It’s good to have observant friends. Some are not only observant. They are perceptive. Others are more than perceptive. They are spiritually discerning. This is the outgrowth of the spirit of sonship which itself results from our living in the new covenant in fullness and vigour.
Why is the new covenant so important? It is vital because in it you and our Father are one. It is vital to know this and to live it. Why? Because if we live in the new covenant age with an old covenant mindset – nothing we do, not even the anointing of Holy Spirit, will undo the suffocation of spirit and life we have brought on ourselves through failure to embrace our inheritance.
Grace is good but grace will not overcome the deficit that is ours when we fail to live in the grace’s extravagant generosity: Christ’s life as ours. Paul called this Christ our life. Jesus declared Himself the way the truth and the life. Theologians call this the vicarious humanity of Jesus.
So what did your friend observe? He said, ‘Keith, I hear so many people saying they are not getting satisfaction out of church.’ This is hopeful. It’s promising because Jesus is the Messiah and not the church. This has nothing to do with the hard work earnest people put in to make church work. It has everything to do with where life is to be found and where it is not located. The woman at the well addressed this issue with Jesus.
‘Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth’ John 4.2-23 NIV.
Spirit and truth is not about keeping the law or aligning oneself with a denomination’s slant on the gospel. SPIRIT AND TRUTH IS UNION WITH GOD. We worship and live as such when Jesus is our life.
When Jesus dismissed the woman’s concern about the proper venue of worship He was pointing the way to a new liberty and fullness of life. Following the cross all life would be found in Him. Infinite life would flow from His being. THE UNDOING of all that was dead and lifeless would flow from Him and those who receive Him holistically. They would be ignited persons because with Jesus as their life people would be alive IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.
Worship is more than putting one’s hands in the air. It’s a state of being – of being one with God and rejoicing as yourself because you and your Father are one. This is worship in spirit and in truth.
Following His cross there would no longer be any time or place where God was not. (of course there never was) In making all things one in Himself Jesus made all times and places holy. Jesus has brought and is bringing all things together in Himself. As the Son, Jesus undoes the separation wrought by the father of lies. Where people remain in the illusion of separation the Spirit of Jesus shines light on the inheritance that is already theirs: We and our Father are one.
‘I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one--as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me’ John 17.21 NLT. This oneness is already the reality that is ours to live in. When people see this they are not just seeing people get on well together. They see people who are joined to infinite life.
In the new creation demarcations originating from Adam’s bisected world have passed away. God’s presence would not be restricted to special days or sacred places. God would come to live in human beings. He would manifest Himself in you with spirit and life. Christ has come in you. Christ come in your flesh would make things whole that were once fragmented; holy that were carnal and healed that were broken and bent. All this entirely because you are the manifestation of Christ and an agent of the new creation.
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
The big deal of this age is the incarnation of the trinity in human beings. First the Son of God came among us as a human being. This was part one of the incarnation. Second Jesus descended from heaven to multiply Himself in people. Now the incarnation had become the new creation kingdom of God. Christ has come to live in you and George and Mary. Institutions, structures and bureaucracies are not our Messiah. Jesus is. In Him you are a son and you and Father are one. Jesus is life and that life is the life of all. This life is with you. This life is IN YOU when you are in bed, when you are making repairs on the car and when you are watching tv. You are the temple of the living God. You carry about in you His rest and new creation agency. You are the agent of His new creation because you multiply His life in you.
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV.
Let’s be clear. The church is not that place on the corner with a pointy roof. Neither is it that one-time factory that has become a huge auditorium where people do praise and worship. Real praise and worship is Christ come in your flesh. Jesus’ church is those who are one with His Father; those who are the expression of His life. These are His church when they are separated in their homes in the suburbs or when they gathered at a venue. His church is those who in spirit and in truth live out, ‘You are the Christ!’ The powers of hell cannot withstand this.
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me’ John 6.53-57 NIV.
Live from this reality and you will never be a consumer of religion again. Those who live in peace with comfortable and satisfied souls are not necessarily those who have found a church that meets their needs. They are the fortunate and joyful who have embraced Jesus’ invitation ‘to eat me and live because of me.’