Jesus said He would prepare a place for us, and He would come to us, and would receive us unto Himself. “Come unto ME,” Jesus said. And I believe this “place” He has prepared is IN HIMSELF. He has prepared a place for us and it is a place of dwelling and abiding in Himself. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” He says. He has, and He is, this Place prepared for us, and He is the Way into that Place. He is our Destination, He is our Purpose, He is our Promised Land, He is our Sabbath Day, He is our Rest.
So the Ekklesia, the Church that Jesus is building, is a spiritual house of living stones. It is the gathering together INTO CHRIST of those who are called out of the earthly, out of the carnal, out of the natural, out of the worldly, out of the fleshly, out of that which is merely human, out of darkness, out of death, and into the spiritual, into the heavenly, into the very Life of God Himself.
How powerful this is! How wonderful this is! And can you really see how we have utterly failed when we try to bring the Ekklesia down to earth, to make it natural, to think of it only in terms of meetings attended, sermons preached, or programs implemented? It is far greater, far more wonderful, than anything we can imagine or define in earthly terms. And because it is spiritual, because it is heavenly, and because it is a gathering together in the Spirit, INTO JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF and out of everything outside of Christ, this Ekklesia is LIVING.
Now, you might not be accustomed to thinking of the Ekklesia in terms of the Vine and the Branches. We usually think of this in terms of our personal relationship with God, our personal walk with God. It certainly includes that, but the teaching of Jesus in John 15 is not a teaching about The Vine and A Branch (singular); it is teaching us about The Vine and The Branches (plural). And the idea is that there is a living union that exists between the Vine and the Branches. It is a living union that exists between the Lord and the Ekklesia, which is the gathering of those who are called out of darkness and into His marvelous light; out of where they are and into union with Christ. That idea is conveyed in the Vine and the Branches. They are joined to one another organically. They are joined to one another in essence, in spirit, and they share in the same Life.
It’s very obvious from John 15 that He wishes us to abide in Him, to be together with Him. So much so that He says apart from Him, apart from this abiding, we can do nothing. Now, it is true that we can do many things apart from Him, but the point is that everything we do apart from Him amounts to nothing! It is of no consequence outside of Him, it is of no value to the Kingdom of God apart from this abiding, living union with Jesus. Why? Because He is the Life of the Ekklesia, He is the Life of the Believer, and everything outside of Him, and everything apart from Him, is spiritually dead. In Him is Life: “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Yes, things done for God, apart from God, are dead things. Things done for Jesus, things done in the name of Jesus, but done apart from that abiding relationship with Jesus, are unfruitful, dead things.
So the Ekklesia consists of those who are abiding in Christ and sharing in His Life. Because the Ekklesia is called out of death and into Life, the Ekklesia is living. What is the implication? Well, among other things, if the Ekklesia is living and abiding in Christ, this eliminates the need for revival! What is revival? Well, it’s a Latin word that means “to make alive again”. It means something has died and we are going to revive it. That is revival. But we have already seen that when we abide in Christ we share in His Life. The Ekklesia is living because Christ lives. And so the Ekklesia has no need of revival, because it shares in the life of the Lord.
Now see, we try to take that concept of “revival” and we apply it to things that are dead, things that are outside of the Ekklesia – our church buildings, our religious programs, our church services, our membership – and we hope that through “revival” we are going to increase our ministry, enlarge our church, get more people saved, or whatever the goal is. But my point is that the Ekklesia does not need revival. You are trying to raise something from the dead with revival, but the Ekklesia is living.
The Ekklesia is growing spiritually. It is expanding. How is it growing? How is it expanding? Numerically? Well, perhaps; but the real measure of growth is not in terms of numbers or dollars. The Ekklesia is growing spiritually with the increase of Christ. Stated differently, the Ekklesia enjoys spiritual oneness with Jesus, and so it grows spiritually (and may I say it grows spontaneously) without effort, and is fruitful as it continues to abide in that spiritual oneness that already exists in Christ.
So, if you believe that you are in need of revival, do not try and resurrect something that is dead – simply get into Christ Who is Life! Come into that abiding relationship with Jesus that the Ekklesia enjoys – this spiritual oneness with Him – and you will enjoy the Life of Him: fruitfulness in the Spirit and increase with the measure of Christ. Why? Because of this spiritual oneness, this union. “I will prepare a place for you,” Jesus says, “And I will come and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn 14:3). That is oneness! Because He lives, we live. Because he is the Life, we are alive together with Him.