GNB 152

November 11, 2022


“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life- comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2.15-16)

“For we know that if the earthly habitation we now live in is destroyed, we have one from God, an eternal home in heaven [waiting for us] not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5.1)

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband [the Lamb of God.]” (Revelation 21.2)


As today is celebrated as Veterans’ Day, I make this singular mention to it in honor of those who served this nation for this purpose: that they might have life. The “they” in that statement is first the citizens of the United States of America. To live under the banner of democracy is something to live and die for. Second, I submit that the “they” in that statement must also be “the founding fathers” of this nation born as a republic which was intended to stand under God independent from all other nations of the world. How they, who have died before these veterans we honor today in some form and fashion, have life is based on the adherence to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by all future generations. There is a third suggestion for the “they” in that statement which I would also consider. That suggestion is all those who find benefit in their association with this nation under God and become citizens of it and not, pardon the imagery, parasites. Taking some literary license at this point, I would draw our attention to this interpretation and application of the word “parasites” as “a pair of sights” or more aptly a “double vision.” By this I mean that to be truly a part of something you must have a singular vision. Other visions and opportunities may be derived and conceived out of that singular vision but they cannot truly operate outside and apart from that singular vision. Consider the three verses mentioned above:

  1. In 1 John 2, verses five and six, John mentions two worlds. Being of the “world of sin” is being a product born out of the love for the flesh as the primary function of life. It is all about satisfying self apart from God. Such love and such life is not the product of being of the “world of righteousness.” In that world, the love of God not only bears life but sustains it with the calling to “love others as the self has been loved by God.” Jesus taught “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” The Kingdom of God is that world of righteousness out of which we all have first been created. But, we dare not live “out of that world” in order to live in the world of “sin.” We are called to be in the world but not of it. (John 15.18f) We cannot authentically live with double vision. One eye cannot gaze at the world while the other gazes at the kingdom of God. As Jesus taught, “You cannot serve two masters because in truth you will love the one and hate the other.” The choice becomes which master will we choose as the primary and dominant vision caster: the Spirit of God or the flesh of humanity.
  2. In 2 Corinthians 5, verse one, Paul speaks to the vessel in which the Spirit of God dwells on earth (not the same as the world; earth is the place while the world is the community/communities of humankind who live on the earth). God chose the human form to be an image on earth of what life in Heaven is with God. But, this form is made of the dust of the earth. It was not intended to be eternal nor last forever. It is an image caster of the “dwelling place” of and with God. But, there is an eternal vessel being fashioned for us in Heaven by the Master Craftsman, Jesus Christ. The glorious body which Paul describes as the doxa soma bears a great resemblance to the one we have on earth but in its perfect and unblemished form. Yet, it does not stand independently from all the others as is the tendency of our earthly bodies. The strength of that eternal manifestation comes in the community to which it is meant to belong. The best of our individual self comes out in the blending of all selves given to the community of which they are a part. The community of the world, while it may offer a sense of independence from all other authority and a freedom to stand alone, believes only in one vision. That vision is a “one world” vision and it stands apart from the “one kingdom” vision which is meant and purposed by God.
  3. In Revelation 21, verse two, we are given a clearer understanding of what the fulfillment of that “kingdom vision” looks like. Identified as the Bride of the Lamb of God, it is in truth the kingdom community renewed in Heaven to dwell on earth. While the individual souls and their doxa soma exist for the glory of God, they do not and cannot exist apart from each other. They are joined together in a truly glorious manifestation of righteous community united in spiritual matrimony with the head of that community now fully manifested in what Isaiah explained was the identity of the Messiah upon whom the governance of all life shall rest as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince who will establish great peace which will endure forever and without end. It is the culmination of what Paul saw as the purposeful identity of the Church. The Church is the “body of Christ” and each person an equal member of it in purpose, function and identity. But, no person of the earth or this world can be the head of that body. Only Christ in Heaven is perfectly fitted for that honor, duty and opportunity to bring the full glory of God to bear on all things.

Jesus affirmed an abiding reality with His disciples on the night of His betrayal by one, Judas of Kerioth who believed that such double-vision can exist. Jesus said “I AM the way, the truth and the life. There is no other means of dwelling in the presence of God forever apart from Me.” We cannot live dual lives. If we attempt to do so, then we will hate the one and love the other. Put in another way, one will die and one will live. It becomes obvious that the only one which will live is that which is not made by human hands but by that which is eternal in the heavens. The alternative is life in the world which amounts to nothing more than death as from dust the body came and to dust the body will return. But, as the body, the flesh, dies what then of the spirit which had committed itself to preserve that which cannot live? It is then cast into the vision of separation from the source of all life, light and hope. It is bound to a community of sorrow, agony and pain bearing the full weight of the sin which cannot be forgiven because it was never surrendered into the reconciling hands of a loving God.

What is it that we see as the future of this nation? Is the current culture and climate tending itself to foster such individuality that community no longer truly exists except in a struggle for survival at the cost of life itself? This question weighs heavily on my heart and mind as I read a telling result of the exit polls conducted following the recent mid-term elections. Simply put, 58% of the votes cast for Democratic candidates were by unmarried and single individuals. That number reflective of the current culture and climate has grown over the past sixty years. In the current state of practice, that number will increase. The agenda of dissolving the community, the body of faith, the marital relationship and ultimately the individual is in full implementation. The values which have established healthy communities of body, mind and spirit in the past are being set to the side. It is not because they have no worth nor power but because they stand for submission to the “way, truth and life” by which the eternal and abundant life is manifested perfectly. What is it we are “fighting for that they might have life.” The Church of Jesus Christ bound in a singular vision speaks of the Christ who gave His life as an atonement for our sin. He laid down His life as Head of the family in sacrifice so that those who would believe in Him might have life abundantly and eternally. Let me ask again: What is it that we are fighting for? What vision of life is it that we dare to see? What hope are we giving to others that shall manifest itself in a peace that will endure and never end?


Your will be done! AMEN.

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