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Chapter 18 - The mission of the church
The ‘great commission’ (so often appropriated by Christians today) was given to the nation of Israel to make disciples of all nations. With the kingdom held in abeyance, one may rightly ask what Christians are suppose to be doing today. In spite of church history and tradition, there is no biblical direction to form institutional collectives or achieve group objectives.
If one were to formulate some guiding principle for Christians, one could consider reconciliation.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
The process of God reconciling the world to himself by Christ involves us. We can think of reconciliation as similar to restoration. Those of us who have been made ‘new creations’ in Christ have a role to play. The bible describes our configuration as the ‘body’ of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Our actions need to be at the direction of the head of the body (Christ) and led by the Holy Spirit.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. - Colossians 1:18
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. - Ephesians 2:19-22
The work we have largely involves seeking our own maturity as well as seeking the edification (building up) of fellow Christians. As we mature, we become more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As a result, we grieve and quench his work less.
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.- Romans 14:19
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. - Ephesians 4:15-16
The basics of the Christian life are described by Paul in Colossians.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: - Colossians 2:6-10
1. ‘Walk’ by faith.
2. Being ‘rooted’.
3. Being ‘built up’ ‘in him’.
4. Being ‘established’.
5. ‘Abounding’ in what we have been ‘taught’.
6. Being ‘thankful’.
7. Being vigilant.
The call for Christians is different than one might be familiar with. In the last century men were incited to join military endeavors, factory workers to greater productivity, and citizens to purchase war bonds all to archive national objectives. Even today ‘social justice warriors’ seek to mobilize everyone to solve social ills.
The Christian is called not to either individual or collective achievement. Rather he is called to continue to grow in Christ-likeness. Whatever works are done are just as he is led by the Holy Spirit that lives in him.
Most of the failures and resulting confusion about Christianity can be found in not following what is laid out in Colossians. Whether it be crusades, religious wars, worldly entanglements, carnality, hypocrisy, or even blasphemy, too often Christians have allowed themselves to be ‘spoiled’ by those who would bring the name of Christ into disrepute.
Section Two - How Christianity Became Such a Mess
Basically Satan guided Christianity into a system configuration whose collective momentum would allow him and his agents to set its direction. The ultimate purpose in this hijacking was to use Western Civilization to develop the material tools he would need in his attempt to rule the whole world more directly.
By making Christianity a system, Satan could guide men of ambition and vanity, many of whom were not even Christian, to rise to levels of control and use their position to direct the system. To keep Christians compliant he had to insure that they were diverted from knowing what real Christianity was supposed to be.
It is sad how easily we were seduced by our laziness to see Christianity as a spectator sport. Our vanity seduced us into smug contempt for others. Our anxiety was relieved by seeing Christianity simply as securing a ticket to heaven. Christianity as a system run by ‘experts’ creates a social momentum. However, such a system also produces a generational momentum and becomes integrated into a culture.
Part of clarifying Christianity is to present it as it was supposed to have been. Further clarification comes from sifting through the centuries of self-inflicted and external damage and corruption. It is by understanding how Christianity came to be usurped as well as how it continues to be that we can begin to understand what God wanted us to know.
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