Monday 1 August 2011

People as Lightbulbs by David Needham

thru Nick Cabbiness_Facebook
I am sure there are thousands of kinds of light bulbs in the world. Different shapes and sizes, colors, and designs; little bulbs, big bulbs; skinny ones, stocky ones; some formed with the sensitivity of a master glass blower, others quite plain; some of brittle, fragile glass, others quite tough. Yet each one was made to fulfill some distinctive purpose, to fit in its own special place. Inside each bulb is a filament. Even here the differences could be endless, all the way from delicate, weblike threads, laced from point to point, to filament that is nothing but a thick, stubby wire.

Can you see them? Each in their assigned places––Christmas lights, refrigerator lights, fog lights, signal lights, night lights, stadium lights, landing lights, flashlights--on and on--by the millions. Each one representing an individual human being. But all are missing the one quality that alone justifies their existence--LIGHT.

Then, as we watch, here and there, in an instant, single bulbs come alive with light--the new birth!

What actually happened? Did anything about the bulb materially change? No.Let's go a step further and say that the filament is a person's spirit, or one's inmost self. Did it change? Well, yes and no. The substance itself didn't change, but as you look at it you can scarcely see it for the brilliance of the light flooding from it. In fact, the filament, the glass bulb itself, is now virtually hidden within the light. Also, though the light originates in the filament, it affects the entire bulb.

So is the miracle of regeneration. It isn't simply that a Christian becomes a spirt person (a shining filament person), but rather, the whole person, as one unity, shines.

Yes, God, the Holy Spirit himself shined into our hearts (the filament). And the shining is nothing other than the risen life of Jesus. But this "treasure" (2 Corinthians 4:6-7) is not the exclusive property of the filament; rather, Paul says, "we have this treasure in clay jars" (the glass bulbs). God's intent is that this quickening miracle affect everything about us.

What if someone decided to start giving out awards for the best light bulb? How would they decide what makes a "best" bulb? With each light in its proper place, fulfilling its purpose, how could one be better than another?

By brightness? No. Who would want a 1000 watt night light?

By artistry and craftmanship? Hardly. When the light is shining, it is the light which is the point of interest, not the glass.

In fact, the only way one could ever give out awards would be to turn off every light. With the light gone, all that's left is filament and glass. And yes, that could be judged and awarded. But how foolish! Bulbs were made for light.

So also the wonder of God's miracle. "Therefore, from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh" (2 Corinthians 5:16, NASB).

When one is born again, God not only infuses light into what would otherwise be our darkened (though very distinctive) mortality; but now, not only is every part of our being in some way touched by light, BUT THE LIGHT BECOMES WHAT WE MOST TRULY ARE!

We dont' say, "Turn on the bulb," but "Turn on the light!" So the one who is joined to the Lord is "one spirit." We cannot claim that we in ourselves or of ourselves are light. The only way we are light is because of our dependent union with God, who is Light.

Does anybody catch what a meaningful shift this is ?In firstlevel churches things were simple. Worship was meant to be about gathering together to exalt the Lord, and in that context to learn more about the new life in Christ. It covered salvation and many basic life rules to distinguish from worldly living.

Baptism in the Spirit changed this somewhat. First and foremost , now when we gathered together we really felt to be the Body of Christ on earth. If there had been a Presence of the Lord in the gathering before, now it seemed to have upped the anti. Before, things were simple, after the service you went your own way. Now you hungered to do everything as a Body.  But we didn't REALLY KNOW who we were. Not full-time.
Once separated from other Body members, we just felt pretty ordinary again really, and got on with our own family,business and interests, apart from those few who insisted on doing Body Life as a community. In this case, the results were very similar, but it was all the more shocking somehow because we all knew how we were in meetings. The word DICHOTOMY springs to mind.

However, can you see how in the secondlevel this DOUBLES the drive for activities you can do together as a Body. Maybe, sing on the streets and do witnessing.
Maybe prayer meetings. Worship meetings. Warfare meetings. And then there's the dreaded church football games, or church 9 pin bowling evenings.

But once you see yourself as a unique lightbulb.....containing Christ.
Once you see that on your inside. Full-time.
That the verse "Christ in you the hope of glory" actually means what it said, and not something in religious jibberish a bit like Abracadabra...
that He is our permanent Hope of bringing forth glory in us and through us, to the glory of God the Father, and moving in glory stages ...from glory to glory....
Well once that grabs us...

Can you see what that does to our ideas of church.  How we gather, in what form we gather...doesnt really matter that much. We are just keen that when we do, Christ is manifest, and not something else going on.
Of a testosterone nature. Of an agenda led nature.  We really just want Jacob's ladder. That sense of angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

The idea of Church doing things changes. You see, whatever we do, the Church is doing it. Before, although the London housegroups in the 70s would talk about us being "supernaturally natural"....errrrm...this could not be so....because no one really knew  who they were. Not on their insides. They didn't really KNOW Galations 2:20. They were still "RECKONING" on Galations 2:20. But you start in Romans 6, to be led through Chapter 7, to reach Chapter 8, on the insides of you.

A Romans 8 Church is very different from a Romans 6 Church. Maybe the confession is the same. Maybe for both it's a "Done Deal". If you have seen it by faith, you proclaim it.

It's just that when Abraham finally held  baby Isaac, he didn't have to relay his nightsky testimony of the stars anymore, he just handed the baby round, while everyone stared at the 90 year old wife, and 100 year old husband, their mouths wide-open, not being able to utter a word through shock.

Abraham as a type of Church Reproduction.
In Genesis 15, Abraham knew God was to give him a son as heir. So with his eyes he looked around, and saw that Eliezer, who had at least been born in the house , was to be heir. "So it'll be him then?"
verse 4:"This man will NOT be your heir , but one who comes forth from your own body shall be heir."

Time passes. Still no fulfilment. "I know," thinks Sarah, "It'll still be from your loins Abraham if you enter my maid." So Ishmael is born. 
So this seems better. It is still "within the house".

But God's idea of revival, of reproduction, is according to the Word. According to the given promise. Of a Church impregnated properly with His own seed. Even though Sarah be way past childbearing age.

 I see all the hoops and programmes of secondlevel church as simple unbelief. They are not focussing on the one Promise. The Promise of a Son, who when fully formed in individuals and churches, reproduces perfectly easily after His own kind.

As containers, we can be classical guitar, flute and keyboardplayers,
or footballers,
or architects,
or writers
or techies,
or any order of the above.

We can, like Adam's seed be anything. The spiritual contract has already been signed in Genesis 3.
We, however are the second Adam's seed. Our contract was signed on this earth at any rate, at the Cross, and we too can now be anything. Because whatever our outer form is, our inner purpose is as a bearer of the Light. But all this has HUUUUUGE ramifications for how church looks.

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