The spirit and life of the Kingdom of God comes not from Jesus’ stuff. This ignition comes personally from Him. Jesus is not his stuff and not the religion made from Him. He is Himself. I AM is alive and those in Him are alive. Christ our life is Christ our life.
‘Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you’ John 6.53 NIV.
Recently a friend offered that when we go to church we express Christ. If only. What we are often expressing is religion. Jesus did not say ‘Eat Church.’ He said ‘Eat Me.’ He said, ‘Those who eat me will live because of me.’ This implies that those who eat anything else can die without Him. ‘Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.’ We eat Jesus by inviting Him to be our life; by agreeing with Father that His Son is our life. This is life in the Spirit that gets manifest in our flesh – in other words AS US.
Did you know that we are not alive because we regularly go to church? We are imbued with Spirit and life because God lives in us and we live in God. There’s an institutional representation and there is the church Jesus builds that is a manifestation of Himself in the people. This is the church that is the reality that is Christ.
Many years ago I was invited to write a piece for the church paper. I chose to write of the ‘busy-busy activity’ of many that was held to be a great example of ‘Christian Effort’ but which had little of Christ. Our pastor, a good man and a friend, worried to me, that it might ‘discourage activity’ in the church. But ‘activity’ is not life. Spirit and life is life. In the institutions, there needs to be ‘ a lot happening’ in many places ‘If a pastor is deemed to be ‘successful.
Can an institution morph into the manifestation of Jesus? Easily. When the people in it ask Jesus to be their lives. Churches, like individuals can be born again.
A regime of works - even if they are dead works - will please administrators from whom life has long ago departed, if they ever had any in the first place. But there is no life in anything when Christ is not our life, no life in anything done out of obligation and no spirit and life in anything that is a result of the flesh. But the Spirit of Christ acting through us is another thing all together.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
We can live in false life or we can flourish and help others to flourish in real life. This is the difference between living in the shadow and the Reality that is Christ. We can minister in conformity to a set of rules, teach within the structure of expectations or attract an audience on the grounds of a status position we hold – yet have nothing of Kingdom life to impart and make a ministry of something and nothing. But when alive in the Spirit of Jesus; when our fellowship is not obstructed by law or religion we are a transparent channel of spirit and life. We ignite the Kingdom in all we touch.
Pastor Bonface Odihambo writes,
‘What is impossible to achieve under the law is possible under grace. Help your congregation to understand God's grace. It will save you much trouble in forcing them to do things. God's grace will teach them to offer their lives to God. There is no power which is stronger than love. Hate is not [as] powerful as love - preach God's unconditional love and none can resist this. [Paul wrote] "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor 15:10). Paul recognized God's grace in his life. Grace laboured through him. The law drives us from God but grace draws us to Him. We cannot continue under the law when grace is here, the life of God Himself has been poured out to us. How can we continue under a tutor when sonship and inheritance has come, when freedom is here? Jesus says “come to me all who labour and heavy laden and I will give them rest.” (Matt 11:28) He is not addressing the so called sinners but those who have been heavily laden by the demands of the law. Let us enter His rest apart from the law. Those who are obsessed with keeping the law [cannot explain] why we have to choose some section of the law and ignore others? The law was one unit. You have to keep it all or discard it all. To keep one and leave ten out you have broken it all. If anyone is passionate about the law he should keep it all and even come up with his own temple. Let's walk in this liberty Christ has set us free and enjoy the life of God.’
Jesus lived from His Father. He and Father are one. This oneness is yours today. When Jesus is your life. At any time and in every place the trinity is in you and with you. In this mode – the new and living way, you are always the expression of Jesus, our Father and the Spirit. You are the church that is leaven in the world.