23.1 The Land of Christ
23.1 The Land of Christ
© 2017 Christ Revealed Bible Institute
The Land of Christ
My lesson on commitment startled some of my readers with the realization that I was actually putting Christian community before them as something they ought to be doing. Instantly, all the argument against arises in people’s hearts, arguments which I have heard so many times. (I’m not speaking of you, dear reader, but rather, hypothetically.) And many want to underline, to magnify, to cry over, to make sure I KNOW about ALL the GIANTS in the land.
I know the giants in the land; I have lived closely with them. But I know something else as well. There is also fruit inside of Christ, and that fruit is LIFE. And I know that if God is with us, we are well able to overcome all those crying giants.
Defining the Land
Let me define the promised land. First, the promised land into which God led the people of Israel is a picture for us of what everyone wrongly places upon “heaven.” The promised land is full salvation. The promised land is life forevermore. The promised land is all the fullness of Christ.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22-23). The promised land forever is Church. If you don’t like Church, you will hate heaven and all salvation. And Church is filled with giants, far more than you know, and the Church is the fullness of Christ, the only thing He is.
The Fullness of Christ
The fullness of Christ is Christian community. The fullness of Christ has never been anything but Christian community and it never will be anything but Christian community.
The early church did not share life together because of some earthly necessity. They shared life together because of the determination of God to dwell among His people. Yet we humans run, running from ourselves as the image of God almost as fast as we run far away from one another as the face of Jesus Christ. We sing, “Oh, how I love Jesus,” and conjure up our own solitary image of our own self-love, turning “union with Christ” into union with self.
Your brother’s face is the only Jesus you will ever see.
The Fruit of Christ
The giants keeping you and me away from the fullness of Christ in His people are far stronger and far more brutal than any giants in the land. Og, outside of the promised land, was far larger than Goliath inside the land; Moab was more dangerous than Jericho. The warfare, the battle, the endless onslaught is to prevent any possibility of the image of God from ever being established on this earth.
BUT – there is no fruit outside of the land. Here, where we now live in arid isolation with little water, there is no fruit. Manna, yes, to keep us alive in our hope in Christ, but no fruit. The fruit of Christ is found only inside Christian community.
I Know the Giants
And yes, every giant and his brother is determined to keep you as far away from that fruit as they can. And yes, those giants are far bigger than you and I.
Don’t tell me about the giants in the land. Don’t think that I don’t know the difficulty they are capable of inflicting. You have been reading a man who, knowing the giants, knowing the difficulty, would still walk with you into that land for TWO reasons. The first reason is that I know that a determined Father is utterly with me as one person together, sharing heart with me. And the second reason is that I know that Christian community is where all the fruit of Christ in fullness is found.
The “Full” Report
Do you want to know the “full” report about Christian community? Here it is, a report that has been given to me by all kinds of union with Christ people and grace teachers and friends and family and all the wise people of this world. Christian community is a land that devours its inhabitants (Numbers 13:32).
My heart is broken over those precious dear ones who have been devoured by bullies posing as “God’s ministry” in that land. I know the devastation; I have walked among the wounded. You see, in the move communities in which I lived for eighteen years, many of the strongest giants in the land were embedded in our theology. Our own definitions of God beat us with whips.
An Exceedingly Good Land
But I also have a different report. Here is my report. Christian community, Church life, is an exceedingly good land, the very image of God in creation. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ – Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it (Numbers 14:7-8 & 13:30).
My foray into Christian community for those eighteen years was as a SPY. And I can point you to many who were there with me spying out the land who now cry, “Stone Daniel with stones; there was NO fruit, only hideous giants.” Yet if you have tasted any fruit of Christ in me, any at all, whatever fruit has strengthened you came only out of my years in Christian community.
Let’s Just Die and Go to Heaven
I know the giants, better than most. Yet knowing the giants, I am still willing to take God’s people into that land BECAUSE I know the fruit of Christ my heart has always longed for is found only there and I know, now, that Father is utterly with us.
Here is the testimony of Nicene Christianity. “Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness” (Numbers 14:16). Let’s all die and go to heaven because there will be NO successful Christian church here upon this earth. God is just unable to get Christians to love one another.
God is not able.
You know something? Look around you. Everything is nothing more than a sick joke. And that’s with most of the darkness still completely covered over. Seventy – eighty years. What for? Who cares? Big deal. So you made some money, so you did this and that, so you went to church, so you learned union with Christ. It’s all a bunch of crap (Philippians 3:8 – paraphrased).
The whole world, and the whole church in this world, has one huge screaming crying testimony – GOD IS NOT ABLE. God is not able to make you like Jesus. God is not able to get Christians to love one another. God is not able to fulfill His word. We have a better idea; let’s all just die and go to heaven.
Ready to Fight
You know what? So what. This whole world is totally mad. I don’t care. I see God. I see Christ. I see fruit. I see life forevermore. I see victory. I see overcoming. I see Christian community, family, brothers and sisters, walking together in love.
And by God, I am ready to fight.
Let those who wish to play tiddly winks continue playing tiddly winks (Revelation 22:11 – paraphrased). – But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits (Daniel 11:32).
Now that we know the battle, let’s have a look at our weapons.