“Peace has in it confidence in the Lord: that He directs all things, provides all things, and that He leads to a good end.” - Arcana Caelestia §8455
Kempton New Church

Week 1
Day 6

    Listen:

Uses in General

And there shall be no night there, and they have no need of a lamp and the light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. —Revelation 22:5
With those who are in the delight of uses from genuine love towards the neighbor, their natural light is also rational light, within which there is spiritual light from the Lord. The glory with them is from the brightness of the inflowing light from heaven, where all things are splendid and harmonious, for all uses in heaven are resplendent. —Apocalypse Revealed 940e

All uses are Church uses.

John 15:4-5. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me; for apart from Me you can do nothing.

What is the Church?

NJHD 242. The Church is said to be where the Lord is acknowledged and where the Word is, for the essentials of the Church are love and faith in the Lord from the Lord; and the Word teaches how man must live that he may receive love and faith from the Lord.

TCR 245. It is known that the Church is in accordance with its doctrine, and that doctrine is from the Word. Nevertheless, it is not doctrine, but wholeness and purity of doctrine, consequently the understanding of the Word, that establishes the Church. Neither is it doctrine, but a faith and life in accordance with doctrine, that establishes and constitutes the special church in the individual man. So too it is not the Word that establishes and constitutes the church in particular in man, but a faith according to the truths, and a life according to the goods, which man derives from the Word, and applies to himself.

TCR 415. The Church is the Neighbor Who is to be Loved in a Still Higher Degree, and the Lord’s Kingdom in the Highest Degree.

Since man was born for eternal life, and is introduced into it by the Church, the Church is to be loved as the neighbor in a higher degree, because it teaches the means which lead to eternal life and introduces man into it, leading to it by the truths of doctrine and introducing into it by goods of life. This does not mean that the priesthood should be loved in a higher degree, and the church because of the priesthood; but it means that the good and truth of the church should be loved, and the priesthood for the sake of these. The priesthood merely serves and is to be honored so far as it serves.

AC 6637:2. Its being called the church is not from the fact that the Word is there, and that there are doctrinal things from it, nor from the fact that the Lord is known there, and that the sacraments are there. But it is the church from the fact that men live according to the Word, or according to doctrine from the Word, and so that the doctrine is the rule of life. … Be it further known that everyone who lives in the good of charity and of faith is a church and kingdom of the Lord, and from this is called a temple, and also a house, of God. The church in general is constituted of those who are churches in particular, however far apart they may be.

AC 3310. … Without doctrinal things there is indeed good of life, but not as yet the good of the church, thus not as yet good truly spiritual, except only in the capacity of becoming so; as is the case with the good of life among the Gentiles who do not have the Word, and therefore are ignorant of the Lord.

AC 4984. All uses [done] from truths are goods of truth. Truths which are not for use are separated…. In their beginning all uses are truths of doctrine, but in their progression, they become goods. They become goods when the man acts according to these truths. Thus, the very action gives quality to truths, for all action descends from the will, and the will itself makes that become good which before was truth…. For the good of faith affects the very thing which is of man’s life, namely, his will, and gives it interior delight or bliss, and in the other life the happiness that is called heavenly joy.

Questions and Comments
  1. Is it helpful to picture yourself as a branch in a vineyard, producing grapes and wine along with your fellow branches, and with the Lord being the Vine as well as the One who prunes the vine?
  2. What are the essentials of the Church? What is the purpose of the Word in this context?
  3. TCR 245 distinguishes the Church as an organization— mainly the priesthood—from the Church with each individual. As an organization, the job of the Church is to promote the wholeness and purity of doctrine, so that people can rightly understand the Word. But the job of each of us is to draw truths and goods from the Word and apply them to ourselves in a useful life. That life is the real Church.
  4. In TCR 415, notice that the priesthood is not the Church but merely serves the real Church in each of us.
  5. What is the strong definition of the Church in AC 6637? How can we be this kind of Church, and help each other be such Churches?
  6. All uses begin with truths taught by the Word. These truths are the reasons why we do what we do. They enable us to change our motives and attitudes and look at life from above. It’s up to us to gather truths from the Word to inspire and guide our life of uses, and share these truths with our neighbors and our children.
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