The last aspect of God’s eternal purpose. God wants a family to care for.
I think that the following quote from the book From Eternity to Here, by Frank Viola, actually presents something very critical:
Jesus Christ was a King from another universe. His principal message was that the kingdom of His Father, the Ruler of the universe, had come to earth in His own person. This was a shorthand way of saying that the reign of God, who lives in the heavenlies, had arrived on planet earth in the coming of Jesus, God’s only Son.
Those who pay their allegiance to Jesus will become citizens of that new realm. In fact, they will be born from that realm. And they will be given the very life that the King lives by, thus making them part of His own species. As C. S. Lewis once put it, “Christianity is the story of how the rightful King has landed, you might say in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in His great campaign of sabotage.”
That new realm talked about, that’s the Kingdom of God, which is synonymous with Jesus. Jesus is the Kingdom of God, He carries the Kingdom inside of Him. Go ahead, anytime you come across “Kingdom of God” or “Kingdom” in the New Testament, replace it with “Jesus.” The verse will probably become even more clear on it’s meaning. It brings an entirely new depth to the New Testament and the Gospel’s in particular. Over 119 references to the “kingdom” and every one of them replaced with “Jesus” brings a new layer of richness and beauty to the scriptures.
But this group of people who become part of the new realm, part of Jesus, they’re the Body of Christ, as well as the Family of God. These two are almost synonymous to each other, but entirely different at the same time. As a family, we care for each other, and comfort, love, weep, celebrate, and spend time with one another. The main thing that the Church in the first century did was act as a family to each other. They loved each other and cared about no differences or distinctions. There was no difference between the Jew and the Gentile in the family. That’s why the Church was seen as so radical. They didn’t despise each other, but rather loved each other.
This is, as C. S. Lewis put it, Christ’s great campaign of sabotage.
That a world that thrives on individualism would be so impacted by a family that acts as one.
That a world filled with hatred and anger and bitterness from the enemy and their own miserableness would be so impacted by a family that does nothing but love even in the face of adversity.
That a world that is mourning and weeping and afraid would be so impacted by a family that weeps with them and comforts them.
This is the reality of the Church. The Church as she should be. We have strayed to far from God’s eternal vision. For his Son to offer hope and healing, we cannot stand in our great man-made halls and sing. We cannot listen to messages being spoken about how to interpret this verse. We cannot talk amongst one another. We must venture out. We must leave our halls and abandon them. For too long has the Church lain sleeping. Only now we are waking to see a world in suffering and pain, in mourning and anger.
“Where is this God?” They cry out, “why will he not show himself?” And we pray and pray for Jesus to reveal himself to a broken and hurting world. A world that we are part of. And yet we stand in our halls and sing. We do not dare to venture out for fear that things may go wrong. We stand to invite them in, but we dare not go out.
The family of God should not rest easily on this. For a family that is so pure and holy in God’s eyes, He has handed us the world has He not? He told Peter He had. He speaks the same to us. We as the body are the only way that Jesus will express Himself, and we are not functioning as a body. We are standing around, letting one part do all of the stuff for us.
As a family, does the mother do everything in the house? Does she cook, clean, maintain the budget, plan, maintain the lawn, set the rules, enforce the rules, etc all by herself? NO! Of course not, and so as the Family of God, should we expect God to do everything? NO!
If we would but leave our halls, and go into the streets, not as evangelists wanting to bring people back to the halls, but merely as friends seeking nothing more than friendship, the Family of God would make this world look quite different.
“You need help with your bill?” “Yes, but why are you helping?” “Purely because I can.” “What do you want?” “Nothing.”
If the Family of God, the Body of Christ would begin living as God has called us to live, there would be no need for evangelism. There would be no need for outreach. There would be no need for the megachurches that exist. There would be no need for any of those things…and the enemy would be quaking in the corner. He would be paralyzed with fear, for when the Bride marches forth, would he even dare to touch her?
The eternal purpose of God is so grand and marvelous, that it will always be beyond our comprehension. I have tried to put what I have learned and what God has revealed to me into words, but they fail miserably in displaying the gloriousness of His plan. All praise be to Him who sits on the throne. For ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, so be it.