As disciples of Jesus, we have all become citizens of His kingdom, that spiritual kingdom which rules over all the nations of the earth, and ultimately will be the winner in all of history. But more than that, according to Paul, we are members of Yahweh’s intimate family. John could never get over this. He said, “Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are called God’s dear children. And that’s what we are. For this reason, the world doesn’t recognize us, and it didn’t recognize him either” (I John 3:1). Wow! Children of the living God!
You can see how amazing this is. A child always outranks any ambassador or governor or secretary or minister or senator. A biography of Abraham Lincoln I once read tells a story of an incident which occurred during the Civil War when the President was involved with his cabinet in a very crucial, decisive meeting. They were in the Cabinet room, working out their grand strategy when there came a knock at the door. There stood little Willy, the President’s ten-year-old son, wanting to see his father for a moment. Abraham Lincoln laid aside all the duties of state, left all the Cabinet members cooling their heels, while he saw what Willy wanted. Willy outranked all the others. He had access to his father.
This is the great truth that Paul is trying to bring home to our hearts — the fact that we have access to a Father, a Father who is the King, with tremendous authority and power in the affairs of the world, in life as it is lived right now.
Now how can that be? Through our prayers! Yeah, praying to whom? Praying to a Heavenly Father who is a King in authority. He was the one who arranged the circumstances and opened open our eyes so that His truth would come and we would begin to see things correctly. The provision and protection of a father are always more intimate and personal than even a king could provide. A king is concerned about our general welfare, but a father wants to know all about our intimate problems.
Isn’t this what Jesus taught? Again and again, He said, “Your heavenly Father knows your needs . . . even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Luke 12:30, Matthew 10:30). Oh man! Our Father’s concern is all around us; it involves every aspect of our life. He is not only concerned about getting justice for you. A king does that. But you are the object of his deepest, most intimate, personal concern. As Zechariah tells us, God said of his people Israel, “Whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8). Could anything be closer than that?
Oh, wait! There is something. Paul goes on and discusses an even more intimate relationship: you are “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Christ Yeshua himself is the cornerstone!” Oh, don’t pass that off too quickly. Don’t picture it as an anticlimax. After all, a building is rather cold and impersonal when you compare it with the relationship of a family. But if you look carefully you will see what Paul is thinking. He is actually moving closer, higher, to a more intimate relationship, because he is stressing the closeness of the members of the very habitation of God — to one another and the Lord.
We may as well admit that it is possible for family members could be scattered all over the earth. Even some of you have family members who are thousands of miles away. Yes, you are still related, are still members of the same family, but you are separated by miles and probably haven’t seen one another for years. But in the figure of a building, no separation of stones which make up the walls is possible. Everything is tightly joined, knit together. If the stones are separated, the building will crumble. So Paul is bringing us into a much more intimate relationship.
He goes on to say that this building is a living, growing habitation of God! The building becomes the body of God, the dwelling place where God himself lives. And what could be more personal, more intimate to you, than your body? We even reserve the word intimate for things that concern our body. When you think about an intimate relationship, you are thinking of one that touches you physically, touches your body. So, Paul is reminding us of how close we are to God — a God of power, a God of might, a God of love — of how intimate his relationship is to us, and of how he ties us all together, builds us into this tremendous building he is erecting.
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.