Wednesday, September 27, 2017

God’s Church is alive!

Even in the Babylonian captivity, the LORD continued to work with the remnant of God’s people: Israel.  Daniel and three others were committed to following the Word of the LORD, as we saw yesterday.  God blessed their faithfulness, even as they were being trained as advisors to the king of Babylon.

God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams. The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. (Daniel 1:17,19-20 NLT)

Ezekiel, the prophet, was also empowered by God to bring a message from God to the remnant of Israel.

Then He added, "Son of man, let all My words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. Then go to your people in exile and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says!' Do this whether they listen to you or not." Therefore, prophesy to them and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O My people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 3:10-11; 37:12 NLT)

Ezekiel, Daniel, and the other three with Daniel all had the same power working in them.  It was the power of the Holy Spirit of God.  All the church leaders throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New, are empowered by the Holy Spirit.  In this power, Ezekiel was given a vision of Israel coming back to life.

Then He said to me, "Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, 'Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'" So I spoke this message, just as He told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.  Then He said to me, "Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.'" So I spoke the message as He commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet--a great army. (Ezekiel 37:4-10 NLT)

This image of the nation of Israel becoming a live army is similar to the image that God gives us for the Church today.  The Church is described as an army.  It is described as people who have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within them.  It is described as a Body, held and functioning together, as each part does its own work.  God’s Church is alive.

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church--for we are members of his body. (Ephesians 3:6; 4:16; 5:29-30 NIV84)

How about you?  Have you ever thought about the idea that you have the same Holy Spirit that dwelled in Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, and Daniel?  Have you thought about how that Spirit connects you together with every other person who has the Holy Spirit within them?  Do you see yourself as an important part of a bigger “Body?”  Do you stay connected with others as you live out your part?

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