Hearing the Word of God
This final teaching on the nature of revival emerged from a session of prayer in Hong Kong on 5th June 2009; it complements and completes my first two messages. The central point of the first paper was that as we grow in Christ we enter into a deeper awareness of his thoughts, attitude, intentions etc. Through intercession God speaks his own Word through us, this breaks forth into the community creating an awareness of the accessibility of God and results in the spiritual awakening we call “revival”. This paper adds a degree of sophistication to the church’s awareness of exactly what is happening inside Jesus as he seeks to bring to the kingdom of his Father upon earth. The second article focussed on God’s own story, how God as Trinity is in eternal self communication. It pointed to the delight of the Godhead in sharing his story with us so that we might become integrated into it. This final paper adds precision to how this takes place by considering the nature of Jesus’ ministry.
The Royal Image of the Son
Out praying in Hong Kong I sensed an inner dialogue within the person of Jesus, and the words “speak to the royal image”. Since Christ is fully human, he shares the structure of our self-consciousness; he is aware of his own thoughts, and, like the psalmists, “speaks to himself”.
The “royal image” of Jesus refers to his identity as the Son of God, for example, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” (Ps 2:6-8). This is a pivotal text for the New Testament understanding of the rule and reign of Jesus. As the Son of God, Jesus is not only, as in this text, the messianic King, but also a priest (Heb 2:17; 3:1; 4:14; 5:5-6 etc.). Thirdly, since “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb 1:2), Jesus is also a prophet. The inner dialogue of Jesus involves his self-consciousness as the representative Prophet, Priest and King enacting the will of his Father.
When I speak of Jesus “hearing himself”, I am not using this in an individualistic sense. rather, in the Spirit, Jesus is aware of his own human thoughts within the Father’s love, he hears himself in the Father’s love as a full participant in the single stream of consciousness that constitutes the eternal life of the Trinity. In metaphorical language, this is the everflowing stream of the “river of God” in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To live in this stream is to be as eternal as God is eternal (John 17:3), and this is happening in Jesus’ human self-awareness now.
In the fullness of his recreated humanity’s share in the triune life, Jesus hears the Father not as an external witness but within his own voice. Let me illustrate this principle of mutual inwardness. God the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24; 32; 3:26; 5:30; Rom 6:4; 1 Cor 6:14; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; 1 Pet 1:13), the Son raised himself (John 2:19-21; 10:18; 11:25) and the Spirit is the agent of resurrection (Rom 1:4; 8:11; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 Pet 3:18). The resurrection is one act of the love of the Trinity. This unity of love in thought and action is the basis of the authority of God.
When Jesus said, ““All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matt 28:18-19), he was speaking from the deepest inner sense of oneness with the Father and Spirit in God’s eternal purposes that all the nations worship him. As the humanity of Jesus indwells God, he as priest prays prophetically to himself as king who responds by sending the Spirit to do acts of healing, deliverance and redemption.
In sharing Jesus concern for the growth of the kingdom of God Paul says, “…seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God….3 For… your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:1, 3). As we are taken into the unity of Jesus mind as prophet, priest and king we share in the complete unity of God (John 17:20-26). As Christians become aware of this something remarkable happens.
The Creation of Christian Community
The remarkable thing that happens is that Christians, in sharing the new humanity of Christ, enter into the mutual self-awareness of the Persons of the Trinity in a communitarian way that reflects the nature of God. In Christ we unite with the authority of the Trinity to create a new eternal humanity through the Word of God. When Paul says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Col 3:16), he means we hear God in Christ speaking in each other’s words.
Christian community is created when we hear each other speaking the words of God in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the love of the Father and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 13:14). In the Spirit our words in union with the Word of God literally create a new family for God. No Christian who is grasped by this truth can remain passive; the entire church is dynamised into a prophetic, priestly and kingly community of faith. This involves profoundly speaking the Word in all its forms, including intense prolonged intercession and the visible manifestations of God’s powerful inbreaking rule.
Your Voice will be Heard
As I prayed I sensed the Lord saying to his people, “In Jesus your voice will be heard”. Many of us feel like our voices have not been heard –we have not taken seriously by parents, teachers, peers, husbands, wives, and church authorities. God is bringing about a profound change to all this.
Growing in our union with Christ we begin to hear the voice of God within the sound of our own voices. As we hear the Almighty Creator and merciful Judge speaking through us, we recognise that we are hearing the voice of a royal image bearer, that in Christ we are prophets, priests and kings because we are the sons of God (John 1:12; Gal 4:14-16). This means hearing ourselves for the first time, hearing who we truly are, recognising ourselves in the divine image.
In pray I saw that the voice of the poor, weak and oppressed was heard. The Lord was saying to these downcast ones, “You are heard.” As people hear God hearing them there will be a huge release of spiritual authority, the control structures that have brought silence through fear will be cast off and many will enter into manifestations of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:7). As at Pentecost, the work of the Spirit will not be containable amongst assembled believers but will spill out onto the streets of the city. A new spiritual authority is coming.
As Jesus stood grieving before the tomb of Lazarus he said, ““Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me” (John 11:41-42). The apostle John who recorded these words later said, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15). John is confident that Christians can be heard in the same way as Jesus, because he knows that our prayers are taken up in our union with Christ into the very life of God himself. They bear the esteem and dignity of the prayers of the Son of God at the right hand of power (Heb 1:3) and they will be answered.
Australia, like many other countries, does not believe it is a nation heard by God. The overall prayerlessness of the church, let alone the wider community, shows this to be so. Yet I believe that we are on the verge of something wonderful. I sense something is changing at the deepest possible level, I sense we are being led deeper into the Father’s heart, I sense we are being taken into the three-fold holiness of God, ““Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”” (Rev 4:8; Isa 6:3). In being immersed in God’s holiness all of what I have spoken in these three studies will become clear; this is not something to be reached, it is something to be realised.
 Some have suggested that my latest articles have been less systematic and more mystical. There is a degree of truth in this, so I encourage readers to approach them as more symbolic and less literal in their claims.
 E.g. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation 6 and my God.” (Ps 42:5-6). See also 43:5; 62:5; 103:1, 2, 22; 104:1, 35; 116:7; 146:1.
 Luke 3:22; 9:35; John 1:49; Acts 13:33; Heb 1:2, 5; 5:5.
 See also Matt 13:57; Luke 13:33; John 4:19; 6:14; Acts 3:17-23; 7:3, 37.
 The classic exposition of the three offices of Christ, prophet, priest and king, is found in John Calvin.
 As if Jesus was an isolated rather than an essentially relational person. There is no monologue in Christ.
 Pss 46:4; 65:9; Rev 22:1.
 See, “if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matt 18:19).
 E.g. “a kingdom, priests to his God and Father” (Rev 1:6).
 Compare, “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt 16:19).
 Something he directly promised me in relation to Perth as I flew out of Argentina 14 years ago.