Recently on Radio National I listened too the story about a hip-hop church and the account of its radical configuration. There is much to be said for creativity, novelty and relevance in worship. But the world is not saved by church. It is transformed by Jesus Christ come in our flesh. The real church of Jesus is seen where Christ is the life of His people. This is His church, the one He builds which is the kingdom of God and new creation where it touches lives and changes culture in resurrection power.
The church Jesus builds is radically simple. It’s the manifestation of Himself in us.
Don’t be among those who speak new covenant on an individual level and deny it on the level of church polity. Jesus did not come to create spiritual dependency. If this is the result He is not the vine rooting us in the trinity.
Many are too lethargic to enter the Kingdom of life. Some sweep in and out as tides in large churches. Like pieces of driftwood tied to the ministry of a celebrity speaker and the aura of contemporary church they spend their lives in shadows while missing the reality. Worship is a life. It’s more than us in a trance. He is with us and in us - the three personed God inhabiting our being. He does not get in us because we flail our arms and act like gymnasts. It is the incarnation that is the ground of new testament living. The incarnation is the root. You are the branch and the fruit.
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
The rubber hits the road when Jesus has come in our flesh; when we sow hope and touch others with His Spirit within us. The Kingdom is sowing Jesus and reaping resurrection life. The Spirit comes from heaven but manifests in the material culture of everyday life.
Eschew forms of godliness without power. Bible study has benefits. But there’s more to Kingdom life than Bible study. There is being the manifestation of Jesus and the multiplication of His life-changing presence. Jesus said, ‘Heal the sick, raise the dead. Tell the Kingdom has come.’ The difference between the kingdom of church and the Kingdom of God is resurrection.
SWAMPS AND RIVERS
Many live as consumers when they could be life-givers and multipliers of the Christ who is in them and with them. We can do better than have a relationship with the latest book, the most vibrant worship and the most cutting edge church. There is more on offer than the management of the manifest presence of Christ. There is being the manifest presence where we are. The manifest presence of our Father is called a son/daughter of God.
People can be captive to non-gospels, old covenant mindsets and subtle distortions of the apostles teaching. Brainwashed from childhood they live in innocent ignorance or smug bigotry - insulated from the spirit of Jesus and captive to a lesser christ and a lesser gospel. But none are too hard for Jesus who lives to set all captives free.
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free’ Luke 4.18 NIV.
EXPRESSING THE TRINITY
The One who lives in us can be our life and we can multiply what He began. The key to winning the world to Christ is not some new formulation of the church. It is to eat Christ. It is to make His Person rather than His stuff the spirit in and around us that multiplies His Kingdom in the world. Those who eat Jesus will live because of Him. Those who eat other stuff will die without His life.
‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them’ John 6.56 NIV.
The Bible says, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might’ Ecc 9.10 NIV. New testament life is more than working hard and more than working smarter. ‘Might’ in this age is the Spirit of Christ in you emitting with penetrating power to bring the revelation of Jesus as our personal hope and the hope of the world. With Christ as our life, His Spirit is with us and in us - we speak words, we do actions of spirit and life. Gone is the dullness of the flesh and the vanity of formulae. Out of you comes rivers of Spirit and life from the trinity who lives in your being.