|This is the edited transcript of the recorded message
Franz asked me to speak about something rather simple – the family of God, which is a manifestation of the Kingdom (of God).
From one perspective you can say that the culture of the Kingdom (of God) in this world manifests in the culture of the family.
So this is a simple subject to talk about, but at the same time there is a bit of a challenge. The challenge is not in the simplicity of what the Scriptures say, but that when we grow up in Christ and the majority of teachings that come to us, as well as the entire manifestation of Christianity around us have established a certain mindset, a reality of life, that is totally different to what the scriptures reveal.
The result is that certain “glasses” are put over our eyes so that whatever we see, we see it through those glasses.
I now have to refer to this example which will then help us understand the simple thing that I want to say.
The reality of the church as it is today is focused on one thing: MY salvation.
I know this is a generalization, but for the most part Protestant Christianity is about MY salvation.
And there is nothing wrong with that because indeed I must be saved from this world, from death.
The problem occurs when “my own salvation” becomes the block for me to see and receive the culture of the Kingdom of God in my life. When everything that I read in the Bible, I interpret it through the ‘glasses’ of my own salvation. So THIS is my challenge – as for the message it is simple!
But how can I show you the message through the right “color” until I have asked you to remove the ‘glasses’ of your personal salvation, and put on a new pair of ‘glasses’ – let’s call these glasses “the simplicity which is in Christ Jesus”, which is like this:
-> we simply accept that what we read in the Scriptures, even though it makes no sense to us, THAT is the Kingdom culture that God wants us to embrace.
The Kingdom (of God) culture is not what people tell us or what we see around us. The Kingdom (of God) culture comes to us through the simplicity which is in the Scriptures.
I have explained the challenge. Now I will share my testimony. God reveals Himself to us through our testimony which helps us understand through our life what is already written in the Bible.
Here is the reality of my life in Christ. Greatly simplified, but the key message is this:
I was a saved sheep of God. Jesus shed His blood for me!
Awesome! The problem: I was alone. Is there a problem with that? Not in its own right! But still, can there still be any serious problem with that?
Let’s read a parable that most of us know.
A sheep out of the sheepfold is a lost sheep
Luke 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
What was the problem with this sheep? Let’s first understand what the problem was NOT: it was not a wolf; it was not a goat; it was not a snake; it was already a sheep – it already had the nature of Christ.
I was already a sheep but I was alone – a ha! Suddenly we now have a new set of eyes… what was the problem with that sheep (in the parable of Jesus)?
It was already a sheep but it was not in the sheepfold.
It was lost not because it was not a sheep, but because it was not in the sheepfold. Have we all changed glasses already? Suddenly the sheepfold takes on a new meaning, doesn’t it!
But I still have a problem…
If I had started my message with this title… I didn’t! But IF I had started my message saying: salvation is in the ‘Ecclesia’… hopefully, most of you would walk out on me; because this is what the Catholic Church says – that salvation is in the institution of the ‘Ecclesia’. So we have an automatic revulsion against the idea that an institution saves us. We revolted against that loathsome concept! That is why they call us “protestants” – I mean, I am not protesting against anybody, but…
Definitely my salvation is not in the Church… alright, but now we have a little problem… my salvation is not in the Church but in the blood of Jesus!
However, at the same time, the Bible says that if I am a lone sheep then I am a lost sheep because I am not protected in the safety of the sheepfold.
Do the scriptures help us resolve this conflict? I believe they do. Let’s begin with a simple portion of Scripture.
What is the greatest commandment of the Law?
Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the first and great commandment.
So far so good.. I can do that! But the next verse gives me a little problem…
39 “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Please allow me to paraphrase, based on the Scriptures. Also, the message of Franz Lippi in the previous session bears witness to it; may I paraphrase what he said?
“Are you a Christian? Show it to me by how you live!”
Now let us paraphrase verse 39 – it says this:
If you really love the Lord your God with all that you are and everything that you have, then it is as if God saying “show it to me by how you love the one who is the closest to you”.
The English Bible uses the word “neighbor”. A physical neighbor could be someone far away or someone I have no relationship with. The Hellenic word “plesion” means the one who is in closest proximity to you.
“Plesion” and ‘proximity’ are the same concept.
If I am a sheep alone there is no one in proximity to me. How shall I show my love of God, if there is no one there to show that love to?
Our task now is to speak about the blood that saves us.
If you remember what we said about salvation and the ‘Ecclesia’, and I said “no no no it is not the Ecclesia that saves me, it is the blood that saves me” and as I said there is a conflict, or, perhaps… a challenge to understand, and we are now on a journey to help us understand the challenge.
And I said, the scriptures can help us, if only we read the scriptures without the ‘glasses’ of what other people have told us; if we just allow the scriptures to speak to us.
So, there is (was) a season of the world, there is (was) a dispensation of the world before Jesus; let’s call it the pre-Christ era.
Things happened during the pre-Christ era, which God used to prepare the ground, to prepare the atmosphere, and to give us in writing everything that Jesus came to make real/complete.
Jesus did nothing that was not already written. He only fulfilled, which means He completed, or, He filled up everything that was already written. And He could only do it at the appointed timings of God.
How did God prepare us for Jesus in the pre-Christ era? By giving us on earth, the shadows of the heavenly things that were to come.
Actually, He had already given us the gospel; he had already shown us salvation; and, He had already revealed the Kingdom.
He had already taught us the principles of priesthood; He had already revealed the changes that would come to the world, when God would be manifest in the world.
He had already shown us what the ‘Ecclesia’ would look like; let’s start with that… what would the Ecclesia look like?
An assembly of circumcised followers of the Law of God, that were all of the same bloodline. All that was in the natural in the pre-Christ era, because it was a shadow on earth; a shadow of a substance of the heavenly realm, whi
ch, in Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus, it would become filled up, revealed and manifest.
So, what was the pre-Christ manifestation?
A people, a nation, all circumcised in the flesh, all from the same bloodline and all obeying the commandments.
Can you see the shadow on earth of the Ecclesia from heaven in that?
Who/what is the ecclesia in heaven? An assembly of people of the same bloodline, i.e. the Blood of Jesus, all circumcised – NOT in the flesh, but circumcised in the heart, and all obeying their Father.
The Father’s heart is revealed through the Law and for us it is not commandments – what are they? They are written in hearts of flesh!
“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD” (commandment)
The commandment of the Law was a strict regulation: “you shall love the Lord your God” – meaning, if you do not, you will be punished! You are obliged to love Him where it is true or not – such was the commandment of the Law.
No, that is not what/how it is now (in the New Testament dispensation of Grace – now it is like this):
“I just love the Lord my God”
I love Him from the bottom of my heart, because my heart is full of love for Him, that is what I find in my heart
Ok, back to the Blood!
The church, salvation, the blood, and the challenge… how do we connect them scripturally?
As we said earlier the challenge is to understand if salvation is in the Blood alone, or, through the Ecclesia? Is the lost sheep a sheep because it carries the nature of the Lamb of God, or is it a sheep because it is in a sheepfold? That is the challenge that we are trying to resolve.
Exodus chapter 12 – it is the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom (of God)’:
How to get saved from the slavery of Egypt, in order to walk away from the bondage of Pharaoh, to live in a different reality, in which the Lord is your God, no longer Pharaoh, but the Lord!
This is a different reality where your food and your health do not depend on the natural substances/elements of this world.
That the strength of your hand against your enemies is not muscular power, but is in who is your God who is in you; so, where is the Gospel of the Kingdom in the pre-Christ era?
It’s in Exodus chapter 12, or, from Exodus chapter 12, where it says from verse 2: “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you”.
This month is to be the beginning of months for you.
Why did God set that event to be the beginning of the calendar? This is the beginning of what is of interest to us, it is the beginning of our walk away from this world and into the Kingdom of God.
We will not quote all the verses of that chapter here (please read that on your own); here let us focus on the key words.
Each family, specifically each household had to select an animal. The second part of verse 3 says: “select an animal according to their fathers’ households, one animal per household…”
In the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew, the Hebrew translators of the Hebrew language to the Hellenic (Greek) of the 3rd and 2nd century before Christ, the word there for “fathers’ households” is “patria” – it comes from pater which is the word that father comes from.
Patria comes from Pater, so it is “fatherhood”, “family”, or “household”.
Where the translation is “per household”, and then where it speaks about taking the blood and putting it on the doorposts and lintels of each house – that is another very important Hellenic (Greek) word “Oikos”.
The ‘Oikos’ (household) has to do with the ‘Pater’ (father) and the family is ‘Patria’.
The blood was not on the people, but the blood was on the father’s household. Let us read verse 22 (of Exodus 12):
“And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning”.
You had to be inside, inside the sheepfold, which is gathered inside an Oikos – the Oikos is not only a matter of a building – it was the fathers and their sons who were inside the buildings.
The animal of the Oikos, and the Blood of the animal for this Oikos-household was only for this particular Patria-family (which was inside the building).
23 “For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, … (let us pause here…)
Where was the blood?
Now let us remember that we need to be wearing the “glasses” of simplicity which is in Christ; we do not want to interpret, we shall let the Scriptures to speak to us. We choose to forget what we were taught; we choose to read the Word of God with simplicity!
Where does the Blood protect me?
When I am in the Oikos-household! Not just any Oikos-household, but in my father’s Oikos-household. If I am in another father’s Oikos, the animal is not good for me.
Please forgive me, that is what I read in the Bible! If that destroys your teachings, I am sorry – but perhaps not really…
Let us now read the second half of verse 23:
… the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.
“The destroyer will not come in your houses” – THAT is what the Blood does – protects the family that is in the house that is marked by the Blood.
I was a lone sheep and I knew that was not God’s plan for me. But at the same time, from every local church I went to, I left disappointed. Actually, when leaving, I even had a few knives in my back (but let us leave that aside now).
Then I met Franz and Gerlinde; and I am not here to promote a ministry, I am not doing that. I cannot invite sheep from another sheepfold to my sheepfold. Anybody who invites sheep from other sheepfolds to their own sheepfold, it is like condemning that sheep into problems.
Anybody who invites sheep of another sheepfold to their own sheepfold, condemn that sheep to be in trouble. Why? Because as we said, every sheep must be in the sheepfold that God has positioned that sheep.
It is God who manifests Himself as Father. It is Jesus who manifests Himself as shepherd. Those manifestations have a face on earth. It is the face which carries the anointing to be the father or the shepherd. There are many sheepfolds, but not everyone is your father or your shepherd. Because the sheep knows his shepherd’s voice. How does that work? By the anointing.
It is God who sets the solitary in families.
Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. 6 God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
How many of you have the experience of reading Scriptures that mean nothing to you – until you start living them out, and they become reality in your life.
These were once just words to me, until this (myself) solitary person (was put into a household)… actually it was more than one solitary person, it was also my wife and our ministry. Because in Christ, we can be single individuals, but we can also be ‘corporate persons’.
A local family, or spiritual family, is a ‘corporate person’.
Every ‘corporate person’ (e.g. local church) in Christ needs a family. Because what is important for the blood is not only the ‘Oikos’-building, but it is also the ‘Patria’-fatherhood where the ‘Oikos’ (household) belongs (meaning, is under the higher corporate authority of the Fatherhood).
The ‘Ecclesia’ is the assembly of everybody.
But I am not called to demonstrate my love to God by how I love my Brazilian or Argentinean brothers and sisters. I don’t them, so it is very easy to love them. Instead, I am called to show my love of God to those persons with whom God positions me to be standing side by side in the battlefield.
Because ‘Ecclesia’ means battlefield; and I have to stand next to other soldiers.
In the pre-Christ era, the people of God, the Jewish people, who were the earthly shadow of what is now the ‘Ecclesia’ in the New Testament, they went to battle according to their fathers’ households.
The ‘Blood that was on the House’ (ref. Exodus 12) saved them from Death so that they could get out of Egypt and be(come) a nation by themselves, in which they lived according to their fathers’ households, and fought by their fathers’ households.
That is the ‘Oikos’ of God that reveals the culture of the Kingdom (of God); a Kingdom that a Son came to reveal.
This first thing that we find out is that He is a Son!
And His main task is to reveal His Father.
Then everything else about this son comes from the Father, and everything about the culture of the kingdom proceeds from a Fatherhood, and a Sonship, and I am so blessed and so privileged that my family and I, and our spiritual family, could be joined to this ‘Patria’ (speaking of the spiritual ‘Patria’-Fatherhood of Franz Lippi, our Pastor, whose spiritual ‘Oikos’-Household is BLAST Ministries, which is our spiritual family).