Wednesday, July 9, 2008

For God So Loved the World

part 3

Well, this is my third and final post unless I am asked to visit again. Thank you Darling for giving me the opportunity, I hope it’s been helpful.

In my first post I was attempting to explain that understanding salvation simply in terms of one’s own personal salvation drastically misses the point of what God has done and is doing in Christ and the Spirit throughout history. In my second post I wanted to make it clear that having a relationship with God is what it is all about. Yet, God has provided a way (one way, in fact) for that to happen. A right relationship with God must be understood in light of his Covenant. This means it needs to be understood in light of who Jesus Christ is and what he came to do. Jesus Christ did not come simply to save individuals. Rather, in and through Jesus Christ, God the Father, has fulfilled and is fulfilling his promises he made in the past. Namely, that through the Seed of Abraham all the nations will be blessed. Jesus Christ is that seed and through Him the world is being redeemed.

I want to make this clear: the world is blessed and saved through Jesus Christ. Yet, we cannot severe the head from the body. God is working out his plan today through his bride (the Church/the body) as it is lead and directed by her husband through the power of the Spirit.

Often we think of the Church as a place we go to fellowship with other individual Christians for the sake of our own personal relationship with Jesus. For many, the Church is simply an option and one can take it or leave it, ultimately it’s not vital to ones salvation.

I could discuss where this understanding of the Church came from but I want to briefly talk about the fact that this view does not come from the Bible. In fact, the Bible teaches the exact opposite. The Bible teaches us that the Church is the Body of Christ. In other words, one cannot be united to Christ apart from being united to his body, the Church. The Scriptures speak of the Church as being the pillar and ground of the truth. Apart from being under the Church and following her lead one cannot be in line with truth. And the last one that I want to mention is that the Bible teaches us that the Church is our mother. As children of God we don’t have the option of taking or leaving our mother. Apart from the love, nurture, and care of our mother we will cease to grow and therefore die.

When Christ rose again and presented himself to his disciples the first thing they did was worship him. This is the heart and soul of the church. The church is the assembly of those who have been called out of this world to worship God the Father, in Jesus Christ and centered around Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. After the disciples worshipped Christ they did not receive assurance that now they can go to heaven someday. Rather, Jesus calls them out of the world to worship him so that they can be sent back into the world to represent him.

This is to be the rhythm of our lives as Christians; each day we are sent out into the world to bear the cross that Christ calls us to bear, each day is to be full of little deaths where we are sacrificing ourselves for our spouses, children, bosses, fellow employees, enemies, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ. As we go forth into the world bearing the cross of Christ and representing him in the world we are drawn closer and closer to him as our week culminates on the Lord’s day. For us to have the strength to die these deaths we must be renewed and refreshed with the grace, love, and strength of Christ and his Spirit. We receive this resurrection life each week as we come to worship together on the day that the Lord was raised, the first day of the week, the first day of a new creation. From there once again Christ commissions us to go forth making disciples of the nations. He does not simply commission individuals, he sends forth his Church clothed in his righteousness to shine as bright stars in the midst of a wicked world. He places his song in our hearts that we may live according to his rhythm, of death and resurrection, and therefore fill the world with the hope of new creation.


Chris/ty said...

Thanks for sharing KC. I really liked reading this, especially the last one. It is hard to be a mom at times with a fussy baby, the never ending messes, grocery shopping, etc... Thanks for the reminder that it is not about me, but about Christ, sacrifice and "dying little deaths" each day. It really encouraged me!

Elissa said...

Judging by the pictures below it looks like you have a natural violinist in the family! =) Is there an evening in the next week or so that would work for you guys to come over?

becca said...

What a beautiful picture of the cycle we go through each week. Thank you.

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