The Revelation of The House of God
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Genesis 28:10-17, Psalm 92:13
Sunday 30th August 2015
We began a series last week titled ‘Getting the Best out of Church Life’. From the message titled ‘The Power of Connection, we agreed that there are two main reasons why Christians usually do not get the best out of church life, namely; (a) As a result of not having a revelation of God’s House – It should be a place of destiny and an encounter with God. (b) As a result of not connecting with the blessings in God’s House – Psalm 92:13 reveals to us that those who are planted in God’s house will flourish. Here are some ways to connect with a local assembly – sign up for membership, join a team and become a worker, give regularly as part of your worship, reach out to others in church, participate in various Church initiates and lastly become a member of a cell group network.
Today as we round up this series, let's take another close look at the story in Genesis 28:10-17 as we draw some parallel truths from this story and relate them to other scriptural references: 'Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: "I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you." Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it." And he was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!"
Jacob woke up and realised that the ground on which he had slept was not any ordinary place, but the house of God and the gate of Heaven. Did you notice that there were no physical building erected on the land? However, by divine revelation, Jacob saw the house of God, through God's eyes in the realm of the Spirit – a limitless global expression of God's dwelling place on earth. His vision unfolded an unrestricted house for God, unlike the four walled 21st century buildings that we have nowadays embraced as a norm for church life. Church as God sees it should simply be defined as the 'gathering of the saints', without walls or boundaries, and a force to be reckoned with. The church was never designed to be brushed aside as insignificant.
Jacob further exclaimed that the house of God is an awesome place. Conversely, as we approach God's house, we must realise that it is a place of limitless possibilities and reverence. We must never approach God's presence casually. The word 'Heaven' in Hebrew, 'Shamayim' refers to the abode of God. In essence, when we come to church, we are right at the gate of God's abode. Hence, this should inform how we approach God – with a mindset of having an appointment with the Almighty One! Sadly as believers, we have trivialised God's presence out of familiarity. Jacob described God's house as the point where a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven, signifying the point where Heaven's blessings are released on earth. Isn't it surprising that some Christians come to God's house, and yet do not meet with God? Obadiah 1:17 reads: "But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions".
In scriptures, there are various records of bible personalities who had an experience of God's house, which I would like share with you:
Here is John 1:47-50: 'Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these." And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." Jacob's vision was pictorially similar to what Jesus said to Nathanael in the scriptures. Jacob saw angels ascending and descending from a ladder from Heaven to earth. Firstly, Jesus referring to himself as the 'Son of Man' was inferring that He is the foundation of God's House – the church. With Jesus as the Church's foundation, the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. Secondly, the church is not weak as many have wrongly assumed, because it is built on a solid rock that cannot fail. Jesus, the Son of Man holds the church together and protects her from the force and plans of Satan and all his cohorts from hell. Instead, the church is built and sustained by God's power. Isn't it unfortunate that there is so much power in God's house, and believers are oblivious to this truth? And as such, when approaching church expectantly, we should make this our prayer: 'Lord, may your power be demonstrated in my situation today'.
St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians also describes the church in ascendency as outlined here. Ephesians 2:19-22 reads: 'Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit'. As a believer, your citizenship as a Christian entitles you to all the privileges that God's holy people enjoy. All the privileges such as healing, provision and prosperity, peace, joy and favour are all yours to enjoy as a citizen of God's kingdom. It is vital that you appropriate this unapologetically. As Christians, we must know what is rightfully ours, in order to save ourselves the unnecessity of asking, praying and fasting for what God has already given to us. Furthermore, Apostle Paul writes that we are members of the household of God. If citizenship is a broad term, being a member of God's family narrows it down further. As God's family member, you have full, unhindered access to Him. Going further in this scripture, which reads: 'Having been built on the foundation of the Old and New Testament personalities of the bible (Italics included), Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone holds the kingdom (including each of us) together, just as a cornerstone holds every block of stone or brick in a particular part of a building together. Hence, when we come into fellowship with God's children, we enjoy the blessings of being held together by Jesus.
In another passage of scriptures in 1 Timothy 3:14-1, St. Paul also writes: ‘These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth’. St. Paul points out from this scripture that the house of God is the place where His truth is established. Hence as you approach God’s house, make this your prayer: ‘Lord, I need to receive from you the truth concerning my circumstances’. Irrespective of what you may have been told concerning your situation, God’s word of truth must always be the last word that you embrace and retain.
St. Peter's writings in 1 Peter 2:4-5 reads: 'You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What's more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God' (NLT). Each of us, as members of God's household is a living stone. When we all connect together in worship and praise in church, we invite God's presence amongst us. Hence, when we come into God's house, our intent should be to experience God's presence. Holding grudges and unforgiveness against a fellow member or potential member of God's family hinders God from inhabiting the praises of His people. So, as long as it lies with each of us, we should aspire to forgive those who offend us and resolve all resentments. Romans 12:18 reads: 'Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone' (NLT).
When we obey God's command of living together peaceably with all men, we are fulfilling His words in Matthew 18:20, which reads: "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." One of the ways by which you can fully enjoy this interconnection is in the Cell Group. Here are four benefits of connecting one to another through the Cell group network, namely: Fellowship, Pastoral Care, Discipleship and lastly Outreach.
Fellowship: When God created man, He had community in mind when doing so. No one was made to live or thrive in isolation. Genesis 2:18, a scripture we often associate with romantic relationships and marriage reads: "And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." Here is Psalm 68:6: 'God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land' (Amplified). We thrive on relationships and cell group is a great place to connect with fellow believers as you enjoy God's presence together. It is a place to bear one another's burden. Galatians 6:2 and 10 reads: 'Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ'. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith'. You can demonstrate and practice this at Cell group.
Pastoral Care: Cell group is a place where a leader can look out and be there for you. It is not feasible that the leadership of the Church will know each one by name. The Cell group has been designed to play this significant role.
Discipleship: Cell group is another good forum to get to ask pertinent questions relating to Spiritual growth. Church services can hardly cater for burning questions, unless on special occasions when special services are designed as a talk show. Cell group is an opportunity for bible studies, nurturing and growth.
Outreach: Cell group can cater for our non-Christian friends in a non-threatening way.
I encourage you to find every appropriate means to connect with God’s house, so that we can live perpetually in His presence. Can I encourage you to change your perspective on church life? Remember that the church is the House of God and the gate of Heaven!
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