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 (Manna 47: The Body of Christ)
Pictures Of Our Gathering
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Based on a sermon by HH Ko — Heidelberg, Germany

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it is not a wonder why the historical events that took place long before our time become beautiful images in our minds as we read and envisage how they are described in the Bible.

There are three particular events described in the Bible that helps us understand ourselves and each other, the roles we play as His body, and how we ought to gather in His name. We should remember these events, so we can encourage and remind one another that we are one small but precious part in the whole of His church.


The time of Noah was a time of great tragedy, and God was very sorrowful at the wickedness of the people, for the world was thoroughly corrupted. But in that nefarious environment, the Lord chose one family, and He blessed this family very much.

God told Noah to build an ark, which was basically a very large box, with a specific length, width, and height. Then, Noah and his family lived in that ark because it was through this ark that they would be saved.

When we gather together, it is like coming together as one family into the ark. We know that this church of the end times has been called to save. In fact, there aren’t many of us, just as there were only eight in Noah’s time that received salvation.

One of the specifications of Noah’s ark was the door situated on the side, which received Noah’s entire family. This tells us that the ark receives the household as a unit. When a family gathers in God’s name, that home is also a church (cf. Rom 16:5).

At the top of the ark, God also specified the installation of a window, which would be the only source of light for all who were shut inside the ark for more than one hundred days.

This teaches us that when we are together, we are entering into the spiritual ark, whose conditions are similar to the one Noah built. Outside the ark is a flood, and if we exit there is death awaiting us.

If we remain inside, our patience comes through that window above—our source of light and our hope of something much better in heaven. Therefore, let us keep ourselves in the love of God, which we witness everyday as we dwell in the ark He has made for us.

Entering through the Side Door

Similarly, our family and the extended family of the church are models of the first ark, and through God’s love we are able to enter the side door and to receive one another. Therefore, we also need to learn to dwell together.

Animals of every kind, size, and shape entered this one door, no matter how big or small they were. The mouse wouldn’t say to the elephant, “Why are you taking up so much room?”

Inside the church, it is easy to become puffed up because we have seemingly contributed much more to the church, and we might feel there is an inequality of merit with regards to who gets to come into the ark.

Paul, when he realized this problem, said:

            I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Cor 12:2-4)

What Paul encountered was something most believers would not or have not gone through. He had a very deep spiritual experience of God’s presence in the third heaven, where he also heard inexpressible words in that Paradise.

It would’ve been easy to feel spiritually lifted above others, or for others to lift him up after such an encounter. But Paul, in his humility, reckoned that is why the Lord inflicted him with a thorn in his flesh, to humble him and to allow him to enter through the side door.

Therefore, no matter how great or small we are, we must know ourselves and learn to appreciate others because God has allowed each of us to enter this ark. We need humility to accept how differently God made every one, and to be thankful that we have entered into the spiritual true church.


Our time together in the ark is likened to taking a spiritual journey, just as the Israelites walked in the wilderness, eating the same food and drinking the same drink. In fact, we are also the same.

In the time of prophet Jeremiah, the people of Israel strayed from God. Many times, God called out for them to return, and He even told Jeremiah to shout and cry into the ears of the people until they awakened. He wanted to stir them up because God also remembered their time in the wilderness:

            I remember you,
The kindness of your youth,
The love of your betrothal,
When you went after me in the wilderness,
In a land not sown. (Jer 2:2)

The Israelites were closest to God during their forty years of wandering in the wilderness, and the love they had for God during that period of time was what God remembered most. Even though they stopped recognizing God afterwards, He still remembered them.

We are all born of the same spirit, and the path that the Israelites took in the wilderness is also the same spiritual journey for us today. All these things that happened in the past serve as our examples, and they are written to admonish those of us who now live as the ages come to an end (1 Cor 10:11).

Walking Together and Walking Alone

In the Psalms, there are many hymns written about this journey to encourage the sojourners to persist along the path of salvation. The eighty-fourth psalm particularly describes our pilgrimage.

From verses one to four, we see the heart of the people longing and fainting for God. They also longed for the loveliness of God’s dwelling place, while their soul, their heart, and their flesh cried out for God.

As they began their journey, they realized that the path would not always be smooth.

            Blessed is the man whose strength is in you,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of [tears],
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion. (Ps 84:5-7)

Even though they knew that blessings and abundance awaited them at the end of their journey, they still had to pass through the valley of tears—trials and times of tribulation.

Verse six tells us that they passed through these troubled times together, and they went from strength to strength; helping one another along the way.

We also need to emulate such a beautiful picture of partnership in the Lord and strive to support each other on this heavenly path. We need to be strong for one another, and the entire family of the church needs to draw together to pursue this goal.

If each person goes along his/her own way, the church will be divided and each will become weaker and weaker. Going to the house of God, the Israelites became stronger and increased in number.

This passage also tells us that each one must appear before God individually. Therefore, we must also pursue after God on our own, bear our own responsibilities, and be accountable before Him.

So when we come to the wilderness, we truly receive the love of God as a family, and we ought to receive it with a thankful heart and make the determination to be a source of support for this household.

This way, when we cross the valley of tears, we can be a stronghold for those who are weak, and those who are strong can lift us up when our own strength fails.

We can now appreciate the importance of entering and remaining in the ark as a family, and we can value the importance of banding together for a common goal in the wilderness. The third scene, then, depicts the glory of God’s temple.


            Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1 Cor 3:16-17)

In this same passage, Paul also writes of an analogy comparing all believers as fellow workers of God’s field and His building, and he explains clearly that our foundation is Jesus Christ.

Once Jesus is laid as the foundation, each of us brings something to build up the church. Though the building of this temple began with those that came before us, we are the ones that need to continue its construction and its work.

Some bring gold, some bring silver, and some bring precious stones. Others bring wood and straw. God will test each one’s work by fire when all these are added together. For those whose hearts are true to the Lord, the test of fire will purify them, and their labor will not burn up but will become even more refined.

This is a reminder to us that as long as we have faith, love, and a true heart towards God’s work, even a little of whatever we can offer will shine golden in His eyes.

Revelation 21 speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem coming from above. This holy city and the tabernacle of God is the true church of the end time (Rev 21:3). We don’t have to wait until we die to receive heaven.

Even while we are on this earth, we have the tabernacle and temple of God with us. Before we enter the eternal heaven, which is the most perfect and beautiful place, God will allow us to taste the wonder of His tabernacle in the church.

When we come together in Christ, we dwell with one another in His temple and strive to build upon His church. That means that each of us are a part of this church and we are joined with Christ.

Therefore, whether we are receiving glory or shame, we receive it together. We should have this common attitude because this is how we build up the body of Christ and take part in the final glory of God’s temple.

Let us strive to preserve the temple of God that lives in our bodies, so that our part in the church will be a source of strength that edifies all believers and bring praises to God.


If teachers and counselors want to understand the condition of a child’s family situation, they tell the children to draw a picture of their family together. In fact, picture-drawing is a tell-tale sign to understand what’s really in the hearts of our children.

If the parents in the family are not strong together, the child will naturally draw Mommy and Daddy far apart. Or perhaps Daddy would be much bigger or smaller than Mommy—indicating how big or small of a role that parent plays in the child’s life.

Now, then, if you were to draw an honest picture of the church and the family of believers in your area of worship, what kind of picture would it be?

All of us have a picture in our mind of what the perfect church ought to look like. In fact, it would be very similar to the three pictures we conjured up together of the ark, the wilderness, and the temple. But we would probably draw an adjusted version of the perfect church picture.

The church is really the family that God has given us, which make up His body with Christ as our head. But just like our own family, we don’t have a say of who we are related to. There are some members that we are really proud to be associated with, and there are some that will always make us worry and not be able to sleep at night.

Nevertheless, we continue to love them and bear with them. Flesh and blood will always be flesh and blood. Now, even more so, as we are without an excuse because we are joined together in His flesh and in His blood!

Therefore, let us never cease to bear with one another in God’s love, and let us continue to refine the painting of the body of Christ and make it a masterpiece worthy of His appraisal.

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Publisher: True Jesus Church