Seek the Riches of Christ

New JerusalemThe riches of God‘s kindness, forbear-ance, long-suffering, assurance, grace, and glory are to us today and will fill and radiate from New Jerusalem. This “good news” is “the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8).

We can all learn as Paul did (Phil. 4:12), “I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack.” Whether we abound or are abased in human terms, the riches of Christ are available.

Similarly to Paul, the Lord Jesus tells the believers in Smyrna (Rev. 2:9), “I know your tribulation and poverty (but you are rich).” They were humanly poor but divinely rich. In such circumstances, may we be “rich in faith” (James 2:5). This faith substantiates and carries us toward the presently unseen New Jerusalem.

These riches will abound in New Jerusalem, but don’t wait. Consider two paths to being rich in Christ. One is Ephesians 3:14-19. Paul prayed that the Father grant us, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened that Christ may make home in our hearts. (This strengthening is much higher than if it were according to our lack.) Father, grant me the strengthening I need for Your Son to make home in me!

A second path is in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” His words are spirit and life (John 6:63), so His words can live in us. Lord, cause Your word to live richly in me!

“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and untraceable His ways!” (Rom. 11:33 – sing it) Praise Him now; praise Him in New Jerusalem!

Photo by Randy Roberts, courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

 

New Jerusalem, the Fullness of God (2)

From incarnation, in Jesus Christ “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). From resurrection and ascension the church, His Body, is “the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). Eventually New Jerusalem will display the fullness of the Godhead.

The Body of Christ is the fullness now. Nevertheless, we need to experience much of God’s operating to enter into this reality. Paul prayed for this in Ephesians 3. He said, “I bow my knees unto the Father,” (v. 14) for us to be brought through four stages of experience.
New Jerusalem• “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man” (v. 16)
• “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (v. 17a)
• “that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ” (v. 17b-19a)
• “that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.” (v. 19b)

The outcome of this filling is in verses 20-21, “to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen.”

There is no question about glory in New Jerusalem eternally. But, for glory in the church now, we need to echo Paul’s prayer, Father, strengthen me into my inner man today. Strengthen us that we may be filled for glory to You in the church now. God is able! To him be the glory.

Praises in the Book of Revelation (4)

New JerusalemThe final praise I found in Revelation is verse 19:7: “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” This points directly to New Jerusalem, the wife of the Lamb.

In Revelation 21:9-11 the angel showed John the holy city, New Jerusalem, as the bride, the wife of the Lamb, having the glory of God. The bride making herself ready in 19:7 is her seeking and allowing Christ to saturate her so that she expresses Him as the glory of God.

On one hand, this seeking is our responsibility because 19:7 says that we, the wife, made ourself ready. On the other hand, we cannot do anything in ourselves. Our seeking is for the Father to strengthen us through His Spirit so that Christ may make home in our hearts (Eph. 3:14-17). It is also a pursuing of Christ so that He may live in us and be formed in us (Gal. 2:20, 4:19).

We present ourselves, seek, and pursue Christ that we may get ready with Him as our content and expression to match Him and be His wife, New Jerusalem.

Here are more posts about the rejoicing, exulting, glory, and the wife made ready in Revelation 19:7 and the related preparation of the bride in 21:2.
New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Cooperation with Christ Dwelling in Us
Applying the Lord’s Rich Supply for the Preparation of the Bride
New Jerusalem Prepared as a Bride
Let Us Rejoice & Give the Glory to the Lamb
Rejoice, the Marriage of the Lamb Has Come
Rejoice, Exult for the Marriage of the Lamb
We, the Bride, Make Ourselves Ready
Love the Lord Jesus, Rejoice and Exult
New Jerusalem is Prepared as a Bride
New Jerusalem Prepared, Adorned

God Strengthens Us, According to the Riches of His Glory, unto New Jerusalem

This post continues verses that say according to God’s will/purpose/pleasure… all of which are surpassing and excellent and which culminate in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemEphesians 3:16: “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit…” Ephesians 1 has a prayer for our seeing and Ephesians 3:14-19 is a prayer for our experience.

For such experience, we do not depend on our own strength. Rather, God strengthens us according to the riches of His glory. This strengthening is for Christ to make home in our hearts (3:17) so that we can be filled unto all the fullness of God (3:19) to glorify God in the church (3:21) and in New Jerusalem (3:21).

Philippians 3:21: “Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory, according to His operation by which He is able even to subject all things to Himself.” Currently our body is a body of sin and death (Rom. 6:6, 7:24). This in no way matches New Jerusalem. But our Lord Jesus Christ is able to conform us to His body of glory to match the city of glory. This is not according to our need but according to His all-subjecting operation.

Philippians 4:19: “And my God will fill your every need according to His riches, in glory, in Christ Jesus.” God fills our need but not according to our need. God fills according to His riches. And this filling is in glory, corresponding to New Jerusalem, the city of glory.

Colossians 1:11: “Being empowered with all power, according to the might of His glory, unto all endurance and long-suffering with joy.” We are empowered to “walk worthily of the Lord” (1:10) but this empowering is not merely to match our shortage. Instead it is far higher, according to the might of His glory, another pointer toward New Jerusalem.

We can pray, Lord, turn my view from myself, my situations, and my needs to You, Your riches, Your glory, Your operation, and Your power

Righteousness Dwells in the New Creation

According to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). The new creation, with new heavens and earth, includes New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2).

In my recent New Testament reading I was touched by “dwells.” The Greek word (κατοΙκεω) appears over 40 times in the New Testament. It is always used for living people who are at home in a place. Examples:
• He [Joseph] came and settled in a city called Nazareth, Matthew 2:23
• Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, Acts 2:5
• All those dwelling in Asia heard the word of the Lord, Acts 19:10
• By faith he [Abraham] dwelt as a foreigner in the land of promise, Hebrews 11:9

New JerusalemThe same sense of dwelling is used in regard to God: “God…being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24), and “in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).

The Greek word is also applied to the Triune God in us: “Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:17) and “the Spirit, whom He has caused to dwell in us” (James 4:5).

In light of the usage of this word everywhere else in the New Testament, to say that righteousness dwells in the new creation means that this righteousness is alive. We do not use dwell with inanimate objects; for example, we never say that a table dwells in our dining room.

Christ is “the Righteous” (1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 2:1). He is on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of the new creation. I believe that His presence and the righteousness of His person, radiating out from New Jerusalem, is the righteousness which dwells in the new creation. And this Christ, who is our righteousness today (1 Cor. 1:30) is the righteousness of New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Righteousness Dwells

The Mystery of the Riches of God’s Glory

New Jerusalem is a city, “having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11). This glory is not monotone but is an exceedingly rich glory.

Colossians 1:27 speaks of “the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The mystery of God’s eternal purpose is Christ in us. This mystery comes with riches of glory. Today we do not realize so much of the riches nor is the glory manifested.

New JerusalemGod willed to make known this mystery to His believers. His making known to us is in this age. His making known to the whole earth will be in the next age and through New Jerusalem.

Paul prayed in Ephesians 1 for our seeing and in Ephesians 3 he prayed for the working out of this, that the Father (v. 14) “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man” (v. 16). We need to be strengthened and God is willing to strengthen us, not a little but “according to the riches of His glory.”

This strengthening results in Christ making home in our hearts so that get rooted and grounded in love (v. 17) which enables us to corporately apprehend the vastness of Christ (v. 18), leading to being “filled unto all the fulness of God” (v.19). The riches of the glory, both now and with New Jerusalem, cannot be separated from Christ Himself.

The filling spoken of in Ephesians 3 for this age is a precursor to  New Jerusalem. The process begins with our being strengthened according to the riches of God’s glory and results in the expression of these riches. This process is not visible to natural eyes, but the result will be visible to everyone in the new creation.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Christ’s Growth in Us (3)

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the enlargement of the house of the living God. This enlargement is God’s growth, His increase, in us (Col. 2:19). This growth is seen in Ephesians 3:14-19.

First we are strengthened into our inner man. Second, Christ makes His home in our hearts. Third, together we apprehend, we take hold of, the vastness of Christ and we know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ. Fourth, we are filled unto all the fullness of God. This is our journey toward New Jerusalem.

These four steps result in glory to God in the church (Eph. 3:21), God’s New Testament people. This will result in greater glory to God in New Jerusalem.

None of the four steps in Ephesians 3:16-19 are possible in ourselves. Likewise glory to God in the church and in New Jerusalem is not possible in ourselves. But, the glory in Ephesians 3:21 is “to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us” (v. 20)

We are not able, but God in Christ in us is able. What He will do is not merely a little beyond us, but “superabundantly above/immeasurably more than/exceeding abundantly above/infinitely more than* all that we ask or think.” This is possible because God in Christ is the power operating in us.

Our need is to cooperate, to give ourselves for the four steps in Ephesians 3:16-19, to ask the Lord to work all these matters in us. He is able, but He will not do it without our cooperation. Lord, make Your home in me, bring me on through all the steps in Ephesians 3. Gain the glory now and bring us onward to New Jerusalem.

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, footnotes, and cross-references, is online; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

*Various translations, thanks to biblehub.com. _____Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Christ’s Growth in Us (2)

New Jerusalem is the enlargement of the house of the living God. This enlargement is God’s growth, His increase, in us (Col. 2:19). This growth is seen in Ephesians 3:14-19.

New JerusalemEphesians 3:16-17 are a prayer for our Father to strengthen us so that Christ may make His home in our hearts. This home-making is in the realm of faith. Likewise, everything related to New Jerusalem is in the realm of faith, in the spiritual realm.

Ephesians 3:17-19 continues. As a result of Christ’s home-making, we “being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.”

The strength in verse 18 is not our human strength; it comes out of Christ making home in us. This strength is Christ living in us. This enables us to apprehend together the vastness of Christ, a vastness which will be manifested to the fullest in New Jerusalem. Then we can know the excellent love of Christ.

The conclusion of Ephesians 3:16-19 is that all the believers together are “filled unto all the fullness of God.” This is a foretaste of New Jerusalem. God desires to fill His corporate people with all that He is in Christ, so that all He is may be manifested through His people. Ultimately New Jerusalem will be our corporate manifestation of all that God is.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

New Jerusalem: Christ’s Growth in Us

New Jerusalem is the enlargement of God’s present operation in His people. This enlargement is God’s growth, His increase, in us (Col. 2:19). This growth is seen in Ephesians 3:16-19.

In verse 14 Paul began a prayer. In verse 16-17 he asks that the Father strengthen us into New Jerusalemour inner man so that Christ can make His home in our hearts. This home-making is the growth of God in us, which ultimately is for New Jerusalem.

But, what does it mean for Christ to make home in our hearts? The first three verses of a hymn begin with these lines:
__Deeper, deeper, in the cross of Jesus
__Higher, higher, in the life of Jesus
__Growing, growing, in us He is growing

The fourth verse says:
__Living, living, Christ is all our living, He’s so practical:
__Small things, big things, anything and all things—He’s involved in all.
The fifth verse continues:
__Person, Person, Jesus is our Person, Living now in us.
__He’s our tastes, our attitudes and actions; Oh, how glorious!
The sixth verse includes His bride, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).

Certainly His growth in us is by our experience of His death and resurrection, as in the first three verses. Practically, this growth, Christ making home in our hearts, is “He’s our tastes, our attitudes and actions.” All our natural tastes, attitudes, preferences, opinions, desires, and likes and dislikes must be washed away and replaced by His tastes, His preferences, His likes and dislikes, etc. This is an aspect of our growth unto New Jerusalem.

We can pray with this hymn, As life in every way, Be our Person, Lord, each day.
Lord, grow in us toward New Jerusalem.

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