Monday, July 18, 2011

What is God doing these days? (He who has an ear, let Him hear)

Well, some may say that God is sending a revival here or there. Others may say He is saving souls, yet others may say He is doing miraculous things or blessing people spiritually, financially and materially. Others may say that He is delivering people from the bondage of legalism and sweeping the earth with a revolution of grace! And all that is true! But why is He doing all these things? Are these things the 'end' or just a means to the 'end'? Does God have an overarching Purpose, an Ultimate Purpose, towards which He is working all these 'things' together? If God does have such a Purpose in His mind, it would only make sense to find out what this 'Ultimate Purpose' of His is, and what is our part, if any, in the fulfillment of that Purpose. If this Ultimate Purpose of God is like the bulls-eye on the target, is our Christian walk or gracewalk going towards that target or are we like a ship adrift in the vast ocean?

In the past, I personally, while reading the N.T especially the letters to Ephesians, Colossians and Romans, have overlooked, the passages where Paul talks about the 'Purpose' of God, Him working everything according to the counsel of His 'Will', His 'Intent'. He calls it specifically the 'Eternal' purpose of God, which was hid throughout the ages, but has now been made know to us by the Spirit through the apostles. If it is 'Eternal' that must means that God has had this Purpose or Intention in His heart even before there was anything, before the beginning of time, before He said 'Let there be..", before the foundations of this earth was laid. In fact, creation itself happened towards the fulfillment of this 'Ultimate' Purpose, Intention or Will. Some may say that His Ultimate Purpose is to save people from their sins. But He did not create Adam and Eve in need of salvation. So what is it that caused Him to create Adam and Eve in the first place. So this 'Purpose' must be something beyond the 'salvation' of lost souls.

Well, we can get a glimpse of what was in God's heart in reading the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2. Man had not sinned yet in these chapters. There are 4 aspects to this eternal plan or Purpose.

1. God is a 'community' of 3 persons, yet they are One. God is Love. God is a passionate lover, yet if love is not shared or received, there is not much of an expression of love. Of course there was mutual love and fellowship and sharing within the Trinity. Yet God being love, had to pour out this love on something or someone apart from the Trinity. God wanted to expand His fellowship (community) and include man in this circle of passionate love between the Father and Son through the Spirit. More specifically, the Father wanted a 'bride' for His Son on whom the Son would lavishly pour out His love.

2. We also see that God wanted to expand His family, or more specifically, the Father wanted, not just one Son, but many sons and daughters. He told man to be fruitful and multiply.

3. Sarting from Genesis to Revelation, we also see that God then wants to live and fellowship (have community) with man on 'Earth', not in heaven. We see Him coming to commune with Adam in the cool of the day in the garden. The garden was the first dwelling place of the Lord on this earth. Throughout the Bible, He is seen as someone who is seeking for a place to dwell. Now you know, why David was a man after God's own heart, because he wanted to build a house for God.

4. God also wanted this earth to be filled with His image. Now, as we know, God is a corporate God (three persons) and He wanted a corporate image of Himself on this earth. Because of the fall, we see it as an individual thing. It only makes sense that God wants a community of people to bear His image since He himself is a community. The first man Adam and his race failed in this mission. The new man Jesus is the express image of God. God wants His image to fill this earth, more specifically, Jesus to fill this earth.

Later on we see that man sinned and it seems that the enemy may have thwarted God's Eternal Purpose. But not so!! God is still working out this Grand Purpose of His on this earth. How so? Through Jesus Christ who is at the Center of His Purpose! 1)He is still pursuing His bride (think corporately). 2. He is still increasing His family through His Son Jesus 3. He is still building His dwelling place with living stones built "together" (think community) upon the foundation (Jesus). 4. He is still enlarging and spreading His image on this earth through His Son Jesus!

Who is this bride - She is the church, the most beautiful woman on this earth.
Who is His family - Sons and daughters, who call Him Abba Father - The church
What is the dwelling or habitation of God - The church (think corporately, rather that individually)
Who is the image of God on this earth - The church, who is the fullness of the Son.

Saints, this is what God is after. This is what He had in his heart from the dateless past. This is His eternal Purpose. The church is His passion, His beautiful bride, His dwelling place, His family and His image on this earth.

He wants His church to bear His image in every city on this planet. How is this done? By local expressions of His church, a close knit "community" of people who live by His life, fellowship with each other, share His life with each other, share their lives with each other, love each other thus expressing the corporate image of shared life, love, fellowship and community in the Godhead. "Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other", said Jesus. How will the world know this without a local expression of His community? - A local community, where saints let go of 'individualism' (not individuality) and live like the family of God (not just in theory), sharing lives, love and more importantly His life. A community where people meet, solely under the Headship of Christ, where Christ is allowed to take His rightful place of King and Head of the church, where He leads the meeting through the Spirit, and not a meeting based on programs, rituals and liturgy. A meeting where every member is free to function in their priestly role, thus making Christ visible through every member of the body functioning and not just one person or a few people functioning, while the rest are merely spectators in the pews. Saints, Christ is looking for a home (habitation) among us! Are we as 'living' stones, being built up "together" with the other living stones, or is our interaction with them limited to a hand shake at the end of the meeting?

God is passionate about His purpose? This is what He is doing today - working out His Eternal Purpose, and He has been doing it since the beginning. Of course, He will bring it to completion at the end. Today, He gives us an opportunity to be part of this 'Grand Purpose'! The question we need to ask is, is His Ultimate purpose our purpose, is His vision our vision? Are we living our 'individual' Christian lives as lone rangers or are we being built up together with other local believers to be a habitation for Him, a local expression of His Body, His image, His family and His beautiful bride!!

P.S. For those who want to explore more about the 'Eternal Purpose', here are two awesome resources:
1. Audio mp3 :The Eternal Purpose of God
3. Book : From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God

THE NAKED GOSPEL - Andrew Farley

Please download this book for FREE by clicking here. You can also buy a copy for yourself by clicking here. It is a MUST read for every Christian! As Andrew puts it, it is "Jesus plus nothing. 100% natural. No additives.It's the truth you may never hear in church. The Naked Gospel is a chapter-by-chapter assault on the churchy jargon and double talk of our day. It puts forth a message that is simple but life-changing. With a fresh take on Scripture and unapologetic style, The Naked Gospel will challenge you to re-examine everything you thought you already knew."