3 The Church in its Temporal Aspect Part E

Being One In Righteousness 
Proverbs 31:23	
Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

This attribute of Solomon's virtuous woman tells us of the importance of unity possible within the oneness of covenant. In covenant two people leave behind their self-identity and create a new individuality based upon the unity of purpose that covenant brings. As each grows in their ability to trust the other they find that their combined strengths, personalities, and life experience allows them to serve their covenant purpose in ways they never could alone. The church/woman we seek understands the importance of individuality within the covenant relationship, but cherishes the abilities that fellowship and oneness brings to their labor.   

DC 85:18a And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you, and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.

Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

An excerpt from, The civic forum in ancient Israel: the form, function, and symbolism of city gates. Daniel Frese, (2012). UC San Diego.                                                                           Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/8tp5j3ch

The gateway into a town of the southern Levant (the area on that borders the southeastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea) was more than a mere entrance; it was the civic forum, the heart of the city. The gate and its associated plazas served inter alia as a marketplace, a legal court, an execution chamber, a cultic center, a political stage, a social gathering place, a defensive military structure, and a three-dimensional piece of royal propaganda. Gates were also symbolic: of royalty and independence, of community well being, of metaphysical boundaries, and of Israelite society itself. In short, the civic forum was an institution central to the social identity of ancient Israel.

The husband of Solomon's virtuous woman was a prominent man in the community and as his spouse she did all she could to support that prominence. Society thrives when its leaders and their spouses are openly unified in their concepts of social responsibility and civic awareness. It is an asset when both pursue actively their unified viewpoint. In our own country we feel blessed when we find that both our leaders and their spouses are capable of independent actions that effectively support the unity of purpose that is theirs. Solomon's virtuous woman socially, was a mirror image of her husband. What her righteous diligent effort offered the family was a reflection of her husband as an asset to the community. What she did for the identity of her family in the community, her husband did for the community in the world. The testimony that defined them was made real and viable by the life they lived around that testimony. Such was the case of Alma, Ammon, and Aaron as they brought the word of God to the people of Jershon. Their dedication to the Gospel and the oneness of the message they brought uplifted the hearts of the people to belief in the ways of God. In the same way, our church/woman seeks to express a testimony of God through the oneness of purpose created by the covenant made. Remember, a testimony is made viable by the life lived around it.  

Alma 15:29-31
15:29 And they went down into the land of Jershon, and took possession of the land of Jershon; and they were called by the Nephites the people of Ammon;
 15:30 Therefore they were distinguished by that name ever after; and they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God.
15:31 And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.

Both the church/woman we seek and her covenant spouse are to be a testimony to the world of the God we serve. God and the ways of God through Jesus Christ are known in the gates of the world. All major religions know of Christ, know of His ways, and recognize the fruits of His labors in the social fabric of the world.

Judaism's view of Jesus from Wikipedia
Traditional views of Jesus have been mostly negative, although in the Middle Ages Judah Halevi and Maimonides viewed Jesus as an important preparatory figure for a future universal ethical monotheism of the Messianic Age. Some modern Jewish thinkers have sympathetically speculated that the historical Jesus may have been closer to Judaism than either the Gospels or traditional Jewish accounts would indicate, starting in the 18th century with the Orthodox Jacob Emden and the reformer Moses Mendelssohn. This view is still espoused by some.

Jesus in Islam from Wikipedia
In Islam, ʿĪsā ibn Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary'), or Jesus, is the penultimate prophet and messenger of God (Allah) and the Messiah, sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new revelation: Injīl (Arabic for "the gospel"). 

As in the Christian New Testament, the Quran (the central religious text of Islam) describes Jesus as the Messiah (al-Masih in Arabic), born of a virgin, performing miracles, accompanied by disciples, rejected by the Jewish establishment, and being raised to heaven. The Quran differs in denying Jesus was crucified or died on the cross, and especially in rejecting the divinity of Jesus as God incarnate, or the Son of God. 

Jesus through Buddhist eyes
By Sister Ajahn Candasiri 11/17/2019
Ajahn Candasiri is a senior nun at the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, speaking to a capacity audience in the Albert Hall in 1984 united his listeners instantly with one simple statement about Christ: "All beings want to be happy; they want to avoid pain and suffering." I was impressed at how he (Christ) was able to touch what we share as human beings. He affirmed our common humanity, without in any way dismissing the obvious differences.

The church/woman we seek is to be an earthly construct of righteousness that all people everywhere can both recognize and cherish. Understand how this gathering of people living as a testimony of God can and will appeal to every person, every nation, and every faith. As we grow in our abilities to labor for God, the whole world will begin to understand the widespread effects of Christ sacrifice at Calvary and what it can mean to each of them personally.

Ephesians 2:18-22 
2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone;
2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord;
2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The church/woman we seek is to be a testimony to the world of the God we serve. She is to be in every way a reflection of the God that the world knows through His Son Jesus Christ. 

The world recognizes that Christ was a teacher of righteousness. We as His Church must live a life that testifies of this same virtue. Christ brought both change and truth to this world. We can do no less. The world also affirms that Christ was not in bondage to His beliefs. Instead, He was openly joyful and willingly obedient to the God He served and the message He brought. We must choose to be the same. By this effort we show the world that the God we serve is not a judgmental taskmaster. He is a loving Father that wants us to reach out to Him assured of the love He offers. We do not serve Him out of fear of retribution. Like Christ, we serve God out of love for Him and an abiding fellowship based on our common approval of the truth that is God and the unity His righteousness brings. The woman/church we seek needs to be a mirror image of the Christ the world knows and the Kingdom that is His message. 

As the world sees it Christianity is a belief of choice. As a religion Christians have done a very poor job of emphasizing this freedom to choose our hearts desire. The rituals and traditions the Christians of the world adhere to makes us appear as very hypocritical in our beliefs and in truth we are. We have used the celebrations of life in the Spirit such as baptism, sacrament, and tithing to become lines of demarcation that define the difference between them and us. Instead of allowing baptism to celebrate freedom from the bondage of sin, it has become no more than a requirement for membership. Sacrament should be a joyful tribute to Christ's sacrifice and His love for us. Instead it has become a time to stand in shame before the congregation and our Lord. Tithing has become just another tax we pay. Instead, we should be celebrating blessings from God so overwhelming complete that we have enough excess to bless others with our surplus. 

2 Corinthians 9:6-7
9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 
9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.

The God we celebrate honors righteousness, charity, and the need within us to reach out to the world with love and compassion. Christ professes and lives all of these attributes as husband to the woman/church we seek. He is known in the gates of the world and we as His covenant church need to celebrate our oneness with Him.  

Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

The God worshipped by the churches of the world mandates virtue to His people and threatens them with eternal punishment. Our husband at the gate reaches out to all who would join Him teaches them how to live in peace with others, forever. In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul wrote of the attributes that define a people of God. The churches of the world demand that their people find within themselves the strength to act in the ways described. God seeks to show His children how to live in these ways and how to share with others the joy it brings. This passage defines the life that brings proof to the testimony of God working in the life of man. Once again, the testimony we offer is made viable by the life we live around it. Each attribute cited grows naturally in a life filled with hope, compassion, and charity.

Romans 12:9-16 
12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good.
12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;
12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
12:14 Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not.
12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Moreover, God promises us both communion and fellowship. We will not face these challenges alone. Our growth as a person in God goes hand-in-hand with our growth together as a people of God. 

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

Colossians 2:5-7 
2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him;
2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Matthew 28:18-19 
28:18 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;
28:19 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, unto the end of the world. Amen.

Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

As we grow to become the church/woman we seek, our lives will become a living testimony of the Christ who offers us redemption and the God we serve. The effort is worth the time and God's children are worth the effort. In that effort we will begin to display within the community of people a need not only to practice righteousness, but also to live righteously. We will do more than just exhibit a caring attitude towards others, we will reach out with compassion and charity to those both of the faith and those yet to accept the faith. Our actions will be according to need, not belief, or status. In this effort we will express truly the work and the glory of Him we serve.

DC 22:23b and there is no end to my works, neither to my words; for this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man.

FOR A PRINTABLE COPY OF THIS ARTICLE
CLICK HERE