Posts Tagged ‘The church’

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Only the Lonely: Our Need, His Provision…

May 29, 2012

“Loneliness was the first thing that God’s eye named not good.” – John Milton

(Photo Credit: The National Geographic)

From the very beginning of time, recorded in scripture, we see that mankind was created to reflect the image of God.  Fundamental to making that image complete was the creation of relationships.  “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR own likeness…” (Gen 1:26)  God is a relational being, a Triune God who is three persons in one being, each one relating to each other in perfect harmony.  Mankind reflects this relational reality.  God look out upon His good creation and behold it was all good.  The earth beneath; the sky above; the birds in the skies; the fish in the seas; all of it was very good.  And yet one thing in the litany of divine creation was not good.  After creating man from the dust of the earth and tasking him with the dominion of earth, it was determined that it was “not good” for man to be alone.

Now it is important to note that the Bible does not record that man was lonely.  There is no sign that Adam wandered about God’s good creation bemoaning his status.  Eden represented perfect harmony between man and creation, God and man. It was God who looked upon the scene and determined that man needed suitable help.  So man and woman were created in the image of God to exercise dominion and aid each other in the multiplication of the image of God across creation.

We were created to be together.  Men and women, in marriage.  Parents and children in families.  Brothers and sisters in harmony.  Individuals in communities, clans, cities, nations.  This tendency to group is as evident in natural general revelation as sunshine and seasons.  Every corner of the globe reflects man’s tendency and propensity to gather into groups, multiply and exercise dominion over their space.  This is seen in marriage, which is by far the most universal human cultural institution.  All of this was greatly effected by the Fall.  The Fall radically reoriented all human relationships. As we see in Genesis 3, the very act of procreating became marked by pain, and all relationships fell victim to enmity and strife.  Brother’s would kill brothers, Husbands would rule over wives, wives would undermine their husbands.  The contention would spread out into cities and towns and entire nations through wars and feuds.  But from the outset, a seed was planted and promised, One who would crush the head evil and shatter the scepters of the wicked.  One who would draw all nations to Himself and break down barriers of political and relational strife.  Upon the cross, there was such a man.

We need each other because we were created to be in relationships, reflecting the image of the triune relational God.  Where sin marred this reality of our relationships, the gospel of God’s grace literally breathed new life into the dry bones of our communities.  The Gospel is power.  Power to overcome the greatest strife, power to dissolve the most intractable debates, and power to sooth the deepest hurt.  God sent His son to that we might have life, abundant life, together in a body called the church.

Christ, himself reflected this, in that He did not act alone.  Supernaturally He was attended by the Father, empowered by the Holy Spirit, doing nothing apart from their will or ability.  Naturally, He formed a community, calling disciples and tending to His family.  He equipped not individuals, but groups.  His great commission was not given to any one man, but to the whole body of those who called upon Him as Lord. Through Jesus all of our constructed barriers are removed and our relationships are restored; so that, whether we are rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, Servant or master, we are all one in Christ Jesus.  We have now a foretaste of what is to come, when we will exist peacefully together in relationships living solely for the glory of God.

So it is not good for you to be alone.  If you are alone in spirit, know that there is One who stands ready to rush in and provide eternal comfort to your forlorn soul, if only you would call upon Him, confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart that Jesus is Lord.  If you know God but are alone relationally, then seek out the other members in the body of which you are apart, the church.  For they exist, as your brothers and sisters, to share your burdens as well as your joys; to give you a foretaste of Godly community to come.d

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Go, Make, Live: a Three Part Approach to missions

March 28, 2012

A Series: Part 1

Throughout history God receives glory through the propagation of His name.  In Genesis, man is created in God’s likeness and told to multiply and subdue the entire world, so that the world might be under the dominion of those bearing His image.  In the Psalms we see that His people experience blessing and mercy so that His “way may be known on earth, [His] salvation among all nations.”[1]  Likewise we see in the prophets that His chosen people experience judgment so that His name might be known.  In the Old Testament God uses the judgment of sin as a means to proclaim His holiness and glory.  God judged the entirety of sinful man in the flood, but saved Noah to proclaim His salvation.  God judged Israel’s sin of idolatry by overwhelming their cities with enemies and scattering their families across the land.  The prophet Habakkuk proclaimed that these judgments were used, like the flood, to fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, “as the waters cover the seas.”[2]  Despite sin, despite fallen man, God continually redeemed a people through blood sacrifice, and commanded that they go and make His name known among the nations.  The greatest expression of His mercy of redemption is seen through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.  At the cross, God joined together His judgment and His blessing into one act of sacrifice.  This is the ultimate expression of God’s love for mankind that He gave His Son, as the propitiation for our sins.

Christ absorbed the flood of God’s wrath of judgment at the cross; and He became the vehicle of greatest blessing to the whole of God’s people.  Those who bore witness to this event were tasked with the mission to proclaim this judgment and blessing to ‘Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”[3]  The story of God’s blessing and judgment must now fill the earth through our lives lived in reflection of God’s glorious work through Christ on the cross.  To this end Jesus commanded His disciples and by extension all of us to, “Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.”[4]

As a Church, we will reflect His mission with this statement of purpose:

That we will continue to proclaim His name; Going according to His will and for His glory to our neighbors and to the nations; Making disciples of those who call on His name baptizing them and teaching them to teach others the wonders of His works, Living so as to bare witness of the glories of His grace and the assurance of His hope.

In what follows, through a series of posts, we shall unpack this statement and seek to obtain principles that will guide our efforts and attempt gain a vision of the kingdom that will inspire our hearts to action.  We will begin by turning our focus to the “Going” and attempt to answer the questions of: Where to go?; When to go?; and finally Why we are going?  We will then focus on the “Making” and attempt to answer the questions of: Who are we making?; How are they being made?; and finally Why we are making disciples?  We will conclude this discussion by focusing on the “Living,” we will we will seek to apply the promise of Christ’s great commission on our lives and examine how His hope inspires our witness.


[1] Psalm 67:1-2

 [2] Hab. 2:14

[3] Acts 1:8

 [4] Matt. 28:19-20a