‘Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water’ John 19.34 NIV.
There is more to Jesus’ spear pieced side than we have thought. Frank Viola explains that we as persons and as the church have come from the side of Jesus. Just as Eve came from the side of the old Adam, so we come from the side of the new Adam. In the spirit we are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. The Believer is the new creation Eve, otherwise known as the Bride of Christ. Here we are not only His help-meet. We bear children to Him in the form of living speech, spirit-embodied projects and birthing sons and daughters of God.
‘The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man’ Gen 2.23 NIV.
Your and I and the church come from Jesus’ side as the original Eve from Adam. This gives a new intensity to the reality of Paul’s statement - Christ our life. Jesus as Eve was a different expression of Adam so we are a different expression of Jesus.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV.
Jesus’ church comes from Jesus. He is not birthed by denomination or institution. As a friend perceptively remarked once, we can be servants of denominations or churches and think we are representing God. It’s more personal than that. We are if Christ is our life. Not if His stuff is our life or the institution is our life. Jesus and the sons and daughters of God do not spring spontaneously out of the straw and damp bags of the church, as in the theory of spontaneous generation. The church that is Jesus springs spontaneously out of Him.
This tells us we need to be alive in the incarnation and not dead in some reification of our own flesh.
We need to establish cause and effect to be the church Jesus builds. As sons we are the expression of our Father. As the Bride we come from Jesus’ side. As a wife and His bride we complete Him. We manifest His diversity and the fullness of Christ is seen in us individually when He is our life and in the church when it is composed of those who are growing in Christ their life. Growing in Christ their life rather than remaining fogs and phantoms of themselves in shadow church that has a fleeting reality. But not the reality that is its inheritance in Christ.
C.S. Lewis draws a literary picture of those who live in things other than Christ, including the ‘Christian stuff.’ These are not folks living in rebellion. They are living in the shadows instead of the reality that is Christ. They have a ghostly, wraith like nature without real substance and genuine effect in the world - clouds without rain. This is the church that is the ghost of itself instead of the reality that is Christ.
‘These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ’ Col 2.17 NIV.
Those who think they can advance the kingdom by discovering some new configuration of the church are misguided. The branches are the extension of the vine. The vine is Jesus in whom we live, move and have our being. Jesus is both the vine and the root through which we as individuals and as humanity are embedded in the presence and life of the trinity. Here we are immersed in love at its Source. We are marinated in love and empowered to love. It is in Christ that we are personally alive and in Christ that the church is in God and representative of His authority, love and life in everyday situations.
Father never intended that we plant churches. He does not plant structures and abstractions. He plants His Son. We plant His church when we plant sons of God in whom our Father dwells. The flesh accomplishes nothing. Planting Jesus results in spirit and life and the harvest of sons who are the church. Kriston Couchey writes,
“Let's be clear, much of church culture is not counter-culture to the world. It is a product of the world's way of thinking and doing business as the world does. Division over beliefs, criticism of those not doing it like us, making the leader the authoritative controlling voice in our lives. These are the fruit of dead religion and self-effort dependent upon men.
I have no condemnation for us in this place. But I don't pretend it is the kingdom of God manifest either. The only exit to this confusion is the love of The Father realized and manifest in us and to others. We really don't realize how counter to the normal Christian experience the kingdom of God rooted in the unconditional love of God is. Love is the seat of power in the kingdom, and it heals, delivers and changes. Love has a name, Jesus. We see the power of Love to deliver and bring people through the gate of forgiveness, but many end up on the side of the path just inside the gate sitting in our man crafted churches in powerless confusion.”