Building up believers and the New Testament church

Fellowship With God

Declaring Who God Is

When Christ began His ministry, He read this scripture from the prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18,19) The world did not know who God was. Even though God was manifested before them in living flesh, they did not recognize Him because their ideas about God were warped and distorted. The life Jesus lived, the words He spoke, and the acts He performed declared the very character and heart of God. The love of God, finding its expression in Christ, led Him through His earthly ministry and ultimately to the cross to fulfill this calling.

Just before Jesus finished His earthly ministry He made this amazing statement: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12) How can this be? It is not that we will perform a miracle superior to any that Jesus did, but rather, that as we live the life of God, Jesus will move in a greater way throughout the whole earth, performing the same ministry He did while He was here in bodily form. He stated very plainly that He would send the Holy Spirit (who is God) to fulfill this ministry in us (read John 14-16 with this in mind).

The amazing and wonderful truth is that we are given the privilege of participating in the ministry of Christ through the church, which is both mystically and actually the body of Christ. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8) The foundation of this witness is that we together in the church illustrate and declare the character of God by who we are in Him. Paul strongly exhorted the churches to walk "worthy of this calling." Gospel talk without a holy walk as its foundation has no power and is despised by all men. We witness to the character of God by the life we live together. Every attribute of God and the fruit of His Spirit is to be seen in the church. To speak of the love of God to a needy world without experiencing and manifesting the love of God together is nothing less than a tragedy.

Listen to the final statement in our Lord's high priestly prayer: "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26). Jesus not only declared the nature of God (love) in all that He had done up to that point; He went on to ultimately declare it on the cross. But He has not stopped declaring it in this hour. Now by indwelling "whosoever will" and binding them together in His life (love), He is still declaring who God is, through us. When we enter into His life, we enter into this calling. This is not a small thing. It is an all-consuming calling that takes nothing less than the resurrection life of God to fulfill. It cannot be done in our strength, for if we move separate from Christ and His life, we will declare who we are instead of who God is. We can only declare who God is as we see who we are in God and move in union with Him by the Spirit in all things.