of New Jerusalem
Transformed into the Glory of New Jerusalem (2)
Transformed into Living Stones for New Jerusalem

God’s House Enlarged becomes God’s City

Hebrews 11 tells us that Abraham left his country to follow God. It considers that his descendants had the same heart: “they long after a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (11:16).

New JerusalemHebrews 11 says that God is building a city. That building is the spiritual house mentioned in 1 Peter 2 and also God’s habitation mentioned in Ephesians 2. Today the building is being built on a small scale. Today it is merely a house, a spiritual house, but when it reaches full completion in the future, it will be a city, something much larger in scale….The church and the New Jerusalem are connected to one another. The church is a precursor of the New Jerusalem, and the New Jerusalem is the consummation of the church. The two are one. God’s building of the church is also His building of the New Jerusalem.*

Hebrews 11 says “God has prepared.” This is God’s eternal, timeless view. This is also the view John had as he received everything written in Revelation. John saw New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven and his description of the city indicates that it is complete.

Our view is very much time-centered. We are between timeless eternity past and timeless eternity future. Here we need to cooperate with God for the building of His habitation among us. But thank Him that He has already shown us New Jerusalem as the consummation of His current work in us.


*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by LSM.

God Has One Work for One Goal: New Jerusalem

God has one work. He outlined His goal in Genesis 1 by creating man in His own image so that man could express God. Then He put man in the garden with the tree of life, so that man could have the life able to express God. At the end God has His goal: New Jerusalem shines with the glory of God.

New JerusalemIn all the generations God has not had two works but one work. The Lord Jesus said that He was going to prepare a place for us [John 14], and He also said that He would build the church upon Himself as the rock [Matt. 16]. These two statements do not mean that the Lord had two works—one work of building the church on the earth and one work of preparing the New Jerusalem in heaven. Rather, the Lord has only one work—the church that He is building on the earth is the New Jerusalem that He is preparing in the heavens.*

In Matthew 5 to 7 the Lord Jesus presents an overview of the proper Christian living. The key to this living is to receive God’s divine, eternal life. In this way “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48).

In Matthew 6:22 He said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light.” Since our Christian life develops from God’s life in us, this indicates that God has a single view; as stated in the excerpt above, He has one goal in all His building work—to bring forth New Jerusalem.


*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Church, Enlarged, Becomes New Jerusalem

First Timothy 3:15 speaks about “the house of God, which is the church of the living God.” In the Old Testament God’s house was enlarged from Abraham’s tent to the tabernacle to the temple. Likewise in the New Testament God’s house is enlarged from the church to New Jerusalem.

The habitation that God is building today is the church, and the habitation in the future will be the New Jerusalem. These are not two habitations but one habitation….The church as His habitation today is a precursor of the New Jerusalem as His habitation in the future. The church is a miniature of the ultimate habitation. The New Jerusalem as God’s habitation is the full consummation of the church as His habitation.*

New JerusalemGod’s glory is expressed today through the church. The same glory, in greater measure, will be expressed by New Jerusalem. Likewise all the other divine characteristics displayed in the church today will be displayed much more in New Jerusalem.

In the Old Testament the tabernacle and temple were outward symbols; God’s house was His people. Now God’s house is the church, composed of all who believe into Jesus Christ. God’s people being God’s house will progress into New Jerusalem, composed of God’s people from all the ages. New Jerusalem will be His consummate habitation, His eternal dwelling place.


*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM.

Photo by Scott Bauer, courtesy of US Department of Agriculture.

Transformed into Living Stones for New Jerusalem

Precious stones are included in the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

We are the stones for God’s building but we were originally men of clay (or dust). The change from clay to stone is portrayed with the name Simon Peter. He was originally named Simon but the Lord Jesus said he would be Peter, a name that means stone°. This change of name indicates a change of constitution.

New JerusalemGod desires to have the New Jerusalem worked and built into us. We all are parts of the New Jerusalem. You are a part, and I also am a part. All the saved ones throughout the generations are stones in the New Jerusalem….We who are saved were not originally stones. We were not “Peters” but “Simons.” We were originally clay….We used to be clay, but because the life of God has entered into us and is changing us inwardly, we are being transformed from clay into stones.*

Why does God transform us into stones? First Peter 2:5 has the answer: “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house…” God transforms us so that He can build us into His spiritual house now on His path towards New Jerusalem.

Why does God want a spiritual house? The answer is in Revelation 21:11. New Jerusalem is a city “having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” God’s purpose is to gain New Jerusalem as His corporate expression to display His glory; clay is not appropriate for this, precious stones are needed.


°The Greek word for Peter is the root of the English word petrify, meaning to convert into a stone.

*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM. For more about this, please click on the book link in this note and select chapter 4, then go to section 3.

 

The Taste of God Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is heavenly but on earth. The city “comes down out of heaven from God.” New Jerusalem also comes with God because the city is God’s habitation and God in Christ is in each one of His people.

Ephesians 1 says that we are in Christ (v. 12). Then chapter 2 says that we are in the heavenlies (v. 6). We not only have God and Christ in us, but we also have heaven in us….Consider your own experience. After you were saved, you may have felt that you had the presence of God and the taste of God within you….The more we love God and the more we live in God, the more we feel that we are in the heavenlies and inwardly have the taste of heaven, as if heaven has entered into us.*

New JerusalemFor a Christian to have the taste of heaven we “seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2). If we seek earthly things we will lose the taste of heaven. Nevertheless, we need to apply Christ as our life in caring for earthly responsibilities.

The taste of earth and heaven are expressed in Romans 8:6, “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” “Death” may be confusion, darkness, hesitation, or many other feelings.

“Life and peace” may also be rest, joy, confidence, or similar feelings. These are the feelings of living in God and in the heavens and applying Christ as our life. This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem.


*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM. For more about this, please click on the book link in this note and select chapter 4, and read the last part of section 2 and first part of section 3.

Photo of Saturn’s rings and earth (dot above small arrow) courtesy of NASA and JPL-Caltech.

Run with Endurance towards New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem “comes down out of heaven from God” as the mingling of God, man, and heaven. It comes forth through the regeneration of man followed by the life-long transformation of the regenerated men. This transformation requires our daily cooperation with the Spirit’s work in us.

[Some Christians] think that after a person is saved, he does not need to pay attention to life or to be built up by God but only needs to wait until the day when God will put him into a place called “heaven.”*

New JerusalemHowever, the Christian life does require our cooperation. Here are some verses showing that after regeneration we need to be diligent.

Romans 5:2-5 speaks of multiple Christian virtues including endurance.
First Thessalonians 3:5 also includes “the endurance of Christ” as part of our need.
Similarly Hebrews 10:36 says “you have need of endurance in order that, having done the will of God, you may obtain the promise.”

First Corinthians 9:24 uses the illustration of running a race. It concludes “Run in this way, that you may lay hold.”
Likewise Hebrews 12:1 exhorts us to “Run with endurance the race which is set before us.”

In Philippians 3:12-15 Paul says that he, after many years as a Christian, had not yet been perfected. Rather, he actively pursued “toward the goal for the prize.” He encourages all to have “this mind.”

Romans 12:12 and Colossians 4:2 call upon us to “persevere in prayer.”

These admonitions, and more, are for us to experience transformation in this age to “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29) that we may shine now with the glory of New Jerusalem.


*An excerpt from The Way for a Christian to Mature in Life, chapter 4, Witness Lee, © LSM.
Photo of Hawaii courtesy of European Space Agency.

A Present, Mingled Shining

New JerusalemPrior posts (one, two, three) speak of the mingling of God, man, and heaven. This mingling develops in the present age and is fully manifested in New Jerusalem.

Light is one example of this mingling. Surely God is light (1 John 1:5). And God in Christ is also the light (John 8:12). All Christians believe this.

Do you also believe that we are light? Here are three verses that declare that those who believe into Christ Jesus are light.
• “You are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14)
• “You were once darkness but are now light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8)
• “You are all sons of light and sons of the day.” (1 Thes. 5:5)

We are not light from ourselves; we “were once darkness.” We are “light in the Lord.” We are light because we are mingled with The Light. Today our mingling has progressed to some extent and we shine to a corresponding extent. By the time New Jerusalem comes down the mingling will be complete and we will shine fully.

Revelation 21 records that an angel showed John “the holy city, Jerusalem…having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.” The whole city,  both the divine and the human components, has the light. The mingling has been accomplished and the entire city has a precious shining.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

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