Imagine the Glory of being made a part of a group you didnâ€™t belong
I can remember as a kid being the one who was always picked last and
that grudgingly. Can anyone here attest to that – itâ€™s a terrible
feeling. You know that youâ€™re no good at the sport. Everyone else
knows that youâ€™re no good at the sport, and when it comes time for
the â€œpick me lineupâ€ you stand there with your head hanging down –
refusing to make eye contact. One by one, everyone is picked until
youâ€™re one of the last two standing. You know whatâ€™s next: The
lucky team picks their man and you hear the captain of the other team
grunt in disbelief that they have to put up with the unwanted player
Can you imagine the relief if one day the team captain called your name
right next to the star athlete? Thatâ€™s what Paul tries to describe in
Ephesians 3:4-6 as what he calls â€œThe mystery of Christâ€¦â€
Ephesians 3:4-6 â€œâ€¦the mystery of Christ, which in other generations
was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to
His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the
Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow
partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospelâ€¦â€
In Christ we who had no claim to the promises of Jesus have been
brought to where we receive the promises of Israel along with them. In
fact the day is coming when Christ returns, and his kingdom is
established and God brings the New Jerusalem upon the new earth, when
all of the nations will stream into Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
Thatâ€™s the theme of Psalm 87, turn in your Bibles to that text if you
will for a moment.
Itâ€™s a very brief Psalm which shows us not only
Godâ€™s love of Jerusalem, but in light of our text in Ephesians,
reveals the formerly hidden mystery that those who are born again
through Jesus Christ are recipients of the blessing of being considered
a resident of Jerusalem – the most loved city of all Godâ€™s cities.
It starts in the first verse with the phrase â€œHis foundation is in
the Holy Mountainsâ€¦â€ Now when you read through the next verse you
begin to recognize what is meant here, and that is namely that when the
Psalmist starts with â€œHisâ€ he means â€œGodâ€ here so that heâ€™s
saying: â€œGodâ€™s foundation is in the Holy Mountains.â€
But whatâ€™s the foundation? We read in 1 Corinthians 3:11 â€œno man
can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus
Christ." So the foundation is really Christ and none less. God has
determined to build upon Christ – who himself is the cornerstone and
foundation that was laid in Jerusalem, for Jerusalem.
If you havenâ€™t gotten the message yet it is this: God Loves Jerusalem
and the Foundation of Jerusalem is Jesus Christ Godâ€™s Son.
The very next verse tells us that God loves the gates of â€œZionâ€ or
â€œJerusalemâ€ more than he loves any other city in Israel – which is
His chosen nation. Because God loves Jerusalem, it is the city he has
chosen to bear his name. It is the city God has chosen to put his
presence in. IT is the city God has chosen to contain his Temple and
ultimately itâ€™s the city of eternal day.
The FUTURE of Jerusalem is what is in view in the third verse when the
writer says, â€œGlorious things are spoken of you.â€ Heâ€™s not just
saying that people say nice things about Jerusalem. The phrase is
spoken prophetically. As if to say, â€œGod has big plans for you
Jerusalem.â€ The greatness of God's plan is precisely the truth.
In Revelation 21 John Sees the New Jerusalem descending from Heaven
upon the New Earth. It is a monstrous city of Gargantuan size According
to Revelation 21:16 the new Jerusalem will be "…fifteen hundred
miles…" on each side. And the nations of the earth will stream into
her in order to worship God in his temple.
And speaking of those surrounding nations, the fourth verse begins to
talk about God adopting those other nations. He starts with â€œRahabâ€
and we ought to pause there and wonder just who exactly Rahab is. Have
you ever heard of the nation of Rahab? I havenâ€™t either. Itâ€™s a
Hebrew word meaning â€œProudâ€ and itâ€™s used on various occasions as
a synonym for Egypt.
So he says, Iâ€™ll mention Egypt and Babylon as those who know me. When
you think about the political landscape of the day, Egypt to the
South-West and Babylon to the East comprise the greatest superpowers of
the day. And then Philistia in the South-West and Tyre in the North are
the closest neighboring countries to Israel while Ethiopia to the South
envisions nations farthest away.
The idea is primarily that God speaks of a time when all the nations
Great or small, near or far will come to Him and will, by his grace,
not only be called his own, but will be considered "citizens of Zion."
(Look in the prior Psalm at 86:9.)
So the Foundation of God is Christ, the Favorite place in Israel is
Jerusalem which is founded on Christ, and the Future of Jerusalem
includes a time when all of the nations will come to Her in Christ.
Right now our country has at least 33 million people who were born
somewhere else but came to America and worked hard to obtain full
citizenship. Why would they do that? Why would someone turn away from
the country of their birth? There may be any of 33 million individual
reasons but ultimately it adds up to the fact that they believed they
would be better
off as citizens of our country.
The blessings of citizenship are many but they still donâ€™t compare to
being considered by God as a citizen of Jerusalem. God will look upon
the nations and will point to the ones who believe in him and will say,
â€œThis one was born in Jerusalem, not born of the flesh in Jerusalem
perhaps but more importantly born of the Spirit in Jerusalem.â€
When God takes a census at the end of all things he will record with a
special flourish those who were born in Jerusalem. This is the heritage
of being born again; we are counted as citizens of Jerusalem with full
right and privilege of the position.
So what should be our response as citizens of Jerusalem? On that day,
our response will be automatic. But even now our response should be
worship. Look at verse 7 the final verse.
Psalm 87:7 "Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes
shall say, â€œAll my springs of joy are in you.â€" (NASB95)
Fountains in the Old Testament are symbolic of blessing, especially
understandable in light of an often arid climate. Just like we've been
commenting on the fact that the new parsonage well is "a gusher" and
we're happy with that when water is relatively plentiful. One can
imagine how great a blessing it would be to have springs of water in an
In a much greater way our rejoicing will be towards the blessings which
God has given us, and we will in the final days sing as the translators
of the NLT put it â€œThe source of my life springs from Jerusalem!â€
We, the church of Jesus Christ are built upon the foundation of Jesus
Christ, the Foundation that God himself has fixed and secured. We have
become citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, and for that we will praise
Praise the LORD!
Imagine the Glory of being made a part of a group you didnâ€™t belong