REBOOTING THE GESTALT
By Larry White
“ The only real voyage of discovery... consists not of seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
[Marcel Proust, 17th century French author]
I got to thinking about this quote a couple of weeks ago when Ben got up to serve the Lord's Supper. To set the tone, he just reminded us very simply of who we are and for what we are here; from a hectic week, bringing us back to ourselves.
I think that this is one of the main functions of meeting together regularly. You could call this rebooting the gestalt. Gestalt being the whole that cannot be described as the sum of its parts, the totality of our experience at all logical levels and in all senses - our world-view. It is how we view ourselves and not just the world, but the universe around us. How we view existence.
Bringing us back to ourselves is important because we have competing world views continually confronting us. And, for me, finally landing a job has brought that strongly home to me. In the five or six workday week there is a constant pressure to play along with the delusive world view that we have to walk among every day. But we can come back here to people of like mind and have what strengthened? Our faith. To be reminded that:
1. God is (and in a limited perspective - is everywhere)
Our faith has to start here. Heb.11:6, "He that comes to God must believe that he is..."
Everyone at one time or another wonders what is beyond the sky. We cannot grasp that something has no end. Scientists see it on paper as ∞ (infinity) and then are mathematically satisfied. Few actually contemplate a universe that physically goes on forever. I believe if we were to ask God, "What lies beyond the sky? What is just past that blackness we see?" We would get the response, "I am". And that would have to be what we would expect to be true, with all the multifaceted meanings that is involved with God's statement of his name.
1 O Jehovah, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Jehovah, you know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, you are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there your hand shall lead me,
And your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,"
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from you,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to you.
God has manifested himself as: Holy
which is expressed in: Love
and that is manifested by his: Truth - Goodness - Justice - Mercy
He is the one who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. (Rev.1:8)
He has also manifested himself to the world in his son.
2. Jesus is (manifested)
(Heb.1:3) He is the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person. The brightness or "effulgence" of his glory. If you were to actually see God in this respect, what you would be seeing is Jesus. The express image of his person indicates not that Jesus is imprinted with the father's likeness, but that Jesus is the one that does the imprinting; he is the image. There are some things that are too far above me here to comprehend. So we'll leave it at that.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star.”
He is the harbinger of the dawn. People were waiting for the dawn in the first century. Peter tells Christians who are already partakers of the divine nature (2Pet.1:4) to pay attention to the Old Covenant prophets as a light that shines in a dark place until...the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 2Pet. 1:19
This was something that was coming, an enlightenment in their hearts at the dawning of the day. Paul said:
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is advanced, the day has drawn near.
John said, "the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining." (1Jno.1:8)
The coming of Jesus heralded the soon to come day of the full realization of the everlasting kingdom of God on the earth, the new spiritual age of the reign of Christ. The first century Christians expected it very soon and we can appreciate their excitement being that we enjoy now, that to which they were looking forward. It remains for us simply to open our eyes to the glories of the kingdom of which we are members and partake fully of the light of love and spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, i.e. the spiritual realm. That light, from the first century till now has been an ever intense, bright noonday shining that wakes us up to the light of the spiritual day.
3. We walk in the light
But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin.
Walking carries the idea of walking around, not with the world view of those with which you work, but with a mind to the real world view, the true light. We are like the first century Christians in that we must keep aware and not go to sleep.
I Thess. 5:5-8
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
Remember, you are not alone, there are others like you who walk in the real light. And they are loving others like you are and they are suffering for it. But they will also be the ones rejoicing evermore and acutely aware of what is going on in the spiritual realm.
If we walk in the light, the blood of his son cleanses us from all sin.
4. We are forgiven and clean (holy)
We can have peace with God and have clear consciences. Your friends in the world will judge you by their standards and you will always be found wanting. But like Paul in 1Cor.4, it is a very small thing to be judged by human judgement. You are pleasing in God's sight - don't worry about what the world thinks.
5. His command is love (his image)
This is an old commandment. It was there in the Old Covenant. It is also a command in the New Covenant but in a new way.
"Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.
Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes."
It is a true love in him and in you, and has to do with the daylight of the spiritual realm. It is not the love of the Old Covenant Jew for his Jewish neighbor because he had to. But it is the love that comes from God in the spirit that sets ego aside and sacrifices the self for another person.
Paul mentions the Colossian's love IN the spirit for him, (Col.1:18). That would be their love for him in the light and truth. To the Romans in (Rom.15:30) he begs them by the love OF the Spirit to pray for him. That would be the love that is the product of the Holy Spirit when we walk in truth and the light.
Love is God's image and nature. The divine nature of which we partake is love in the spirit.
- Life is in the spirit.
- Light is in the spirit.
- Truth is in the spirit
- Love is in the spirit.
Walking in the light that John is talking about is walking in love which is having real life.
6. We turn to God
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will pass away; or languages, they will cease; or knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is complete comes, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see in a mirror, in an enigma, but then, face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall fully know just as I was fully known.
And now remains faith, hope, love, these three; but the greater of these is love.
That which is complete has come, the restitution of all things, (Acts 3:20-21) The daylight has arrived and we have the opportunity now of seeing face to face. We must turn to God.
"For if what is passing away was glorious, that which stays is much more glorious.
Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech – unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel could not gaze intently at the end result of what was being done away. But their minds were hardened. For until the present day the same veil remains unlifted on the reading of the Old Covenant, which veil is being taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, forth from glory unto glory, just as forth from the Lord the Spirit."
We can have new eyes to see and unstopped ears to hear. When we, with all our hearts, turn to God and draw near to him. We pray continually that God be with us. But we need to be "with" God. I believe that this is what is indicated in the nature of God's son.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The word "with" in the Greek here is proV, (pros) which denotes movement of approach towards an object or person. So, the essence of the Word is a continual tendency towards God, an intimate relation. You would think that his tendency would be towards us, manifesting to us the revelation of the father, shining the glory of God for us to see. But that isn't what we see. We see the Word looking continually toward God.
- He exists eternally like God
- He is personal like God
- He is God like God, but dependent upon Him, aspiring towards him, living only for Him.
Like Paul says in Rom.6:10 "...in that he lives, he lives unto God."
We partake of the divine nature as we also come near, aspiring toward God, living only for Him, living unto him.
The sin of man marks the break in his heart in estrangement from God. Falling from his image. Not abiding in his presence, not remaining in the truth, not walking with him in the light. Sin in this regard is apart from a written code of law so please don't think in legal terms when you hear such language. It is the relationship with our creator-father that is broken. It is the image in which we were originally formed that is marred and abandoned. You have to turn away from God to knowingly sin.
So, in your heart, do the opposite. Draw near to God - turn your face towards His and look in his face, honestly abiding in his truth.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up.
7. We live for God
Who are you living for? The spiritual life, real and abundant, is to be living for God. This is our gestalt in one line.
We live for God.
Let that have its effect on you this coming week, whatever you might be doing. Let it encourage you and bring peace and joy to you heart.
(Originally delivered as a sermon in Boise, ID. November 14, 2004)