Monday, June 6, 2011

The Church - God's Got A Really Good Thing Going

My pastor, Mike Bullmore, has been doing a series on church polity and has been hammering home the idea that the Church is where God has a really good thing going on. You can hear the sermons here (click on some "Recent Sermons" at the bottom of the page).

I was reminded of this blog post by John Piper where he lays out an interpretation of Ephesians 1:23 which he calls "Perhaps the Most Staggering Promise in the Bible" - and it relates to the Church. The idea that the Church is the fullness of Christ is literally mind-boggling to think about. See if you agree:

What does Jesus mean when he says to the church in Laodicea, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21)?

Sit with Jesus on his throne? Really?

This is a promise to everyone who conquers, that is, who presses on in faith to the end (1 John 5:4), in spite of every threatening pain and luring pleasure. So, if you are a believer in Jesus, you will sit on the throne of the Son of God who sits on the throne of God the Father.

I take “throne of God” to signify the right and authority to rule the universe. So Jesus promises us a share in the rule of all things.

Is this what Paul has in mind in Ephesians 1:22–23? “And he put all things under Christ’s feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

We, the church, are the “fullness of him who fills all.” I take this to mean that the universe will be filled with the glory of the Lord (Number 14:21). And one dimension of that glory will be the complete and unopposed extension of his rule everywhere.

Therefore, Ephesians 1:23 would mean: Jesus fills the universe with his own glorious rulethrough us. We are the fullness of his rule. We rule on his behalf. In that sense, we sit with him on his throne.

None of us feels this as we should. It is too much. That is why Paul prays for God’s help: “I pray that the Father of glory enlighten the eyes of your heart, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18).

Without omnipotent help now, we cannot feel the wonder of what we are to become. But if we are granted to feel it as it is, all our emotional reactions to this world will change.

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