August 3, 2013
I believe the testimonies given concerning the passing of our sister, Lynn Miller ought to serve as a wake-up call for all of us. Lynn was able to bear a vibrant testimony to the hospital workers during the last hours of her life.
If we were in a hospital bed, would our room become so filled with the Presence of Christ that the staff would enjoy coming there? Lynn preached Christ to everyone around her!
One concept that emerged from the testimonies last Sunday was Lynn’s thoughts concerning being a hundredfold Christian. She was anxious that this would be true of her.
How many of us are anxious about being a hundredfold Christian, working out our salvation with fear and trembling?
As these testimonies were being given, it suddenly occurred to me that these three levels of attainment are stages in the program of attaining to the fullness of victory in Christ. Previously I had thought of them as three different kinds of Christians.
Each Christian is to “receive” Christ into himself or herself at all times, day and night. This is how we pass from thirtyfold to sixtyfold to a hundredfold level of Christ. This means we have died with Christ and now He is living in us.
I have been occupied lately with the differences between “accepting” Christ and “receiving Christ.” I imagine the church is tired of hearing this by now.
One difference is that the expression “accept Christ” is not found in the Scriptures. The Bible speaks of “receiving” Christ, not of “accepting” Christ. “But as many as received Him..”
Another difference is, “accepting Christ” is a one-time act of identification with Christ. “Receiving Christ” is an attitude we take at every moment of every day. We always are to be receiving Christ. He continually is knocking at the door of our heart. We are always to be opening to Him that He might dine on our obedience and worship and we might dine on His body and blood.
After once having received Christ we are to keep on receiving Him. If we do not, the water of life becomes stagnant and smells bad, just like old manna. So it is with an elderly church member who “accepted” Christ thirty years ago and has not been “receiving Christ” ever since.
We might think of the “talents,” of the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew, as being a portion of God that He has given to us. From the moment we first receive God we are to be receiving Christ into our life. This is how we pass from thirtyfold to a hundredfold.
The “interest” God is hoping for is, first of all, our personal growth into someone who can reveal the Person of God and also work with Christ in the establishing of God’s will in the earth.
The second part of the interest is the growth into God’s image of the people who hear us and are influenced by us.
This double benefit is illustrated in Brother Lawrence, who sought to bring Christ into every aspect of his life. His personal growth in Christ has brought the blessing of God to uncounted numbers of Christian people.
If, however, after once having received Christ, we do not keep receiving Christ into our life, the Divine refreshing leaves and our personality becomes stagnant and repulsive, like yesterday’s manna. We have seen this happen in longtime church members who become critical, self-centered, and quarrelsome. What once was of God is desirable no longer.
At one time they had been joyous Christians giving off the fragrance of Christ. But in its place, after many years of not receiving Christ, there only is an unpleasant odor.
You know what the decision of Christ is, don’t you. “Throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
This “worthless” servant of Christ at one time had been a resident of the heavenly Jerusalem, being a member of the elect. Now he or she has been cast out of the heavenly Jerusalem and assigned to the Land of Darkness.
Lynn’s water of life was current, fresh. Thus she was able to with joy bring life to those around her hospital bed.
But where is Lynn now?
The spirit world is exceedingly vast. According to my understanding it is divided into the Land of Light and the Land of Darkness.
You want to be sure you are receiving Christ up to the moment you die; otherwise where will you go when you leave the present world of flesh and blood?
There was a manager who wasted the possessions of the rich man who employed him. So the rich man fired him. The manager went to the debtors and told them to lower the amount they owed the rich man.
The rich man told his former manager that he had acted wisely, for now he would have friends who would welcome him into the “eternal dwellings.” The “friends” would be those who had falsified the amount they owed.
It would be a terrifying situation to enter the spirit world and have no one to receive you and look out for you.
One time I had kind of a vision of a Taliban warrior. He had been killed in battle. He was standing on a barren plain. He was very angry. He said, “I have been lied to!”
We have a little sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister on the day she is spoken for? (Song of Solomon 8:8)
This is a Christian who has never grown up. She cannot bring forth new life into the Kingdom. If she is to have a place in the spirit world, or in the heavenly Jerusalem, someone must speak up for her.
The people who inhabit the Land of Light are the decent people from the beginning of world history. They receive Christ when He is presented to them and acknowledge His authority to govern. To obey Christ is necessary for any individual to remain in the Land of Light.
Within the Land of Light is a much smaller area. This is the heavenly Jerusalem, the home of the Royal Priesthood. It is Mount Zion. It is what we picture when we think about “Heaven.”
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. (Hebrews 12:22,23)
This is where Lynn is now.
The spirits of righteous people in the heavenly Jerusalem are made perfect because the Glory of Christ continually is transforming them.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18—NIV)
The priests of the heavenly Jerusalem are only a small part of the inhabitants of the Land of Light.
There was in the first century a congregation which apparently was quite large. This was the church of Sardis.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)
This means that all those professing Christ, only a few would be part of Mount Zion, of the heavenly Jerusalem.
Paul gave us the key to understanding the Royal Priesthood, the city in the Land of Light:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28,29)
Exactly who are they who are called according to God’s purpose; who are predestined to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Every person born on the earth? I don’t believe so! Every individual who makes a profession of belief in the Lord Jesus? I don’t believe so.
Is every one who “accepts Christ” predestined to be the brother of the Lord? I kind of doubt it.
Do you know what the image of Christ is like?
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. (Revelation 1:13-15)
The heavenly Jerusalem is the Tabernacle of God, the eternal Temple of God. There is no temple in the heavenly Mount Zion because the entire city is the Temple of God.
These are the righteous people made perfect. Such is the Royal Priesthood.
There were many Christians in the Church of Sardis. But only a few were found worthy to walk with Christ in white. Only a few are members of the Royal Priesthood.
Lynn was concerned that she had not attained to the maturity of the hundredfold. Perhaps she had not fully attained to such fullness. But we can be certain that right at this moment she is receiving Christ; she is living by His body and blood; she is being perfectly obedient to Him; her spirit is being made perfect.
Like the Apostle Paul, Lynn is forgetting the things that are behind and is pressing toward the fullness of resurrection life, so she can say, “I am living no more. Christ is living in me.”
The Apostle Paul said we should put our attention in Heaven where Christ is seated on the right hand of God. The Book of Hebrews reminds us we already have come to Mount Zion, which actually is what we mean by Heaven.
With your permission, I would like to refer to Lynn in the present tense. Lynn is very much alive and feeling considerably better than she did during a month or so ago. In fact she appears gleeful to me. Sonia, her mother, is with her, as nearly as I can tell.
Nearly everyone is frightened at the thought of death. All the friends and relatives are grief-stricken when a loved one dies. It does not seem to matter how much they suffered during this life. They died! The ultimate bad has happened to him or her.
Now, this is not sensible. It is understandable that we should feel this way, but not sensible. It is because we can’t see them any longer and imagine that they have fallen in a black hole somewhere.
We tell ourselves that John or Alice is in a mansion in Paradise. But we really don’t believe it. They are dead, and that is the end of them.
You know, the Bible does not tell us much about what happens when a person dies, although the Apostle Paul made some remarks about our dying:
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:8)
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (I Timothy 4:8)
The Book of Revelation speaks about the new Jerusalem. There certainly is a Jerusalem, a Mount Zion, in Heaven at the present time. But much of what is written in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation is symbolic. It is true, but it is symbolic.
In any case, golden streets are not what we desire. We want to see Lynn again, Sonia again, and to make new friends. If they don’t pave our street for a while, that is alright with us.
Tell me I am incorrect in this!
As far as the coming Kingdom Age is concerned, there are animals and children, just like now.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)
The same is true of the new Jerusalem, that will appear after the final resurrection:
There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. (Isaiah 65:20,21)
But what about our time in the spirit world before Jesus returns and brings us back to earth to rule with Him.
We are alive and doing whatever Christ puts on our heart to do. It is as simple as that.
My grandson, Troy Thompson, was killed on his motorcycle. When his mother, Catherine, heard the news, she became hysterical.
Troy spoke to her from the spirit world: “Mom, stop it!” The hysterics ceased. Catherine was calm during the memorial service.
A few days later I “saw” Troy working on a large engine block, with some young people looking on. This was Troy’s favorite occupation. Do not ask me how there could be engines in the spirit world. I am just reciting what I think I saw.
Catherine Marshall saw Peter working in a flower garden, a hobby he enjoyed. Are there flowers in Heaven?
While sitting in the funeral parlor, during the service for David Ayala, I distinctly saw David standing in a row of young people. A uniformed general came over to David and picked him out of the line. Nothing was said, but I knew the general was going to teach spiritual warfare to David, perhaps to make him a guardian angel.
So our Lynn is very much alive. She is doing whatever Christ puts in her heart to do. I feel certain that she is with us here during her memorial service.
Let me refer again to the idea of “accepting” Christ. This is not a scriptural expression. We do not “accept” Christ. We “receive” Christ.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12)
What is the difference between accepting Christ and receiving Christ? It is the difference between religion and genuine salvation.
”Accepting” Christ is a one-time religious act that we perform in order to satisfy the requirements of our religion.
”Receiving” Christ is an altogether different matter. We receive Christ at every moment of every day and night. We keep on opening the door of our personality and receiving Him.
We live by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, which are given to us in the spirit world every time we press forward in Christ against all sin and self-seeking. They are the Life by which we are to live.
We dine on His body and blood. He dines on our obedience and worship.
This is the true God and eternal life. All else is merely religious posturing.
This practice does not cease when we die. Lynn right now is continually eating and drinking from the Tree of Life, and so Christ is being formed in her to an even greater extent.
During the new sky and earth reign of Christ, the same Tree of Life will be in the new Jerusalem so people can keep growing in Christ.
One of the basic misunderstandings of Christian people is that everything will be changed when they die. They may be following Christ afar off now, but when they die they expect to be made perfect in Christ.
This is not the case. The only change in us when we die is that our body sleeps, waiting for the Day of Resurrection. But what we are now continues to be true.
If, as in the case of Lynn, we really love and serve the Lord, then this is continuing to be the case right this moment.
If we are half-hearted now, our death will not change us.
Some time ago I tried to pray for a young girl who was ill. The Lord said to me, “I do not know her.” Huh! By inquiring I found out that Christ had been presented to her and she was not particularly impressed.
It is one matter to know the Lord. It is another matter for the Lord to know us.
Jesus doesn’t know us even when we are working miracles in His name, if we are not living righteously.
No decent person need fear death, unless the Father has presented Christ to him or her and the individual has said no thanks. To disobey Christ makes a person ineligible to be part of the Kingdom of God. It is the most terrifying decision a human being can make.
This memorial service for Lynn is a pleasure because we can be confident that Lynn is rejoicing in the Presence of the Lord Jesus, and most likely is with Sonia. We understand that Jesus knows Lynn and loves her.
We will go to her. She will not come to us. Will we also receive as warm a welcome as Lynn has?
There is a reward for serving the Lord.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
(“Jacquelyn Miller”, 3996-2)