THE PASSION OF PURPOSE - PART 3
We saw in our last article that the thing that motivated the Lord was a tremendous passion to glorify or "make visible" the Father. The Fatherís passionate purpose is to have a "house." Of course, a house speaks of family. Who would live in the Fatherís house? His children would live there, of course!
Location of the House
Now letís get something dealt with right at the beginning. Many of Godís children think that the Fatherís house is referring to a mansion floating somewhere in heaven, whatever that is! Now, there is some truth to that, as far as in the beginning we see a Garden (Eden); but at the end we see a city (New Jerusalem) that comes down out of heaven to the earth. Godís goal and purpose is to have a "house" on the earth, not just in heaven. Actually, Godís house belongs to both heaven and earth! This is the house that is located in two realms at the same time!
The Father Made Visible
Christ is the visible "image" of the invisible God. The Father wants to be "seen" through His Son in all realms. The reason the Father sent His Son to the earth is so that He (the Son) would be a "Seed" planted in the earth that would bring forth a great and mighty Tree. (Remember the Tree in the Garden, and in the City?) That "Tree" is another picture of the "House."
"I am the Vine, you are the branches."
These are pictures that God uses to show us His divine purpose. He wants a house, a family, a temple, a tree, and a body! In other words, the Father wants His Son to be expressed in and through the Church!
A Simple Word Problem
But wait just a minute! Letís backup a bit. That word "church" is probably one of the most misunderstood and misused words in all of Christendom! After all, what does "church" mean? Is it a religious building, a worship service, a group of people, an organization, a Bible study or a meeting? Actually, the word "church" isnít very rich with meaning at all." It comes from the Greek word "ekklesia" which means an assembly. The word is not a "Christian" word; it is a secular word. In the first century, men would gather in the townís square and call out "ekklesia! ekklesia!" if they wanted to call a town meeting (assembly). Not very deep, spiritually speaking! Unfortunately, that is about all we think of the church today; an assembly or meeting that we attend. Most of us think of the church as something we go to. "Letís go to church today." Either we are referring to the place (building) or the actual event (meeting or service). Not a very high description of the eternal purpose of God!
The De-personalization of the Church
The problem is that we have reduced the Church, the expression of the purpose of God, to a mere "thing!" In reality the Church is not a thing, but rather a person! We will never get very far by looking at the church as an assembly (ekklesia). In order to understand the essence, the very nature of the church, we must look at another word used by Paul. This word really gets to the heart of the matter, and makes things very clear. Of course, we still muddy the waters and donít understand because these things can only come by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
Paul called the Church "the Body of Christ." Now weíre getting somewhere! Now we are dealing with a very descriptive analogy for the Church. Notice that he did not say that we are like the Body of Christ. He said we are the Body of Christ! Yet this Body is like the human body in many ways. There are different members (individuality), yet they are all one body (corporeity). Now we have clarity. Now we can begin to see the nature of the House! Now we can no longer mistake the church for a building, or a meeting, or an organization. Now we see that the Church is part of a person! Of course, the other part is the Head, Jesus Christ. The head and body make up the whole person; the whole Christ! You see, the Church is not a thing, an it! The Church is a living, breathing Person!
The Body Factor
When we see the Church as an "it", i.e. a building, group, meeting, and/or organization, then everything that passes for "church" today fits just fine. However, when we look at the Church as the Body of Christ, all of our present day paradigms come tumbling down. Here are some simple questions to ask yourself:
Do the parts of your "human) body only gather on Sundays and Wednesday nights?
Do only certain parts of your body move and function while the other parts sit and listen?
When your finger is cut, do the other parts sit and watch it bleed?
How well do the parts of your body know one another?
Do all your body parts work together for a common goal?
Does the same blood (life) flow into all of the parts?
AnywayÖyou get the idea!
Our modern day concepts of "Church" just wonít hold up in the light of the "Body Factor", now will they?