| My eyes have seen the King of Glory!|
When Stephen gives his address to the crowd in Act chapter seven, we see a man full of the Holy Spirit. He opens his mouth and the Lord floods it with words that fully penetrated the hard hearts of these men. When God speaks through a man in this manner, you can rest assured that something is going to happen. Now we see that with their hearts pierced and vulnerable, the Lord will go straight to the source of their pride.
The very center piece of the Jewish faith at that time was the Temple. What a magnificent sight it was. This place of worship and adoration and sacrifice and atonement, this place of pilgrimage is the center-piece of everything Jewish. It was their identity, their heritage and their future. Had not the shekinah glory of the Living God rested upon this place? Had not the Ark of the Covenant sat in the very center of this place? Yet, where was the shekinah glory of the Living God now? What had become of the Ark? Despite the missing presence of God, everything went on as it had, pilgrimages, feasts, activities, in fact if you looked at the Temple as Stephen spoke, you would have seen a place of bustling activity. Priests coming and going, daily sacrifices ( including a sacrifice to Roman gods twice a day, the price paid, the compromise made with the Roman authorities to allow them to continue) The system of religion carried on and protected itself and its existence through compromise.
Now Stephen says this to them " However, the Most High God does not dwell in Temples made with hands." Stephen was telling them that God did not dwell in their Temple. Can you imagine the horror of the religious men to hear such a thing? If God does not dwell in the Temple then what are they left with? God had withdrawn His presence from the Temple. God is the God of now. It did not matter that God had filled that place with His presence in the past, what mattered was now. And now it was empty of His presence and fit for judgement. What Jewish man could have imagined in his wildest dreams that in 30 short years, not one stone would be left unturned of this now empty shell of a structure. That their system and structures of worship would be swept away and destroyed, never to rise again. That their very country would cease to exist. No wonder Jesus wept as He considered Jerusalem.
The question is brothers and sisters, is the Lord weeping now over the present day church and its systems? If Stephen was to give the very same message today, what would Christian leaders reactions be? If Stephen were to say " God does not dwell in your churches," what would pastors and ministers reaction be? Would they cry out to God? Or, would they " gnash their teeth?" Would they point to their activities and works? Did the Jewish activities and works save them from judgement? If God would not spare His own Son, if God would not save the Temple from destruction, can we say with confidence that He will spare our present day system in its present form?
" But he being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God and said " Look I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears and ran at him with one accord and they cast him out of the city and stoned him."
You see brothers and sisters, here was a religious people devoid of the presence of God. Stephen had just told them, in no uncertain terms and with words that surely sealed his fate, that God did not dwell in their Temple, that what they had was meaningless and empty. And now to compound that, Stephen was full of the presence of God and had a vision right there in front of them. He was gazing at the God that they did not even know. He proclaimed that he saw the Glory of God and that his eyes had seen the King of Glory, Jesus, standing at the right hand of God. And with this, they finally killed him, not being able to stand it any longer.
Have you seen, with Stephen, the King of Glory? Have you seen the glory of God and the King of Glory, Jesus, standing at the right hand of God? What is your reaction to that question? Do you understand the question or does it make you " gnash your teeth?" The crisis of our age is this, we have a people called by His name who have not beheld His glory. In America we live in a place of many temples and much activity. Yet where is the glory of the living God in His manifest magnificence? Where is the fragrant army of people whose eyes have seen the King?
So the question must be " Do you know the glory of God?" Have you saw the glory of God in the face of Jesus? The present church system cannot and will not survive without the presence of God. It must seek God with their whole hearts while He may be found. " For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord and ourselves bondservants for Jesus sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor 4:5,6)
| 2010/10/25 18:29|
| Re: My eyes have seen the King of Glory!|
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor 4:5,6)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12
Thank you God for your Son.
| 2010/10/25 19:42||Profile|
| Re: My eyes have seen the King of Glory!|
Despite the missing presence of God, everything went on as it had, pilgrimages, feasts, activities, in fact if you looked at the Temple as Stephen spoke, you would have seen a place of bustling activity.
And is not that a description of much of church in our day?
When Christ was crucified the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom. If the Glory had been there, the priests in the outer court would have been smitten dead. But they were not smitten dead. Instead, we are told, they sewed the veil back up and carried on business as usual.
But it was not business as usual for God. God had said "good-bye" to that old temple. The Glory had departed, never to return to that temple again. God had a New Temple now: of which the Stone that the builders rejected-- Jesus Christ-- is the Chief Cornerstone, and we ourselves living stones set in it.... that is, if in truth we COME to Him, lay down our own ways and agendas, and COME to Him: "...To whom COMING, as unto a living Stone, disallowed (rejected) indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious..." (1 Pt. 2.4).
...But if we don't come to Him, if we continue going our own ways with our own works and agendas (yes, even in the churches) will we not also find ourselves in the same fate those of old did, when their awesome temple was razed to the ground?
"Unto Him be glory IN THE CHURCH in Christ Jesus," Paul said. That is, the same glory that was in Christ is to shine forth from the CHURCH. We are to be "to the praise of His glory who first hoped in Christ." That's what the church is all about. In fact, that's the very reason we are justified by faith in the first place: not so we can happily go to Heaven now, who were once bound for Hell, but so that God now has a foundation in our lives on which we can "rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. 5.2). It's so that His glory may shine forth from us!
We may not be there, but as individuals and together as a church, a called-out people, seeking this must be our one and only reason for being. When it is not, when the church loses this vision... honestly, I don't know that it can even be called "church" anymore.
| 2010/10/25 22:42||Profile|
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"And is not that a description of much of church in our day?"
I am glad you got that brother. This is exactly how much of the church is today.........brother Frank
| 2010/10/25 22:46|
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God had said "good-bye" to that old temple. The Glory had departed, never to return to that temple again. God had a New Temple now: of which the Stone that the builders rejected-- Jesus Christ-- is the Chief Cornerstone, and we ourselves living stones set in it....
| 2010/10/25 22:50|
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Not much has changed. Stephen could not help but preach the same message today, because he would recognize many of the same things, just called by a different name.
Man just keeps on reinventing his religious self. Apart from Jesus, there is no way he can escape being religious and taking advantage of people.
Jesus won't be one of our idols, and we are not to use Him to abuse people.
And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
I receive not honour from men.
But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
If you come to Jesus and His Word Abides in you, you will be perfected in Love, not seeking the honor of man but the honor that comes from God.
and the opposite is equally true...
If you do not come to Jesus, then His Word will not abide in you and you will seek the honor that comes from man and all the while you are searching the scriptures, thinking that you have eternal life. This is the height of irony and the worse kind of tragedy, because on that path of deception that we spent our life on, we also, surely deceived many others.
We have been programmed to think of Pharisees as evil dudes and we are not, but they were just people that thought they were doing all the right things to have eternal life.
They could be a Bible School Graduate, or Seminary Graduate, or someone that has a Doctor of Theology or they could just be one of US. Someone who gets up daily to have our quiet time. That's right! We all have to guard against being a Pharisee in our heart. Our actions may look good, but God knows our hearts.
Priests coming and going, daily sacrifices ( including a sacrifice to Roman gods twice a day, the price paid, the compromise made with the Roman authorities to allow them to continue) The system of religion carried on and protected itself and its existence through compromise.
The compromise today is that in order to not pay taxes to the Romans the "church" has agreed not to talk about government/politics. If they take political sides, then the Romans will make them pay taxes and revoke their 501C3 tax exemption status. Money is the centerpiece of the Religious system, yet the Word says that "You cannot serve both God and Mammon", so today, Mammon wins out, because we will only preach what honors men.
| 2010/10/25 23:45|
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"Man just keeps on reinventing his religious self. Apart from Jesus, there is no way he can escape being religious and taking advantage of people"
Amen to that thought brother........brother Frank
| 2010/10/26 11:15|
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Amen. Good stuff on Stephen, too. It's difficult at best to understand God's Word when you are part of the religious system, because you have to justify so many things that are going on around you that you necessarily have to ignore or waterdown the Word just to make things fit.
Luk 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
When I left the religious system for good and I stopped trying to fit man's ways and methods into the Bible, a veil fell off my eyes. My vision is a lot clearer today and continually looking to the Lord to improve my vision further.
| 2010/10/26 12:55|
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"It's difficult at best to understand God's Word when you are part of the religious system, because you have to justify so many things that are going on around you that you necessarily have to ignore or waterdown the Word just to make things fit."
That's a great point brother and so true........brother Frank
| 2010/10/26 18:27|