Living Water Flowing Out unto Eternity!

John 7:38 records the Lord Jesus telling us, “He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” John explains in verse 39a, “But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed into Him were about to receive.” This promise is fulfilled now in our Christian life; since the resurrection of Jesus Christ, everyone who believes receives the Spirit who flows as living water.

In Revelation 22:1 the apostle John tells us “he [an angel] showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its [New Jerusalem’s] street.” This is the eternal fulfillment of John 7:38-39.

This post is the overflow of a recent morning’s singing of praise to the Triune God as the flowing eternal life. Verses 1 and 6 (below) speak of this flow unto and thru all eternity. This immediately reminded me of New Jerusalem and Revelation 22:1. Verse 7 (also below) speaks of our singing and ever praising the Triune God. This praising, like the flowing, is characteristic of New Jerusalem.

Hymn information: author Witness Lee, composer C. Hutcheson, words and music

New Jerusalem__O God, Thou art the source of life,
____Divine, and rich and free!
__As living water flowing out
____Unto eternity!

__The love of God, the grace of Christ,
____The Spirit’s flowing free,
__Enable us God’s wealth to share
____Thru all eternity.

__The Father, Son, and Spirit-one,
____So richly care for us;
__Thy love with one accord we sing
____And e’er would praise Thee thus.

The love of God, the grace of Christ, and the Spirit’s flowing free are with us to be appreciated by us both today (2 Cor. 13:14) and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Walk in Light of Life, Now & New Jerusalem

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city of light and life and we are children of light and life. Our daily Christian walk should match what we are.

In 1 John 1:1 John testifies concerning the Word of life, which is Christ Himself (John 1:1). In verse 2 John says that Life was manifested (in incarnation, John 1:14). This life is Christ, who is the Word.

In verse 3 John says that he reports this Life to us that we may have fellowship. This fellowship is the flow of this Life, between us and other believers and between us and God. In Revelation 22:1 this fellowship is portrayed by the river of life flowing in New Jerusalem.

In verse 5 John tells us that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” In 1 John 1, as we saw in other verses in prior posts, life and light are coupled. God is light, and His city, New Jerusalem, is a city of light.

In verses 6 and 7 walking in this light and having fellowship are joined. This walk, this fellowship, this flow of life, is maintained because “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin.”

Until the redemption of our mortal bodies at the Lord’s return, we must admit that we have the nature of sin in our flesh and that we commit sins in our living (verses 7-9). When the light exposes us, we confess our sins, and we are forgiven and cleansed. This restores both our walk in the light and our fellowship of life.

This exposing, confessing, and cleansing is an integral part of our Christian life today. The shining light and the flowing life are also part of our Christian life today and will characterize New Jerusalem in eternity.

The Angel Brings Us into New Jerusalem

Several posts in January looked at aspects of New Jerusalem portrayed in the early chapters of Exodus. Later, God promised “I am now sending an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared” (Exodus 23:20).

New JerusalemGod prepared and promised the good land to Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 15:7, 26:3-4). Ultimately the place God has prepared and promised is New Jerusalem, our eternal good land. Thus, the Angel bringing Israel to their place is a picture of Christ bringing us to New Jerusalem.

The Angel in Exodus 23 is God in Christ, as shown in Exodus 3:2, 4 where the Angel appears and God speaks. This is also seen in John 10:7-11 where Jesus Christ is the sent “Angel” and the Father is speaking.

Exodus 23:20 says that the Angel will keep us. Then 23:21-22 commands us to “listen to His voice.” He will keep us but we need to cooperate by listening to Him. In John 14:23 Jesus tells us, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” Then in verse 24 He tells us, “The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

The Father sent the Son and the Father speaks through the Son. They keep us on the way to New Jerusalem by making an abode with us. The primary “keeping” is not preserving us from outward problems but maintaining our fellowship with the Lord. The key is our loving the Lord. By loving Him, our living, our daily walk, is brought into Him and He becomes the essence of our daily living. This inward reality is our foretaste of the place, New Jerusalem, to which the Angel is bringing us.

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, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Grace be with Those Who Love Jesus Christ

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the bride of Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:2). Love is the critical factor for the bride to be prepared so that we may rejoice with all our Lord’s lovers that “the marriage of the Lamb has come” (Revelation 19:7).

Ephesians 5:2 encourages us to “walk in love, even as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us.” To walk in love is to have our daily life governed by and filled with love from the Lord to us and reflected from us to Him. Lord, fill us with Your love!

Ephesians 6:24 says “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” Regarding this verse:

The enjoyment of the Lord as grace is with those who love Him. In this book [Ephesians] the phrase in love, which is rich in feeling, is used repeatedly (1:4; 3:17; 4:2, 15-16; 5:2). Later, the church in Ephesus was rebuked by the Lord because she had lost her first love toward Him (Rev. 2:4)….The church, which is the Body of Christ, is also the bride of Christ, Christ’s wife. With the Body, the emphasis is on taking Christ as life; with the wife, the emphasis is on loving Christ. Therefore, this book emphasizes and also concludes with our love toward the Lord.*

Here is another verse of the song introduced in the prior post:
___Lord, keep my love burning brightly for You,
___A love never dwindling always hot for You,
___A love, shining brighter all the way for You,
___A love, so fresh like the day I first touched You

Lord Jesus, keep my love for You fresh, burning, and shining every day from here to New Jerusalem.

* Part of note 2 on Ephesians 6:24 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © 2003 by LSM.

New Jerusalem is the Consummation of Everything Positive in the Bible (2)

New Jerusalem is the consummation of everything positive in the Bible. The prior post presented the consummation of God, man, and life (the eternal life of God we receive in Jesus Christ). Here are a few more wonderful topics in the Bible which will be present in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemRedemption: man fell and was shut out of the garden of Eden, forbidden to receive God as life. Nevertheless, Genesis 3 has a picture of redemption with lambs slain to properly clothe Adam and Eve with coats of skins. In the gospels, Jesus came as the real Lamb of God to accomplish redemption. When we have Him, we have redemption. New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, the Lamb is on the throne, and the Lamb is the temple and lamp of the city.

Spirit: in Genesis 1 the Spirit of God was moving. This moving continues through the Bible. Eventually the Spirit is seen as the flowing river of life in New Jerusalem.
• The Spirit, The Bountiful Supply, The River of Water of Life
• The River of Water of Life is Flowing Today

Light: in Genesis 1 God said, “let there be light.” In John we learn that the Lord Jesus is the light of the world. In 1 John God is light and we walk in the light. New Jerusalem is pure and clear to let God as light shine through.

Love: simple—God, who is love (1 John 4:16), will be in New Jerusalem.

Holiness: 1 Peter 1:16 quotes from Leviticus that we should be holy because God is holy. Eventually New Jerusalem is the holy city because God is holy.

Glory: God’s glory filled the tabernacle in Exodus and the temple in Kings. Isaiah saw God’s glory. So did John (John 1:14). New Jerusalem has the glory of God.

Your comment could suggest other topics which consummate in New Jerusalem.

We Have Come to the City of the Living God

New JerusalemThe metaphor in Galatians 4:21-31 tells us that Hagar, Abraham’s maidservant, and Sarah, Abraham’s wife, correspond to the Jerusalem on earth and the Jerusalem above; furthermore these represent two covenants, one of law and one of grace.

Hebrews 12:22 says, “You have come forward to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem...” The heavenly Jerusalem here is the Jerusalem above in Galatians 4; both are New Jerusalem.

To come to the new covenant is to come to the New Jerusalem. Without Galatians 4 as a background, it would be very difficult to understand this. Galatians 4 reveals that the mother of the believers, who is the Jerusalem above, the New Jerusalem, is the new covenant of grace symbolized by Sarah. To keep the new covenant is to remain in the New Jerusalem. This indicates that we are not going to the New Jerusalem but that we are in the New Jerusalem already. The tense of the verb in Hebrews 12:22 is the perfect tense, “have come,” not the future tense. We know that we have come to the New Jerusalem because the New Jerusalem is the new covenant. Because we have received the new covenant, we have entered into the New Jerusalem. The receiving of the new covenant is the entering into the New Jerusalem.*

To come to the new covenant is to come to and receive what God gives us in Christ Jesus. This covenant was enacted by Jesus’ death on the cross (Luke 22:20) and Jesus Himself is the surety of this covenant (Hebrews 7:22). To receive the forgiveness of sins and to receive Jesus as our Lord and life is to receive the new covenant; this is also to receive New Jerusalem. To minister the Spirit who gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6) is to minister this better covenant; this is also to minister New Jerusalem.

*An excerpt from Witness Lee, The Conclusion of the New Testament message 255, © by LSM.

Thanks to Jordan Nguyen for the beautiful flowers.

 

New Jerusalem in a Divine Metaphor (2)

The divine metaphor in Galatians 4:21-31 presents characteristics of the heavenly New Jerusalem. Galatians 5 continues, as shown by its further speaking concerning freedom and slavery. Here are two characteristics of New Jerusalem presented in Galatians 5:1-6, a few more will be in the next post.

New Jerusalem

Christ: Jesus Christ is the center and reality of our present Christian life and of New Jerusalem. His is the first name and the last name in the New Testament (Matthew 1:1, Revelation 22:21). He is in us and we are in Him (John 14:20). He is our Lord, our life, and much more. He is our unique center. He is the focus of every part of the New Testament. Creation is in Him, through Him, and unto Him; He is the Firstborn from the dead; He has first place in all things (Colossians 1:15-18). He is “all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

Grace: When we experience Jesus Christ, He is grace to us. In His incarnation He was “full of grace” (John 1:14). In His incarnation grace came (v. 17) to man; came can literally be translated became or came into being. God coming in the man Jesus to all men is grace. Therefore John says, “Of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (v. 16). Grace for our Christian life today is expressed at the beginning and end of many epistles, such as Romans 1:7, 16:20 and 2 Peter 1:2, 3:18. The entire Bible concludes with grace to us (Revelation 22:21). Grace upon grace today is wonderful; surely there will be even more in New Jerusalem.

In our Christian walk today, may we never be separated from Christ nor fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4). May we be those who “receive the abundance of grace” (Romans 5:17) that we may “be empowered in the grace which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). This grace will carry us forward to New Jerusalem. As declared in 1 Thessalonians 5:28:

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

In Christ Jesus We Are Being Built Together

Colorado, Blancco Wetlands, US BLMIn Old Testament times God’s people built the ark, the tabernacle, and the temple, and rebuilt the temple after their captivity. All of these were physical buildings, symbols of the real building. Now, as God’s New Testament people, we are building the church, the Body of Christ. This is a spiritual building. The materials are the Triune God Himself and the Triune God deposited in and worked into humanity.

Here is a list of recent posts about the New Testament building with a few words from, and a link to, each one.

Jesus Said, I Will Build – In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build my church.” All the following verses in this chapter are related to this declaration.
Christ Jesus Himself is the Cornerstone – In Matthew 21 Jesus quoted Psalm 118 referring to Himself as the cornerstone for God’s building. Acts 4, Ephesians 2, and 1 Peter 2 also speak of JEsus Christ as the cornerstone.
We Are Living Stones for God’s Building – In John 1 Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus. Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, meaning “a stone.” In his first epistle, Peter said that all of us are living stones for God’s building.
The Resurrected Jesus is the Temple – In John 2 the Lord told the Jews that His physical body, which they would “destroy” by crucifixion and He would “raise up” in resurrection, was the replacement for the Old Testament temple.

Jesus Invites Us: Come to Me to Have Life – Acts 20:32 tells us that the word of God’s grace is able to build us up. This is Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, who became flesh full of grace and reality for us to receive (John 1:1, 14, 16).
The Grace of Jesus Christ is with Your Spirit – The word of God’s grace is able to build us up and our spirit is the organ by which we receive and apply this grace. Philippians 4:23 says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Receive the Word of God by Prayer – The word of God’s grace is able to build us up; we receive this word by our praying, giving thanks, singing, and praising.

Let Us Pursue the Things for Building Up – This exhortation is Romans 14:19 and is related to our serving in the Holy Spirit (v. 17-18).
We Are Growing and Being Built Together – In 1 Corinthians 3 we find milk and solid food for growth in life, with building up coming out of the growth.
Knowledge Puffs Up, But Love Builds Up – This is 1 Corinthians 8:1. Building up in love is also in Ephesians 4:16 and Jude 20.
We Prophecy for Building Up the Church – In 1 Corinthians 14 he who prophesies builds up the church. This prophesying supplies Christ as life and it is this life which builds us together.
Receive Grace and Give to Those Who Hear – In Ephesians 4:29 our words should be good for building up by supplying grace to those who hear.

We Are The Temple of The Living God – This is the proclamation in 2 Corinthians 6:16. God makes home in us and lives through us.
We Grow into Christ for His Building – Life and building are inseparable. Christ is our life, and growth in life is Christ being formed in us (Galatians 4:19).
We Are Growing and Being Built Together – Jesus Christ is the cornerstone for God’s building. In Him we are growing and being built together (Ephesians 2:19-22).
We Cooperate with Jesus Christ the Builder – The Lord Jesus said that He will build the church. He does this by working in and through each member; in Ephesians 4:12 we are being perfected for participating in His building work.
Holding Christ, We Grow unto Building Up – Ephesians 4:15-16 tells us that, as we hold to truth in love, we grow up into Christ our Head, out from whom comes a rich supply for building His Body.
The Rich Supply for Our Building Up – Ephesians 4:16 tells us that a rich supply from the Head, Christ, coupled with His operation in every Christian, causes the growth of His Body unto the building up of itself in love.

We Have the Life Supply for the NT Building – In Colossians 2:6 we have been rooted in Christ (for the life supply) and we are being built up (by this life).
Tasting & Coming to Jesus, We Are Built Up – In 1 Peter 2 we taste the Lord by receiving the spiritual milk, then we come to Him as a living stone. The result is that we, as living stones, are built up to be a spiritual house.
Freed from Self for God’s Building Work – In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said “I will build My church.” In verse 24 He told us to deny ourself, take up our cross, and follow Him.

How good it is for the Lord to give each of us a spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17) to see life and building.

For online reading of more about life and building, select any of these titles in this list.
• The Building Up of the Body of Christ
The Building Work of God
• Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Knowledge Puffs Up, But Love Builds Up

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 8:1b makes a clear distinction between knowledge and love, saying, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” This love originates from God (1 John 4) and, as regenerated people, we love not with our natural love but with the love of God which is in us (4:16).

The knowledge in 1 Corinthians 8 is natural. It may come from our education, upbringing, or society, or it may be self-generated ideas and conclusions. All such knowledge (in contrast to that which proceeds from the Lord’s shining into us) is soulish and not of the Spirit. That is why it cannot build up.

God’s love is in not soulish but spiritual, and is intimately related to God’s life. When we supply God’s love and God’s life to other Christians, we build up the Body of Christ. This is the New Testament building work. Ephesians 4:16 says our growth in Christ “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” Jude 20-21 says,

You, beloved, building up yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Here the mutual building up of the believers, praying in the Spirit, and the love of God are tied together. These three aspects of our Christian life all bring us toward the second coming of the Lord Jesus. That time will be the greatest mercy to us and a time when we will enter a fuller experience of eternal life than we have today.

The Lord’s second coming with His mercy and the fullness of eternal life, plus His reigning and many other blessings, will bring us further onward toward New Jerusalem. Let us echo Revelation 22:20, “Come, Lord Jesus!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Receive Grace and Give to Those Who Hear

New JerusalemThe New Testament building work is spiritual, not material, in nature. It culminates in New Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus is the real Builder, and He is building through believers who cooperate with Him.

Ephesians 4:29 says our words can build up. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, according to the need, that it may give grace to those who hear.” According to this verse, words which convey grace to the hearers are good for building up.

John 1:1 and 14 tell us that the eternal Word, who is God, became flesh and was “full of grace and reality.” Verse 16 continues, “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.”

Grace is what we receive from Jesus Christ, especially through opening to Him as the living Word of God when we open the Bible, the written word of God. We in turn convey this grace to others by speaking to them.

This receiving and distributing is like the Lord’s feeding of the multitudes. He blessed and broke the bread and gave it to the disciples; they distributed to the multitudes what they had received from Him. This also parallels John’s words, “we have seen and testify and report to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:2). Whatever the Lord manifests or gives to us, we can report to others.

Let us continue to receive and speak grace to others for our building up. Lord Jesus, thank You that You are grace to us. Attract us to Yourself and Your word every day that we may continue to receive and to share with others.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

We Cooperate with Jesus Christ the Builder

New JerusalemIn Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build My church.” In 1 Corinthians 3:10 Paul said, “as a wise master builder I have laid a foundation, and another builds upon it.” In Ephesians 4:8-12 the ascended Christ gave some gifted members of His Body “for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.”

Is the builder of the church the Lord, the apostles, or all the believers? All three. The Lord Jesus is the real Builder but He does not build directly. He builds by living in and through His members, working in and through each of them, whether apostles or not.

Paul is a pattern for all believers (Philippians 3:17). Regarding his building work, he says “I labored more abundantly than all of them, yet not I but the grace of God which is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10). He also says, “I labor, struggling according to His operation which operates in me in power” (Colossians 1:29). Paul was a builder by cooperating with the One operating in him.

Today we too should participate in God’s building work by cooperating with the One who operates in us. He might not operate in us to the extent that He operated in Paul, but He is in us and wants to operate through us. In Romans 16:12 Paul mentioned three believers, otherwise unnamed in the Bible, who labored in the Lord. Let us follow their example. Let us build toward New Jerusalem.

Lord Jesus, I thank You that You are my life and You are operating in me. I am willing to labor with You. Grant me mercy to cooperate with You in Your building work.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Receive the Word of God by Prayer

New JerusalemGod’s New Testament building work is in progress now. Acts 20:32 tells us that the word of God’s grace is able to build us up. Ephesians 6:17-18 presents a way to take this word of grace:

And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints.

According to these verses, we receive the word of God by means of prayer, praying in spirit. It is good for us to pray audibly, following this pattern in Psalm 119. While we read the Bible, we pray, and we pray using the words of the Bible. This could include:
+ repeating phrases or words
+ using phrases in prayer for ourselves or others
+ giving thanks for what we have read
+ singing parts of what we read
+ declaring portions that touch us
+ praising God for what is in His word
+ reciting a verse through the day

The intent of this praying, praising, and thanksgiving is not to learn more (that can be done at another time of day). The intent here is to be nourished (Matthew 4:4), to become joyful (Jeremiah 15:16), to be graced (Acts 20:32).

God’s present building work consummates in New Jerusalem. As we partake of His word for nourishment and grace, His word works to build us together. This building work keeps us on the path to New Jerusalem.

More:
• select Pray-Reading the Word in this alphabetical list
• Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished

Photo by Jay Martin, courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.
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