Two or Three… Intimacy in Christ

last supper“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20 KJ2000)

What does it mean to have intimacy with our Lord? Jesus often indicated that God desires intimacy with all of us. For instance, in John chapters ten and fifteen, He is a Shepherd that calls His sheep by name and leads them in a personal way. He is the Vine and we, His branches, are attached directly to Him and we get all our nourishment from Him. Even evangelical churches call Him our Personal Savior. But after we get saved in one of these institutions, how “personal” does He become to us?

Most of us grow up in families that are very fractured and in most, even the best of them, time spent with our parents in an intimate way is very rare due to the pressures of supporting a family and so many other distractions like TV. Then there is “church.”

In my own experience with “church,” the machine divides the family from having time together more than it promotes family intimacy. There is the need to be at the church every time it is open; Sunday morning service that ushers the kids off to “children’s church;” Sunday school that is divided up by age groups; Wednesday night prayer service that doesn’t welcome kids; and all the kid and youth activities at the church during the week. Let’s not forget to mention Royal rangers and church youth camp. On and on it goes, all in the name of promoting a “Godly family.” Go figure!

The same thing happens with our own “personal” relationships with Christ. We get “saved” and then what happens? We are told that we need to sit and listen to sermons delivered by one man. We have go to Sunday school classes with their man-made curriculums (and even fill in the blanks) in a one-size-fits-all lesson plan. If we dare to share what is really on our hearts on “prayer meeting night,” it is sure to become the gossip for the church “prayer chain” during the week. So we learn to be secluded, isolated and divided instead of truly becoming members one of another as the Church was meant to do.

The Machine prevails in the lives of most Christians. Their “relationship” with who they think God is becomes like that scene our of 1984, where all the people have blank stares on their faces as they watch Big Brother on the screen and are filled with his mind controlling propaganda. Is it any wonder that Christian circles have a “group speak” that is blindly followed that dictates what is proper to say and what is not?

So, what must happen in the life of a saint that is caught-up in this system for him or her to find that intimacy with the Lord Jesus had in mind when He saved them? Soren Kierkegaard wrote,

“We warn young people against going to dens of iniquity, even out of curiosity, because no one knows what might happen. Still more terrible, however, is the danger of going along with the crowd. In truth, there is no place, not even one most disgustingly dedicated to lust and vice, where a human being is more easily corrupted – than in the crowd.

 “Even though every individual possesses the truth, when he gets together in a crowd, untruth will be present at once, for the crowd is untruth. It either produces impenitence and irresponsibility or it weakens the individual’s sense of responsibility by placing it in a fractional category.

“For instance, imagine an individual walking up to Christ and spitting on him. No human being would ever have the courage or the audacity to do that. But as part of a crowd, well then they somehow have the “courage” to do it – dreadful untruth!

“The crowd is indeed untruth. Christ was crucified because he would have nothing to do with the crowd (even though he addressed himself to all). He did not want to form a party, an interest group, a mass movement, but wanted to be what he was, the truth, which is related to the single individual. Therefore everyone who will genuinely serve the truth is by that very fact a martyr. To win a crowd is no art; for that only untruth is needed, nonsense, and a little knowledge of human passions. But no witness to the truth dares to get involved with the crowd.

“His work is to be involved with all people, if possible, but always individually, speaking with each and every person on the sidewalk and on the streets – in order to split apart. He avoids the crowd, especially when it is treated as authoritative in matters of the truth or when its applause, or hissing, or balloting are regarded as judges. He avoids the crowd with its herd mentality more than a decent young girl avoids the bars on the harbor.

“Those who speak to the crowd, coveting its approval, those who deferentially bow and scrape before it must be regarded as being worse than prostitutes. They are instruments of untruth.”

There is so much truth here! When they were spitting on and mocking Jesus, it was the crowd who persecuted Him. The same soldier who spit on Him never would have come up to Him privately and done so. The same thing is true of worship and prayer. When we come together in a crowd and try to express openly what we feel, we are shut down and end up singing a canned song from a hymnal or praying a canned prayer from a prayer book. At best, we might pray something out loud that we know won’t get us ridiculed by the rest of the crowd.

How did Jesus really teach? He was always intimate when He taught. Yes, he taught the crowds in parables, but He gave the meanings of those parables to His hand-selected disciples, and often spoke to them individually as He addressed their heart issues. Even the twelve were whittled down to three when he went up on the mountain to meet with His Father, and only John had the title, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” A herd mentality or a mind imprisoned by a church system won’t let you hear the truth about what it means to be intimate with Jesus. It saddens me when people who claim to be Christians have a group identity that is more important to them than their true identity that is found by abiding IN Christ.

Jesus was and is intimate! He taught the woman at the well privately. He taught Nicode’mus (or at least tried to), but not the Sanhedrin. He had a close friendship with the family of Lazarus and especially Mary. He spoke to Nathaniel about what He saw him doing under the fig tree. He called Matthew the tax collector in a personal way and no one else that day. He spoke salvation personally to the woman caught in adultery and condemnation to her religious persecutors. He picked out Zacchaeus from the crowd and had dinner with him. Jesus was and is a Personal Savior! Imagine the intimacy of the woman kissing His feet, washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair in Simon’s house. All Simon the Pharisee could was to judge them both. Religion is cold and impersonal at best, and so are church services, for the most part. Many people like it that way and feel “safe” lost in the crowd at their mega-churches. Toward the end of the time when I was still trying to find Jesus in church services and conferences, He always spoke to me about things that were unrelated to the service. He was becoming my personal Christ!

Christians are fearful of intimacy! Prudish religion tells us that intimacy is an evil word and is something to be avoided at all costs least the flesh rise up and get involved. In true conversion and salvation, our stoney fleshly heart is removed and we are given the heart of Christ! Our old sinful minds are replaced with the mind of Christ and His commandment of love is written on our hearts (read Jeremiah 31:31-33, Ezekiel 36: 26-27 and Hebrews 8).

Jesus insists that He is coming back for His bride and loves her very much. She loves him with a love that is without blemish. God speaks of being a Husband to Israel all through the Old Covenant. Jesus never called His Father “God,” but rather “Father.” He tells us to call NO man father, but only our Father in heaven. He calls Himself the Son and tells us that we are all siblings or “brethren.” He tells us that He is the Good Shepherd. Even David had that figured out when he said, “The LORD is MY Shepherd…”

Dear saints, don’t fear intimacy with God. He is not the great and fearful Oz who stands behind a curtain flicking levers and pulling ropes as He tries to portray an image that scares little people into submission. The curtain between us and our Father was torn from top to bottom when Jesus died for us on the cross. He even tears down the veil of separation between us as individuals as we abide in Him. In Christ there is no slave nor free man, no Jew nor Gentile, no male nor female, but a new Creation (see 2 Cor. 5:17 and 21) that abides intimately with the Father and the Son and with one another as well. You can’t do this in a crowd!

This is why the early church met in homes. Their homes were not like our 2000 square foot plus homes in America, but much smaller and many only had one room. Families were intimate, so it was not a fearful thing in the early church. We fear it because of our socially imposed distance, the big buildings we meet in, the isolated cars we travel in, fenced up yards that keep us isolated from our neighbors, the cubicles at work, and so on. If we get into an elevator, we all turn and face the door and no one dares to speak. Even in church we look straight forward at the lecturer and rarely venture a side long glance at “our neighbor” unless told to do so by the man up front. When the “service’ is over we scurry to grab our kids and get out to the car so we can beat the crowd out of the parking lot. It is all a lie. The crowd is a lie. This is NOT the church!

Jesus never said, “Where two or three hundred are gathered together, I will be there…,” but He did say, “If any man (not any church or any nation) will open up to me I will come into him and sup with him and he with me.” He did pray, “Father, that they might be one even as we are one, I in you and you in me that they might be one in us.” It is always about intimacy with the Lord. The intimacy that the Son has with the Father is to be ours with each other as we are ONE with one another. Then the world will know that the Father sent the Son to be a personal Savior with each person in His creation. Will we say, “Yes Jesus! I want that personal intimacy with you! I want to know you as the lover you have called me to be IN you. I want to know my fellow saints who want this same intimacy that is lived by the Father and the Son”? This should be our prayer and deepest heart’s desire if we are truly called and chosen by the Father.

Bless you all as you seek His wonderful face.

 

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33 comments on “Two or Three… Intimacy in Christ

  1. Mark says:

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Like

  2. Dean says:

    You need to rethink your position. On this topic you are generally mistaken. There is some truth to what you have written, but you have made some statements here that are inaccurate. No, I won’t tell you which ones. Go back to the Word of God.

    Like

    • Michael says:

      I will leave that up to Him, Dean, to show me where I am wrong. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak…” (John 16:13 KJ2000). I thank you for allowing Him to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dean says:

    “Were I to die now the effect of my life would be exceptional; much of what I have simply jotted down carelessly in the Journals would become of great importance and have a great effect; for then people would have grown reconciled to me and would be able to grant me what was, and is, my right.” S.K.

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Unlike S. K. I don’t seek to be justified or recognized by men. I have found my sufficiency in Christ alone. If I die in a few years (I will soon be 70) and my ashes are scattered with no lasting memorial for me and all these writings are lost and our books are all burned, that suits me fine. My kingdom is NOT of this world, but I seek that city whose Builder and maker is God which as ONE True Foundation, Jesus Christ.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ruth says:

        Thank You so much Michael. this is so true.. the organized religious system is so cold and distant… unless one conforms to the formula.. I found out the hard way that there is little love for those Mary Magdalenes. or the demoniac or the tax collectors, unless it is to showcase you to others with the motive being.. SEE HOW I HAVE COMPASSION ON THE OUTCASTS. however when I would attempt to hang around and it became evident that my brokenness was not going to be healed in the time and fashion that they in the church house wanted it to, and that it even might get messy at times to help put all the pieces of Ruthie together again. hahah.. I was sent packing.. usually under the accusation of not having enough faith, or being to rebellious.. ect ect….However the good news is that the SHEPHERD OF THE FLOCK OF YAHWEH NEVER THREW ME AWAY AND NEVER WILL. OR ANY OTHERS WHO COME TO HIM WITH A DESIRE FOR INTIMACY THAT LEADS TO TRUE HEALING OF THE HEART.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Ruth, what a sad indictment against this thing that purports to represent Jesus which calls itself “the church.” And your case has become more the rule than the exception as pastors are being trained not to let their congregations be loaded up with “high maintenance” people, but rather to target the well-to-do demographics of society who produce bigger offerings with a lot less effort.

        Jesus was loved and followed everywhere by multitudes of prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. This word “multitudes” means a LOT more in the original Greek than it does in the English. Check this out:

        ὄχλος
        ochlos
        Thayer Definition:
        1) a crowd
        1a) a casual collection of people
        1a1) a multitude of men who have flocked together in some place
        1a2) a throng
        1b) a multitude
        1b1) the common people, as opposed to the rulers and leading men
        1b2) with contempt: the ignorant multitude, the populace
        1c) a multitude
        1c1) the multitudes, seems to denote troops of people gathered together without order

        Remember, Ruth, there is only ONE Good Shepherd. Seek Him out and you will not be let down.

        Like

      • Alan says:

        My Brother. May we serve God not man, my we fear the One who can destroy soul and body…not just the ones who can end this earthen vessel which is headed back to the dust as we write. Lord bless you and keep you.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Alan, thanks for these thoughts. The older I get, the more I feel this vessel fading away with lots of aches and pains. But also, this keeps me seeking those things which are eternal and less mindful of things that were once important to me like what people think of me. Even THIS reference point has shifted to the Eternal One Himself… what does HE think of me.. reputation among men used to be a big thing, but now I am willing to be made of NO reputation among men, just as Jesus was… that is fine… I just want to fellowship with Him in heavenly places in Christ and with the saints who gather around His throne in this world as well. And if that includes some of them that don’t know they have a place there waiting for them, THAT IS EVEN BETTER.

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      • Larry says:

        I love this truth. Praise Elohim

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Mia says:

    Dear Michael
    I also learned quite a few truths from Sören Kierkegaard. This guy knew people and their ways so well. Yes, dear brother, that intimacy we experience with our Lord, is way beyond and above anything this world can offer! It is so sorry that it has been reduced to a Sunday morning religious program on the stages of buildings and the world that has very little to do with real unity and fellowship in Jesus.
    Much love XX
    Mia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Mia, my sister! Yes, it is very sad. Imagine how God feels. But there is a promise…
      “Turn, O backsliding children, says the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one from a city, and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you shepherds according to my heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:14-15 KJ2000)
      Amen, Father, make is so!

      Like

  5. John D says:

    Wow! Such a wonderful truth. Thanks for sharing this brother…. really blessed.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. kenneth dawson says:

    I stand with you completely Mike and the reason I do is by my own personal experiences–I have been a Christ-one for 39 years and I have always found it hard going when I try to get intimate with others who call themselves Christians and I want to fellowship with them with Gods spirit controlling the time–so what do I do I get with my daddy and I get intimate with him and then I fill up with his loving and merciful essence and im able to deal with other humans with his lovingkindness flowing out of me towards them and if I see no progress in them I just put them on my prayer list and ask dad to deal with them–thus I have peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Good way to be, my brother. People will always let us down, it seems, but our Father is faithful and so desires us to know HIM intimately as our Daddy. You are truly onto something here!

      Like

  7. Wow!! YES! I am overwhelmed. God’s Word is going forth. He is speaking. I pray many hear and receive this powerful truth!! Thank you for being His messenger. Jesus is coming to each one of us individually. He is looking for a place to rest His head – to live and abide, and only as He abides in us can we abide in Him and experience the LOVE He has for us. It is a marriage. It is the most intimate relationship there is! We cannot experience it (experience life with Him and really know Him) apart from total union with Him in our own personal lives.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Wow! is right! Thank you dear sister W. P. for such an enthusiastic response. You are right about the intimacy that Christ desires with His bride. Take the word “know” for instance. ” In Hebrews we read, “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall KNOW me, from the least to the greatest.” (Hebrews 8:11 KJV). The word translated “know” is a powerful word. According to Thayers:
      γινώσκω
      ginōskō
      Thayer Definition:
      1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel
      1a) to become known
      2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of
      2a) to understand
      2b) to know
      3) Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman
      4) to become acquainted with, to know

      The same Greek word was used in the following verses about Mary and Joseph’s relationship, “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And KNEW her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:24-25 KJV).

      God has always desired intimacy with man. This gives scope to Jesus’ final prayer where He prayed, “Father that they might be one even as we are one, I in thee and thou in me, that they might be ONE in us.” One!!! The two shall become ONE flesh kind of one is what God wants from us with Him… thus Jesus is coming back for HIS bride, not a church institution and the knowledge of the Lord unto salvation is not merely giving ascent with our heads and Christianity was never meant to be an intellectual pursuit as it has become today, but rather true saving faith is all about intimacy with Christ.
      “IN HIM we live and move and have our being.”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pat Orr says:

    What a mercy that the God who created the Heavens and the earth wants our fellowship, because we can not truly live without His. I thank Him for also giving us fellowship with saints. Thank you, Michael, for being my brother.

    Love to all,
    Pat Orr

    Liked by 1 person

  9. DAVID says:

    Awesome word and truth. Its good to know others are outside the religious church matrix.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There is a cost for those who would know Jesus as He is, and the intimacy with one’s brothers and sisters which was purchased for them. Few if any have ever really considered this cost and those who have will echo in speech and action their Father’s heart for such unity as below:

    “Yes Jesus! I want that personal intimacy with you! I want to know you as the lover you have called me to be IN you. I want to know my fellow saints who want this same intimacy that is lived by the Father and the Son. This should be our prayer and deepest heart’s desire if we are truly called and chosen by the Father.”

    If I have really left all for Jesus, no spiritual and/or practical implications will hinder my part in the process of conformity among the saints. Jesus died to impart life, and that is the reason he drew crowds, perplexed many and drew the ire and hatred of modern day men.

    It was the few he loved, those who saw His Father’s heart and longed to die it into fruition.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. […] to point to one of Michael Clark’s responses on his own blog where he aptly explained it (cf. https://awildernessvoice.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/two-or-three-intimacy-in-christ/comment-page-1/#com…). Indeed, the Church has always had her theologians who knew the meaning of the Greek word […]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, thank you for the ping back on here from your latest article. Intimacy seems to be something that church theologians and translators have avoided at all cost. Such a loss as to what God is really wanting from us… until we dig deeper into what the scriptures are saying. Thanks for do so in your latest blog.
      https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/my-house-shall-be-a-house-of-prayer/
      So much to chew on here! Thank you! You are such a blessing!
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re very welcome, Michael. 🙂 There are indeed not many theologians who dared to write on intimacy and I remember how looong I needed until I found a few of them. And these were always only such Christians who had had their own experiences as to intimacy with God.

        BTW, great article, yours above, that is. ⭐ You are such a blessing, too, my brother!

        Love,
        Susanne

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, there is so much more meaning to what it meant to be “born again” by the Father than the translators brought forth! Take the word, “born”

        gennaō
        Thayer Definition:
        1) of men who fathered children
        1a) to be born
        1b) to be begotten
        1b1) of women giving birth to children

        Our heavenly Father is a progenitor. He is the one who moves and broods over us and inseminates us with Jesus’ life! That is what it means to be “born again of the Spirit. It is just as it was with Mary, the mother of Jesus:

        “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35 KJ2000)

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Michael, you just gave voice to my very thoughts, once again. 😉 Amen to your reply about the true meaning of being born again!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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