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Minister’s Website Article February 2020

The last book of the Bible - Revelation - has an incredible description of the house of God. Chapters 21 and 22 tell what God intends to build, and its amazing. Not only is it a house, but the house is a city. Then the city is also a bride, and the bride is a dwelling place, and the dwelling place is a wife, and the wife a temple, and the temple a garden.

Confused? These are all images of the same reality. Its confusing, unless we realise these all have deeper meaning. They speak of Gods ultimate purpose - the house God will have for himself.

It says Gods house will be made of three things. Not bricks and cement, but gold, pearl, precious stones. Of course, a house made of solid gold would be too heavy. And you could never find a pearl big enough for a window. So these images shouldn’t be taken literally. They all mean something else.

Think about those three. Gold is rare, fantastic, imperishable. It doesnt dull, rust or decay. Its also the most malleable of all precious metals. A single ounce can be beaten into a sheet five metres long.

Gold is purified and refined by fire - drawing out impurities, so making it pure. Completely pure gold is transparent. Nothing can be hidden within it.

So this is a city built with pure gold. That means it will go through fire, turmoil, suffering. Just as Jesus went through fires of suffering, so will Gods children. Have you suffered? Have things happened that made you miserable? If so, remember gold. Often, God lets suffering come in order to put gold in us. Remember that. Remind each other of gold in such times.

Then we have pearls. Real pearls are beautiful, expensive, and rare. Pearls are made when dirt or grit gets caught inside an oyster. It irritates, but the oyster cant remove it. So it coats the grit in nacre. Thousands of layers. Slowly, the grit becomes a pearl. It takes 7 or 8 years. Pearls created by irritation.

We all face painful, irritating situations. We dont want them; but God lets them happen. Why? To work a pearl into us. We are invited to either let Jesus turn our painful experience into a pearl, or get bitter and blame others. If you get bitter, the wound never heals. Then another passage, Hebrews 12 verse 15, says of this:

See to it that… no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Allowing yourself to become bitter is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to get sick. More Christians have been destroyed by bitterness than anything. But, if you let the Lord work pearl into you, without becoming bitter, you are precious. God is not only working gold into us, but also pearl. These he will use to build his city.

Then, precious stones. Rubies, diamonds, emeralds, amethyst… Precious stones are caused by great heat and pressure over a long time. God makes us into precious stones. One of his main methods is to put his people together - fallen, damaged, and rough - and ask them to live as community. The heat and pressure that will make us into precious stones comes from our brothers and sisters in Christ. The closer we get, the more the heat goes up.

The New Testament calls this long-suffering. A related word is forbearance, and church people are repeatedly asked to forbear with one another. What will happen? Precious stones.

God is building a city and a house, made of transparent gold, precious pearl, and costly stones. Let’s be part of that.

 

Every blessing

 

Duncan


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