“Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin and the priest and Levites – everyone whose heart God had moved – prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:5
I woke up today thinking about the church. I do that a lot. I believe that hope of the world is found in the church because it is the body of Christ and Christ is Hope as surely as he is Love. So we have to love the church and take it seriously. Jesus possessed a particular character; we possess his character. Jesus has a mission; we have his mission. And the church has to have a heart like Jesus, one that is responsive to the Father in heaven.
Jesus told us that he only said what his Father told him to say (John 12:50) and did exactly what his Father commanded him (John 14:31). God moved his son’s heart in all things – every word and every deed. The Son of Man was moved in his heart by the will and desire of God. And so we ought to be as his people.
Now when we look at the passage mentioned above, we can discover a few things about what it means for a church or a gathering of God’s people to have their hearts moved by God.
Without going into the whole exile story and the reasons for it, we may conclude that it ended when God decided it had served its purpose in the hearts of the people. That being accomplished it was now possible to get back to the whole reason God chose a people – to bring Glory and honor to His name in all the earth. This meant establishing his city, Jerusalem and his house, the Temple as the place where the name of God would again be glorified for the entire world to experience. Through such splendor and by such a spectacle the world would come to know the God of the Promise, the One who is faithful, the One slow to anger, full of compassion and love. So what can a fellowship of believers glean for this?
- God has to prepare your heart before he can move it to bring glory to His Name. The chosen family of God is His Church established in Christ. The heart of a fellowship (Christ’s body) has to be the heart of its Savior and Lord. Until the collective heart of a fellowship possesses the heart of Christ, chances are God is not going to move it to bring him Glory. The only way for this to happen is to let the Spirit of God, promised and delivered to you upon your regeneration as a child of righteousness, do his work in your heart. There is no formula for this. Pray and ask God to move his Spirit in you and make your heart a vessel for His Glory – just as Jesus’ heart is. This is the continual prayer of any church that is glorifying God.
- God moves in a heart that is ready. There are some things you can’t rush; you have to wait until all the preparations are made before some things can happen. The church must allow their heart to be prepared by God and then wait for him to move the church in the way he chooses to bring glory to His Name. We can be sure that he will move because it is his great delight to experience his will and desire come alive and animate his people. He knows the joy it brings for both him and his people. We never have to worry about God revealing his purpose once we are ready to understand it and live in it.
- The “place” that God is glorified is in the hearts of his people. The church is the living temple of God (2 Cor. 6:16). He promises to “live with them and walk among them…” He is our God and we are his people. All of the glory of God on earth exists in his church because he is among them – he and all his glory. The church should do and be everything possible that manifests his glory. His glory is meant to be revealed to all of humanity so that they too may know their creator and his compassion and mercy.
- God’s glory is his goodness. Moses asked to see the Glory of God and instead God revealed his goodness (Ex. 33:18-19). It would seem that of all that God may reveal to us He would want us to know and experience his goodness. And it is his goodness that he would want his church to reveal to the world. God’s goodness is revealed in Jesus. All that we may know about God we may know in the life of Jesus, including his mission to rescue us from spiritual exile and return us to the glory of God.
It’s Christmas time. It is the time we remember that Christ came to us as God’s glory and that he will come again in His Glory. And we are to declare His Glory, His Name. Blessings! MC