A couple of days ago I had a very encouraging conversation with a friend who is new to the concept we have been discussing of Jesus presently ruling from His Father’s right hand in Heaven, through us here on the earth.
She excitedly told me how, unconsciously, she is finding herself talking to those out in the world, initiating the conversation and just focusing on them in a new way, not trying to “witness” to them at all. She saw it as the Lord reaching out to those around her and “ruling” with the love of God more aggressively than she had previously ever done. She found herself looking forward to going out, touching people, and seeing what would happen.
As I thought about this, it became obvious that this was new, and was changing her life. Although she had already learned the idea of ruling, even believed it, but now, for the first time, she was beginning to actually believe it was true for her. To use the illustration of the recent “How Do You Know?“ blog posting, she was now “sitting in the chair,” not just knowing in her head it would support her!
When the multitude said to Jesus, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28), His answer was (as I have shared many times), “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29). Jesus said that the work of God, the only one (“the work,” not “a work””), is to believe in Him; yes, that He is my Lord and Savior, but also that He is ruling over the earth through me, right now, just as God says He is! Do you believe it?
Listen to the biblical definition of “to believe,” or to “have faith:” ”Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This tells me that faith “substantiates,” or “makes real in my experience,” right now, what the Bible says I will experience in its fullness at some time in the future.
The list of examples of faith that follow that verse in Hebrews 11 are all believers down through the centuries who never physically saw the promise of God fulfilled in this life, but believed it first, and then they “saw it” in their lives, right then!.
This “blessed hope” is mentioned in Titus 2:13, and also is the “things hoped for” but as yet “not seen” in Hebrews 11:1. That hope will be perfectly fulfilled when Jesus returns and gives us our new, glorified, perfect bodies, purified “from every lawless deed” (Titus 2:14). “…We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
We will then be fully equipped to rule with Jesus living through us, perfectly. But, until then, we know, and my friend learned, that faith substantiates, or makes real, that future blessed hope, right now!
It is only as we meet to discuss, learn, and remember these things together are we able to continue to believe this, or “walk by faith.” That is why Christianity cannot be lived alone; it is a team game. We are in it together. We walk in the light together, openly and transparently with others, confessinging our sins together, and then praying for one another.
In darkness, Christianity can neither grow nor capture cultures, and Jesus does not rule over the nations in darkness. However, this corporate atmosphere of the church is the best possible climate for God to “open the eyes of your understanding” (Ephesians 1:18) that we might see!.
Simply “seeing” and understanding with the mind is not “believing.” Witness the Pharisees, who physically saw Jesus’ miracles, even Lazarus’ resurrection, and reacted by seeking all the more to kill Him. However, BELIEVING IS SEEING! As God begins to give us this faith, the faith of a little child who simply trusts His Daddy in everything (Matthew 18:2), that two-fold Great Commission will be fulfilled. The church will become an unstoppable force!
Can you picture Christians meeting together where this kind of “walking in the light” is encouraged and practiced? All are sinful brothers and sisters together, each with a unique contribution that all need. Old, mature saints, and brand-new believers, all together with different gifts and abilities, but all self-conscious, repentant sinners.
They are all learning Paul’s tremendous insight in Philippians 2:3 4:, “…In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself (all have something to offer I don’t have). Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” We are learning to get out of ourselves and see others as those we serve from a lower place, and we don’t even know it is happening, witness my friend (“She found herself…”).
Picture the church getting this picture, from the least to the greatest, each going into the world, daily, with this attitude—“attack!”—with the love of God and His gospel. Opposition cannot stop us. The Chinese Communist Party in China tried, but it has given up in its attempt to stamp out the illegal, unregistered home-church. They now simply try to control it with persecution, imprisonment and death. It continues to grow, now with an estimated over 100,000,000 members!
The hope that Jesus will rule the nations, in experience, is being realized, right now, by faith. Believing is seeing! May we all pray that God opens our eyes to see that this is not only at some future time, but also right here and now, as we read these words.