All Posts in Category: (11) The Manifestation of Life
You are together the body of Christ, and individually you are members of Him. 1 Corinthians 12:27
The story line of the The Ten Commandments is from the Bible. God miraculously delivers the Jews from 400 years of bondage for one reason: “They’ll realize that I … brought them out of Egypt so that I could live with them” (Exodus 29:46). After liberation the Jews are immediately instructed to build a transportable tent: “The people must make a Tent for Me, so that I may live among them.” (Exodus 25:8) When construction was complete, God moved in: “The Glorious Presence of God filled The Dwelling.” (Exodus 40:34) Then God said: “The twelve tribes of Israel are to set up camp around My Tent.” (Number 2:1)
What was vaguely illustrated in Exodus was fulfilled in Jesus: “The infinite Life of God took shape before us.” (1 John 1:2) and “fixed His tent of flesh among us; and we saw His glory.” (John 1:14) That’s why Jesus was called “Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23) After Jesus “moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14) “He chose twelve disciples to be with Him” 24/7. (Mark 3:14)
Imagine a wagon wheel. There are twelve spokes imbedded in a central hub. The rim unifies the spokes in the hub. The twelve disciples (spokes) were connected to Jesus (hub). The Holy Spirit (outer rim) brought unity by keeping the dissimilar members in alignment. Note: there are no Lone Ranger followers of Jesus! If Peter wanted to follow Jesus, he had to relate to eleven other followers: “You are together the body of Christ, and individually are members of Him.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
You’ve just been introduced to the CHURCH as designed by Jesus! It’s a Community of Life; liberated persons connected to and camped around Jesus 24/7.
God is building a dwelling place. He used the apostles … for the foundation. Now He’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. (Ephesians 2:20-22)
With the arrival of Jesus, Father started to build a new home called church. Jesus is the Cornerstone—“The cornerstone of an ancient building served as an alignment stone for all subsequent construction” (Dr. Dan Hayden, A Plumb Line For Truth). The alignment of the twelve apostles to Jesus formed the foundation. All persons, subsequently connected to Jesus, are “living stones that God is building into his spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5).
Jesus demonstrated the contour of the foundation a few hours before His death: “He got up from the supper table, set aside His robe, and put on an apron. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His apron. Then He said, ‘You address Me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a PATTERN for you. What I’ve done, you do.” “The MODEL for the disciples in their following of Jesus is that of the man who serves at table: ‘But I am among you as one who serves’ (Luke 22:27)” (Hans Kung, The Church).
Jesus, therefore, intended the church to be a service center of sorts. Here are some of its services:
I was thirsty and you gave Me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave Me a room,
I was shivering and you gave Me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to Me.’
Today I filled out a customer survey (hopefully I’ll win the $2500 sweepstakes!). The purpose of the survey was obvious: to determine the level of customer satisfaction with services rendered. From history we know the church scored high in services rendered. As defined above it conquered the Roman Empire in two centuries without investing in any bricks and mortar. Tertullian, a third century author, observed: “The Christians’ deeds of love were so noble that the pagan world confessed in astonishment, ‘See how they love one another.’”
“Diakonia (Greek word for service) means an activity which every Greek would recognize at once as being one of self-abasement: waiting at table, serving food and pouring wine. The distinction between master and servant was nowhere more visually apparent than at meals, where the noble masters would lie at the table in their long robes, while the servants, their clothes girded, had to wait on them. Diakonia always implied inferiority.
“Jesus, however, gave this notion of service a radically new meaning; at the heart of His message lies His commandment to love one’s neighbor, a love in which the love of God is manifested. For Him diakonia becomes an essential characteristic of discipleship. It is clear that Jesus is not merely concerned about service at table, or care for the bodily needs of others; nor is He simply concerned about certain special acts of love, which can also be summed up in the word diakonia. His fundamental concern is with living for others (Mark 9:35; 10:43-45). This is an essential element of being a disciple: a man is a disciple of Jesus through service of his fellow men.
“It is not law or power, knowledge or dignity but service which is the basis of discipleship. The model for the disciples in their following of Jesus is therefore not the secular ruler and not the learned scribe, nor even the priest who stands above his people; the only valid model is that of the man who serves at table: ‘But I am among you as One who serves’ (Luke 22:27). [Envisioned here] is a total existence of life and death service for others. ‘If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him’ (John 12:25-26).
“The root and goal of service is love (see Manner of Life). Service occurs out of love for others as John indicates in his account of the Last Supper. ‘Having loved His dear companions, He continued to love them right to the end. So He got up from the supper table, set aside His robe, and put on an apron. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His apron. After He had finished washing their feet, He took His robe, put it back on, and went back to His place at the table. Then He said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as Teacher and Master, and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life”’ (John 13:1-17).” —Hans Kung, The Church (emphasis added)