The Word of the Lord Jesus Brings us to New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21:1 John said, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more.” This new heaven and new earth are the scene in which New Jerusalem appears.

The Lord Jesus foretold the passing away of the old creation when He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Perhaps the Lord’s word is the basis for Peter to quote Isaiah, “the word of the Lord abides forever” and to declare “according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

New JerusalemThe Lord’s comparison indicates that we should give more attention to His words than to heaven and earth. They will be replaced but His words will carry us onwards into New Jerusalem. Here are a few of the many functions of this word.

• We have been regenerated by incorruptible seed, “the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)
• We live, not by bread alone, but by “every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4)
• We grow spiritually and taste the Lord by means of “the milk of the word.” (1 Peter 2:2-3)
• We are sanctified to match the holiness of New Jerusalem by the “washing of the water in the word.” (Eph. 5:26)

To hold to the Lord’s word is tied to loving Him. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (John 14:23) and “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love” (15:10).

Loving the Lord Jesus and holding His word are basic necessities for today. They also prepare us for New Jerusalem and will continue eternally in New Jerusalem.

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New Jerusalem: God’s Slaves Serve Him

Revelation 22:3 says about New Jerusalem “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” In human society slavery is not good, but to be slaves of God (and also sons of God) is our eternal destiny. Let us review the divine slavery as revealed in the New Testament.

Moses is identified as a slave in Revelation 15:3. In a parable in Matthew* 21 the Lord Jesus describes the Old Testament prophets as God’s slaves. Mary called herself a slave of the Lord (Luke 1:38) and Simeon likewise (Luke 2:29). The Christians in Jerusalem asked the Lord to “grant Your slaves to speak Your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29)

New JerusalemPaul, James, Peter, and Jude all began epistles calling themselves slaves of the Lord. Paul also referred to Timothy, Epaphras, and Tychicus as slaves of God. All of these labored to prepare us for New Jerusalem.

In parables in Matthew 13, 24, 25 the Lord Jesus portrays all His New Testament disciples as His slaves and Himself as the Master. In Matthew 20:27 He said, “whoever wants to be first among you shall be your slave.” And in Acts 2 is God’s promise to pour out His Spirit upon his slaves.

These verses indicate that we are slaves of God both in this age and in New Jerusalem. We must give ourselves to serve God and learn how to serve. An example to us is the faithful and prudent slave in Matthew 24 who gives food to God’s household and does not eat and drink with the drunken. This food nourishes us to grow in the divine life. We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem.

*and similar verses in Mark and Luke

Living Water Flows to, in New Jerusalem (5)

The “river of water of life” flowing from the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1) is the eternal continuation of the living water the Lord Jesus promised in John’s gospel and of the bountiful supply of the Spirit in Philippians 1.

The river of living water is also the rich supply which comes to us from Jesus Christ.
Col. 2:19: “the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied…grows”
Eph. 4:15b-16: “the Head, Christ, out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply…the growth of the Body…”

New JerusalemThe rich supply from the Head, Christ, to His whole Body, is the gushing fountain in John 4 and the river in Revelation 22. We receive this rich supply by holding Christ as our Head and by growing up into Him in all things. This growth is to be headed up by Him in all details of our lives, so that Christ, not our natural preferences and desires, is in charge.

The rich supply results from our holding Christ. It also comes through the joints, gifted members given by the Head for the growth, the building up of His Body. The rich supply is not for our individual Christian progress; rather, it is for the knitting together of us as members of His Body.

This rich supply is God Himself flowing to us. Remember that “rivers of living water” in John 7:38 are “the Spirit” in 7:39. This is the flow in New Jerusalem; the Spirit flows out from the throne of God and the Lamb. By this flow “all the Body, being richly supplied…grows with the growth of God” (Col. 2:19).

God in Himself is perfect but He does need to grow, to increase, to spread in us. This is for Christ’s Body today and for New Jerusalem eternally.

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The New Testament Temple is Living (2)

#NewJerusalemIn resurrection, all who believe into Jesus Christ are a corporate man with the Spirit dwelling in them and are the temple which will be enlarged to become New Jerusalem.

This corporate man, the new man, who is also the living temple, was created by Christ Jesus on the cross (Eph. 2:15) and here Christ is “all and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). Likewise, New Jerusalem springs forth from His crucifixion and resurrection, and in New Jerusalem Christ is all and in all.

First Corinthians 3:16: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” In this verse you is plural and temple is singular. This corporate temple, like the new man, is a characteristic of God’s people. Paul’s question to immature Christians, Do you not know?, indicates that we all should have the realization that we corporately are the temple and that the Spirit dwells in us. Second Corinthians 6:16, affirming, says, “we are the temple of the living God.”

Ephesians 2:20-21 continues: “Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” The New Testament temple is in Christ Jesus (not in the physical realm) and is growing because it is a living building.

The consummation of the growth of the living temple, its maturity, is New Jerusalem. Like the temple in Ephesians, the entire city of New Jerusalem is a living building in Christ Jesus.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

A Christian Life of Maturing and Perfecting

Christ in us is the essence, the center, the focus of our Christian life. Yet, although He is mature and perfect in Himself, He needs to grow to maturity and be perfected in us, otherwise we remain “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1). Here are a few verses about our Christian growth and perfection, plus links to posts about this subject and its relation to New Jerusalem.

Matthew 5:48: You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Colossians 1:27b-28: Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we announce…that we may present every man full-grown in Christ.
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.
Hebrews 6:1: …let us be brought on to maturity

#NewJerusalemNew Jerusalem is Eternal Perfection
New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection
New Jerusalem is the Eternal Perfection (2)

We Can Be Perfect in our Father’s Life
Perfected into One unto New Jerusalem
Full Grown in Christ our Life
Let’s Go On to Maturity for God’s Building

We Mature in Christian Life to Match
New Jerusalem

We Mature in Christian Life to Match
New Jerusalem (2)

We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (3)
We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)
We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (5)

Growing with the Growth of God
New Jerusalem is the Consummation of the Spiritual Growth of God’s People

Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (2)
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (3)
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (4)
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (5)
Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (6)

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Being Perfected in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem, a city of divine life, is mature in this life. We have received this life and are growing in it so that we match New Jerusalem. Our growing involves our perfecting, similar to proper human growth requiring many years of education. Here we continue looking at verses about our growth and perfection.

Ephesians 4:11 tells us that the ascended Christ gave gifted members to His Body. Verses 12-14a tell us that these members are, “for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we may be no longer little children.”

New JerusalemThese verses speak about growing from little children to a full-grown man. This growth is a normal part of our Christian life. New Jerusalem will not be full of spiritual children but is composed of full-grown believers.

This growth also takes us from children (plural) to a full-grown man (singular). This is the building together of the Body of Christ as the precursor of New Jerusalem. In ourselves we are individuals, but in Christ we become the one new man. This is part of our Christian perfecting.

These verses also speak about our being perfected for our participation in the work of the ministry which causes the building up of the Body of Christ. We all have a share in the building up of His Body, which is the building up of New Jerusalem. Lord, cause me to be perfected for this!

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

We Mature in Christian Life to Match New Jerusalem (2)

#NewJerusalemThe perfection of New Jerusalem is shown by the multiple “twelves” in its description. Earlier in the New Testament there are many verses about our perfection/completion/maturity so that we will match New Jerusalem.

As believers in Christ, we have eternal life. Isn’t this enough? Yes, this life is sufficient for everything. But, this life must grow in us. We cannot remain infants (1 Cor. 3:1). Every kind of life in God’s creation has growth; they are here to portray the normality of our spiritual growth. We grow so that the maturity of New Jerusalem may shine forth.

In 2 Corinthians 13:9 Paul said, “this also we pray for, your perfecting.” To grow and be perfected in the divine life is normal but does not happen in passivity. Our growth requires our cooperation and our prayer for one another.

Two verses later Paul says, “Finally, brothers, rejoice, be perfected, be comforted, think the same thing, be at peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” Here are some helps for our growth and perfecting. First, rejoice in the Lord. Second, open needs to Him that He may be comfort and peace (Phil 4:6-7) to us. Third, ask Him to tune us into the same mind, into His thinking (1 Cor. 1:10).

The importance of our growth is seen in Colossians 1. In verse 27 Paul announces Christ in us as our hope of glory, our hope for the glory of New Jerusalem. In verse 28 he says that this announcing includes “admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man full-grown in Christ.” He was not satisfied to present saved sinners; his longing was to present full-grown believers, believers who match the perfection of New Jerusalem.

Eternal Life and New Jerusalem (3)

“He who has the Son has the life” (1 John 5:12). By believing, we received eternal life (John 3:15-16) and we have this life today. This is the life of the eternal city New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemWe let this life abide, be active, move freely, in us (1 John 2:24-25). As this life abides, it grows, it increases in us.

A key contributor to this growth is the word of God. We long for the milk of the word to grow unto salvation (1 Peter 2:2-3). This is “the word of the truth of the gospel” which we heard (Col. 1:5) and which is now growing in us (1:6).

Although we have this life, we still need to cooperate, to turn from other attractions and “lay hold on the eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:12). Instead of so much time with worldly pleasures or recreations, we should “lay hold on that which is really life” (6:19). This life is eternal and prepares us for New Jerusalem; all other things delay our preparation.

Galatians 6 also speaks this way. We must not be deceived; if we sow to the flesh we reap corruption, but if we sow unto the Spirit we will reap eternal life. Do not lose heart; we will reap (Gal. 6:7-9). The ultimate stage of our reaping is our participation in New Jerusalem.

Jude 21 also encourages us to be faithful, to cooperate with this life. “Keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We have received this life already, we “have the life” (1 John 5:12) yet there is a greater degree of life, a fuller experience of this life ahead of us. This we faithfully await, looking away unto the Lord’s second coming and then unto New Jerusalem.

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.

New Jerusalem, the Growth of God’s House

New Jerusalem

The church is the living house of the living God and is God manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:15-16). New Jerusalem is the enlargement, the expansion of the church with God’s Old Testament people.

The prior post focused on Colossians 2:19—the church’s growth (increase) to New Jerusalem is by the growth (increase) of God—God in Christ spreading and increasing in us. In Colossians 2:16–3:4 this growth is by our experiencing Christ as the reality of every positive thing, by holding Him as our Head, by our mind being set on things of Christ above, by being governed by Christ Himself rather than by outward ordinances, and by letting Christ our life live in us.

All of these contributors to growth characterize New Jerusalem. In New Jerusalem we will be full grown with Christ as the reality of everything, we will be fully occupied with the things of Christ, we will be governed by God and the Lamb on the throne, and He will be our life and our living.

Lord, keep us with Yourself every day that You may grow in us unto New Jerusalem!

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