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Sunday, June 19, 2016
Thoughts from the Past – A Place to Belong
First posted here April 2011. Edited.
Dec. 29, 2005
A Place to Belong
As people we have a natural desire to belong - family, tribe, nation, etc. This was given to us by our Creator. As Christians we have a supernatural desire to be part of a church, or more simply to belong to a group that bears the name of Christ.
In these perilous times, those who desire to live by the word of God, rather than man's traditions, too often find themselves being shouldered out of churches and fellowship with other believers. Our Lord Jesus said, Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Luke 6:22 If we know that our "offence" is following Christ above all others, then we can rest in this promise of the God's blessing. This is comforting, but there is still a painful side to being cast out of the church (John 9:22, 3 John 9-10).
There is a sweet promise given to the Philadelphians in Revelation 3. This was the church that kept Christ's word and did not deny His name (v. 8). While this was a real church in John's day, and also appears to be an era of church history, there is an application today also for those who strive to walk as Philadelphians. Their rewards are available to all saints who overcome according to the Lord's promise.
Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
This verse really blessed me the first time I noticed the significance of it and the application for those of us who have been "cast out of the synagogue", so to speak. There is a human desire to have a building associated with the church. Human nature also wants a name - a denomination, if you will - to describe itself and associate itself with. It usually wants a tribe or nation to claim as the best or "God blessed" ("God bless America," national flags in "church", tribalism and nationalism in the church, etc.). In short, we want a place to belong. Something that can be seen, felt and understood with the natural senses. We desire this even in spite of Jesus words to the woman at the well. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father...But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:21, 23-24
By faith, which ...is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, Heb. 11:1; we look ...for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Heb. 11:10 By choosing to associate ourselves with the unseen rather than the seen or temporal, we have the promise of all this and more. But look at what God promises to the Philadelphians who overcome: a building - the temple of God Almighty; to never be cast out again(!); a "label" - the name of God Himself and the name of His Son, Jesus Christ; and the name of a city, a national identity not to be ashamed of - the new Jerusalem.
What JOY. Here is a place where man has no authority to decide if we "belong." Here is a place where one name is sufficient for all. Here is a place where we are saved ...out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; Rev. 5:9 (emphasis added).
Christ Jesus does not ask us to suffer more than He did. Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. By the grace of God let us be willing to go forth unto Him without the camp in this life, bearing His reproach for His sake, so that we may rejoice greatly in time to come when we lay hold on a name and an eternal place where we belong!
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.