In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it it.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In the beginning God already was, and the Word was God and the Word was with God. They were together as one. All things were created through the Word. Chaos, light, darkness were all created by God through the Word in the beginning.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Since the very beginning that which can be known about God has been evident WITHIN men because God MADE IT EVIDENT through the things He has made. It was man who began to worship(love, enjoy, serve) the creation over the Creator, but.....
There is an implanted testimony in the heart of every being as to the love and glory and goodness of the Creator.
No matter how deeply we look into creation we come up against the evidence of intelligent design. This speaks to the EVIDENCE WITHIN, which has always been since the beginning because God has made this testimony through Creation.....The heavens declare the glory of God. We reject this testimony of a loving and nurturing Creator and mischaracterize Him so that we can rule and serve ourselves in consuming the creation upon our appetites. But the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. The testimony of God shines through because He Is Who He Is, and there is no reality outside of Him.
His testimony is the Word, and it is the hidden consciousness in all, as Paul says, all are without excuse. Because all things were created through the Word the imprint of the Word is hidden within every being created by Him. But God created for a reason. He wanted a family and friends with which to share the infinite bounty of life, light, love and creativity that He already celebrated with His Son. So God introduced an agent of randomness by which the creation would be untethered from the Creator's heart and enter chaos, in order that they would lose that overwhelming umbilical cord by which they were automatically endowed with the life of God. The God in whom they "live and breath and have their being" cast them adrift upon a sea of futility, steering by the rudder of their own minds; so that they could either choose to return and abide in the Word and be saved or they could suppress the truth within them, "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" and experience the fruit of emptiness. This freedom to choose was the source of chaos and it introduced futility. Entropy. Inertia. Sin. Death.
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
2 Cor 4 says "Light will shine out of darkness" and Jesus came to show us that the way to bring an end to futility and chaos is yield to it. To overcome evil with good. To serve rather than rule. To give rather than take.
This is the nature of God, and therefore it is the way in which all that He has created finds the life of God, which is abounding, abundant and eternal. Yielding, serving, loving, suffering. One can look at the Old Testament and say, "YHWH ruled Israel". But really, How did He rule? He saved them, protected them, pleaded with them when they went astray, begged them as a forsaken lover before He let them receive the consequence of their ways, and then restrained the destruction they brought upon themselves before it consumed them.
He gave birth to them so they would become a lamp stand, a city set on a hill, a living Word, an express image of the community of His love, His family, His friends- an invitation to the world. This is also the reason He has given birth to us in our time, place and generation as believers and members of His testimonial community. Those through whom he is speaking by their lives.
"In these last days God has spoken to us through His son, who is the radiance of the Father's glory and the exact representation of His nature."
On the cross God is revealing Himself in His son and the way to escape futility is to "Come, follow me". Serve rather than rule. Trust God to uphold you rather than try to conquer and control those around you.
Through this the means of introducing chaos and futility now becomes the means of introducing harmony and life. Jesus becomes Lord.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.
Here we see who God is- as He speaks through His Son upon the cross, with arms outstretched, "Father forgive them they don't know what they are doing".
Here we see who Jesus is. An emissary who reveals the divine nature in who He is, confirmed in love for mankind by what He does. He lays down His life. He serves. He suffers and His cross SPEAKS THE WORD THAT OVERCOMES THE DARKNESS.......Let there be light.
Here we see who we are. Disciples who follow Him in being. Who are being transformed into the same image as the one who was the express image of the invisible God. As we follow Him we become a part of the solution that He was and is, making the same appeal, showing forth His love and His way. Open portals of light and love. Open gates of entry into the Kingdom of God among those with whom we live- regardless of how they see us or treat us.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
To serve and save. To be and to do- from being full of love, full of God. The revelation of the sons of God. The glorious freedom of the children of God. The end of futility. The beginning of aionian life.
"For so it pleased the Father to cause all the fulness to dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself by the blood of His cross."
Jesus Christ was favored to rule because He was proven in love. His rule is a service of example, and His power is the expression of His compassion.
"And the Lord worked with them confirming the Word with signs and wonders...."
The Lord confirms THE WORD. He will not manifest Himself in glory to lift up our misuse of the words. If we walk in His nature and show forth His true being and love He will set us upon the Lampstand, and that Lampstand may be a cross of suffering. It will certainly be a service of love and humility, focused on His character rather than the facts about Him.
There are two trees in the garden.
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom(tree of life). 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic(Tree of KoGaE). 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing(carnal babes). 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace(mature heirs).
Beneath the tree of life the shadow of the almighty covers those who are abiding.
Elsewhere, the eaters of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil experience futility. They rule through what they know. They seek to conquer through systematic knowledge and charisma. They seek a place of reputation, respect, control and security.... but they are expelled from the garden of aionian life and a flaming sword bars their way of return.
It is the sword of His mouth, and we must all be slain by it before we may return.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
In that day the Lord will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
With His fierce and great and mighty sword,
Even Leviathan the twisted serpent;
And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea.
2 In that day,
"A vineyard of wine, sing of it!
3 "I, the Lord, am its keeper;
I water it every moment.
Everyone has a leviathan within. He is full of heat and smoke and the fire consumes his substance.... "For I will separate the wheat from the chaff and I will thoroughly purge my threshing floor. I will gather the wheat and I will purge the chaff with unquenchable fire".
Every grain of wheat has a covering of chaff to be beaten, broken, separated and purged- so that the grain can be gathered. Thus we reap what we sow and we are purged and purified in fiery trial until Christ is formed in us. If we are stubborn children, futility often surrounds us and within there is no peace until we yield. But there is no need to be afraid of the fire.
We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according toHis purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
God has predestined that all things are working towards this transformation of all things into conformity with the trueness of the love of God in Christ. It beginns with us, the first-fruits of the earth. He who has begun a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Jesus Christ. He will present you complete in Him, as you continue to place your trust in Him and yield to Him.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present(yield) your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God,which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
How will we win the world? By yielding. Trusting. Following. Serving humbly. Suffering. Dying.
Why will that win the world? Because they will see us in the midst of it all, like the three brothers in Babylon's cauldron. Rejoicing. Peace. Sharing. Comfort. Resurrection.
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
25 "O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me;26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
Living epistles are the Word, not words spoken or written with ink. The Word is love and service. The prophets were at odds with Israel because they wanted the benefits of YHWH's covering even as they refused to cover one another. The true prophets were the Word. The false prophets had the words but not the Word. The true priests served. The false priests ruled. The had the laws but not the ultimate life-giving law within which, as Jesus said, all the law and prophets were encapsulated, "love your neighbor as your self."
When we speak of a gospel we must understand what the purpose of the gospel is. To reveal God as the lover, forgiver and restorer of Creation. If we do not love as He loved from the heart and serve as He served willingly then all that we stamp His name on ourselves and our buildings and our deeds will be consumed in the fire.
And that is good. It is alright. It is the way in which the mirror will become unclouded and we will see ourselves as we are, illumined by the knowledge of the gospel of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The threshing floor will be cleared and the chaff purged away and we will be gathered into the presence of God rejoicing.
We will understand that the fire destroys only that which obscures our vision and restrains our love and joy.
If we understand it soon enough, and yield- we will serve more abundantly in the ministry of reconciliation. Going forth weeping, we will return rejoicing and bringing our sheaves with us. We will be sown and multiplied, as He was; death working in us- multiplying life into those amongst whom God has planted us as trees of life; placed us as Lamps to shine.
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servantsfor Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.
13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. 15 For all things arefor your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.