Monday, 18 February 2013

ONE TABERNACLE - ONE BODY!

"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many." 1 Corinthians 12 vs 12-14

Rewind to Exodus 26 vs 1-6
"Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them. The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits. And every one of the curtains shall have the same measurements. Five curtains shall be coupled to one another, and the other five curtains shall be coupled to one another. And you shall make loops of blue yarn on the edge of the curtain on the selvedge of one set, and likewise you shall do on the outer edge of the other curtain of the second set. Fifty loops you shall make in the one curtain, and fifty loops you shall make on the edge of the curtain that is on the end of the second set, that the loops may be clasped to one another. And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains together with the clasps, so that it may be ONE TABERNACLE."

I encourage you to read the entire chapter of Exodus 26 and you will see the pattern across the tabernacle structure as being made up of:
  1. Many Parts 
  2. Same/Equal Measurements 
  3. Coupled/Joint Together to Make ONE WHOLE 
The Holy Spirit opened my understanding to see that the pattern of the tabernacle represents the body of Christ - the intricacy of multiples, equality and joining. It was a shadow of you & I to come.

Colossians 2:17 'These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ'
Hebrews 10:1 'The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming-not the realities themselves'

Like the tabernacle, we are made of many parts and we must be careful to understand that though many parts, we are of equal importance just as the curtains were made up of the equal measurements; and that it is only when joined together (unity- just as the various bits of the tabernacle were joined together, can we make one whole and be as truly effective as we should be.

The Lord said to Moses in Exodus 25 vs 8-9 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you." Hebrews 8:5b This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."

For God to have a sanctuary that He will dwell in and carry out His work according to His pattern, there must be UNITY and there must be LOVE. It is the love that will bind us together. Sometimes we wonder why we are not making as much impact as we ought? Then we should ask ourselves the question is the tabernacle according to His pattern?

On unity, the Lord says in Psalm 133: How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.

I once heard Francis Frangipane aptly say: Hell came out of a split in Heaven!!

Does that bring it home to you? If so, then why do we have so many church splits - why do we so easily divide, why do we have divisions among ourselves - divisions such that we don't care about the other anymore, divisions so great that we stop relating to one another, divisions so wide that we can no longer bear each other, even though we say we profess the same Lordship of Jesus? I am not referring to when a member leaves a ministry to focus on functioning under another ministry umbrella as they are instructed by God, that is different - we should bless them, send them on their way & let them flow in the calling to which God has called them.

Lack of unity is evident when we see the attitude Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 12: 21-24

When we can say to each other 'I don't need you', when we don't give any honor to certain members because we feel they don't hold an important enough office - what do they know? They don't know anything - so we treat them shabbily, when we have no concern for or about other members because well, we don't really know them that well, when we are not concerned when one of us is suffering. When one of us falls, we should all be concerned, when one of us is dishonored - it is not the time to pull them down, join the world and scorn them but we must be concerned for them, because if one of us suffers dishonor then we all suffer dishonor!

It is like a mother teaching her children a simple rule - drumming it into their ears saying that 'you must be one', such that they are not easily disposed to back bite each other, they do not encourage people to tattletale on them to each other - it's just not how they roll in their family. When they have disagreements  - people outside the family do not hear about it, if they ever were to hear - it would be a close friend to the family whom they know genuinely loves the family & is able to call the other to order if at all necessary. If one of them has a problem, they all rally round, make contributions & help. They do not compete against each other, for them life is not a competition - they have a logic that says if one of us does well - then we have all done well and if we all do well - then life will be easier for us all around - so they rally, they support; And because they love, they want to see the other succeed and smile. That is what a close knit family looks like, we need to look at ourselves & at the body of Christ and ask the question 'Is that what we look like? Is that what I look like?' How do I get myself to look like that? What is my contribution to the body of Christ to get us looking like that?

"The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

On Love, Paul says at the end of 1 Corinthians 12: 31b 'And yet I will show you a MORE excellent way' After which he went on to teach in chapter 13,on what love is - the AGAPE kind of love. It is not a love which is based on the touchy feely, it is a love which values - that is the value that you place on the other. A value which says because I value you and this relationship - therefore I will not behave or react in a way that will risk our relationship because you are valuable to me.

Proverbs 19:11 "A man's wisdom gives him patience and it is his glory to overlook an offence."
1 Peter 4:8 "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

God is looking for a tabernacle (BODY) in which to dwell which is unified, He is looking for a tabernacle (BODY) that is closely knit together in love to function through. "Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You prepared for Me;" Hebrews 10:7

We as Christians want to reach the world and the Lord is saying if we love each other, the world will know that He sent us - that we are His disciples. Charity begins at home. How well do we love each other?

The Lord has been speaking to me about us - about His body, He wants unity, let it become a thing of the past where we crucify each other, where we stand with the world and satan to pull each other down, fighting and biting each other.

He wants us to learn to love one another - not with a superficial kind of love but an agape love. It is interesting to note that when the Lord spoke to Peter in John 21, He asked do you AGAPE me, Peter at the time replied I PHILEO you. Phileo is not the same as agape, Phileo is affection/tenderness, whilst the strength of agape is in DEMONSTRATION, Agape is a love which is demonstrated - that's why when Peter said he loved Him - the Lord said feed my sheep, feed my lambs, shepherd my sheep - invariably he was saying demonstrate your love. If you take care of them (each other) (minister to each other) then you love me

How do you demonstrate your love to God through His body?

One of the ways that God has been encouraging us to show our love for each other in recent times in our ministry In God's Company - on the prayer line is to pray for each other by praying for our pastors, interceding for the body of Christ, you can set aside as a start a day in the week where you focus on these two prayer points - for the body of Christ to grow in love and unity and as God lays on your heart, for your local Church/fellowship leadership, knowing that their success is your success, their shame is your shame.

I remember the brownie guide law: a guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day. It was drilled down into us so much as children such that if you were offered cakes, you would usually take the smallest piece, you would ask others to make their choice before you, you would share your piece of cake easily if you had just the one, you would not eat without offering some of your food to others if they didn't have something on their plates. We sought opportunities to do a good turn, we went on what we called 'bob-a-job' round the estate where my brownie club was, asking to clean and do some house chores.

When is the last time you sought an opportunity to be of service to another? Your friend who is out of work or business not doing good and you know things are really tight for them - have you considered slipping them a tenner or topping up their oyster travel card, your single friend - when was the last time you called them just because - to make sure they are not entirely on their own or invited them over for dinner, your single mother friend - when have you offered your services to babysit so she could have a night out, the elderly grandma whose kids are abroad - when did you last check in on her? When was the last time someone came to you with the hottest gossip about the sister in Church who wears the really short skirts and you excused yourself or simply said 'you've got to learn to love her just as she is'. When was the last time a man of God was accused of something, embarrassed, mocked and vilified by the world and you wept?

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:12

Let's think about these things, is our love waxing cold?

Best,
L.

2 comments:

Babi said...

True talk all the way. May God help us to truly love one another the way He intended and to work in unity. Amen!

Lara said...

Amen