Some Thoughts on the Purpose – Part 3

To Be Like Jesus

Today, we hear a lot about being like Jesus or being “Christ-like”. There’s even a song written by Rich Mullins called “It’s Hard to be Like Jesus”. Preachers, and consequently believers, talk about Christ-likeness. As individual believers we are told that this is our goal; to be like Christ.

Actually, this is what most “discipleship” programs are all about. We are here to “make disciples” whatever that means. After all, part of the “great commission” (Matt. 28:19, 20) is to make disciples. We have interpreted this to mean that we are supposed to take individual believers and help them to be like Christ. Usually we do this by teaching them doctrine, how to study the bible, how to “pray”, how to serve God and others on the mission field, and basically how to be good Christians.

But where in the scriptures does it talk about becoming like Christ? Where did we get this idea from? The only thing I can see are the passages that deal with being conformed to His image. Perhaps we have paraphrased that to be “becoming like Christ”. If that is so, and I believe it is, then we must look at the context of each of those passages. In what context are we to be conformed to His image?

If you read the passages that have to do with being conformed to His image, you will quickly see that the context is always corporate (see these texts below). It is a “we” who are being conformed to His image. It is us together, the body, that is to look like Him. You can never be like Jesus by yourself. But She can! I am referring to that beautiful woman, the bride of Christ, who is destined to be His wife (Rev.21:9).

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” Rom 8:28-29

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Rom 12:1-5

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3:18

“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him–
a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”
Col.3:9-11

If you will read the scriptures carefully, especially the New Testament, from this perspective, it will become a new book to you. You will begin to see the proper perspective for the testimony. Things will make more sense when you read it with the “corporate view”. That’s because God’s image is community. So, of course, the process of being conformed to that image must be communal. Now I realize that in order to have corporate transformation, there must be individual transformation and I am definitely not trying to take away from that. But the whole context or environment for this transformation takes place in the “cocoon” of the community of Christ!

Spiritual Reality and Practical Expression

The fact is that we are already one. We are in Christ and He is in us. This makes us one (John 17:22, 23). How could we all be “in Christ” and not be one? The problem is not our oneness, the problem is the practical expression of that oneness. That comes through us walking it out together day by day. That comes through us developing a “body consciousness” as Watchman Nee called it. It comes through a revelation of the corporate nature of the Church. It comes through developing a lifestyle of community and not one of individualism and independence. And it comes by us sharing our lives with one another and taking care of one another. In a word, this is family, but family in the true sense of the word. Not family as we have seen it in this world, but family as a genuine expression of the community life of God.

True Discipleship

Being conformed to His image (or becoming like Christ) is a corporate matter. We are transformed together by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:1-5). This renewal happens because we are learning to think as a body instead of just a bunch of individuals. We are “learning” Christ. We are learning and experiencing the oneness of the head and body. We are learning to think and function as the One New Man (see Col. 3:9-11).

This is true discipleship. It’s not a matter of being placed into a program of individual training of bible study, individual prayer, individual evangelism, and individual character development. Rather, it is the life transformation process of being practically conformed into His image. This is the out flowing of His community life. It is the fleshing out of the fellowship of the Godhead.

Therefore, I can only conclude from this that all true “discipleship” happens in a corporate context. We learn together how to live by Christ. This is something that we all learn in the daily fires of organic church life. This idea is not something new. This “torch” burned brightly over five hundred years ago when the Anabaptists discovered true discipleship.

“The Anabaptists spoke of corporate discipleship, but they emphasized Christ. Christ was the centerpiece. The Anabaptists were loyal only to Christ, and out of that naturally grew corporate discipleship and loyalty to one another. The Anabaptists did not write about loyalty to the church, loyalty to the brotherhood, or loyalty to God-ordained leaders. They did not make two commitments, one to the head and one to the body. Their unconditional commitment to Christ made all other commitments conditional.”*

“Christ was the Centerpiece.”

They kept Him as the center. This is extremely important. It’s not enough just to have close relationships and a close knit group. The one factor binding us together must be Christ Himself. We should not be together because we all get along and have the same interests. This is a social group, not the organic church of Jesus Christ.

What transforms us is the internal life of Christ within us all.* This is a together thing. His image is corporate. So, doesn’t it make sense that the process of conforming us to that image would also be corporate?

Paul tells us in II Cor. 3:18 that we are transformed into His image by beholding and reflecting the glory of the Lord as in a mirror. We do this together with one unveiled face! Notice how this verse begins. “But we all with unveiled face.” It begins plural (we all) but ends singular (face). We all behold Him with one face. When we look into the faces of our brothers and sisters and see the one face of Jesus Christ, then we are transformed into His corporate image.

“Because the God who said, ‘Out of darkness light shall shine’, is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” II Cor. 4:6

This is very difficult to reconcile with our individualistic culture and lifestyles. Even the nuclear family unit has broken down to the point where younger generations have no concept of community. Either that or their only concept of community is one of dysfunction, abuse, and violence and hence the increase of street gangs.

The answer is found within the Godhead. The Father, Son, and Spirit have this incredible fellowship that is flowing continuously like a river (see John chapters 14-17). The way that They relate to one another is the model for all church life and discipleship. We are being conformed to that image. The community life and love that are shared inside of the Triune God are the exact same life and love to be shared inside the church (see John 17).

When we begin learning to see and hear Christ in our brothers and sisters, then real transformation (discipleship) will flow. Let’s get this straight. The image of God is Christ (Col. 1:15). This Christ is corporate. He is the Head and the Body (I Cor. 12:12). He is the Vine and the Branches (John 15:5). He is the Bridegroom and the Bride (John 3:29, 20). He is the foundation and the stones of the house (I Pet. 2:4-7). This corporate Christ is the perfect visible image of the invisible Godhead. We are being transformed into that image from one degree of glory to another!

*footnote #1 – “The Secret of the Strength” by Peter Hoover page 129

*footnote #2 – See the author’s book, “The Butterfly Within

The above article was taken from the book called “The Community Life of God” by Milt Rodriguez

Some Thoughts on the Purpose – Part 2

A friend recently told me that the eternal purpose of God was so vast that it was difficult to grasp and even more difficult to explain.  I told him that I agreed.  He also said that it’s very difficult to put into one sentence.  I also agreed with that, however, after thinking about this later, I decided to take on the challenge.  So here is my contribution of consolidating the eternal purpose into one sentence:

God’s eternal purpose is that the fullness of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, would be displayed and expressed visibly through a vessel that would be a Family/House for the Father, a Bride/Body for the Son, and a Temple for the Holy Spirit.

In my last post I shared that God has a purpose that we can clearly see in chapter one of Genesis.

If you didn’t read the last post, you can do so here.

The purpose was to create a Man (actually, a race of man) that would both express His nature and character and represent His authority over the earth, especially to His enemy.

Genesis two tells us the way, or plan that God is going to use to accomplish this purpose.  He offers man to ingest His very own life.  He places man before the tree of life.  The obvious implication here is that man would eat of that tree and thereby take the life of God into his being so that he would be able to live by that life and thus accomplish God’s eternal purpose.

God’s purpose could never be accomplished by human life.  It takes a much higher life than that.  It takes God’s very own life.  Divine life, eternal life, uncreated life!  Human life is a lower life form that could never fulfill God’s purpose or satisfy His heart.  That’s like asking a dog to behave like a human.  It won’t work because the dog has the wrong life form.  Preachers will stand up in front of people every Sunday morning telling them that they need to do more and to do better to be good Christians.  The problem is that all of those people have the wrong life form to live that way!  They are being asked to please God with their human life.  Impossible!

But in the garden, God placed man in front of a Tree, THE TREE, full of His life!  Wow!  What an opportunity.  Just think… a creature who lives by the life of God!  What a concept.  Only God could think of such a thing.

I Want to Know You

But, no, rather I also count all things to be loss because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them to be trash, that I might gain Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness of Law, but through the faith of Christ, having the righteousness of God on faith, to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, having been conformed to His death, if somehow I may attain to a resurrection out of the dead.

Phil 3:8-11

Lord Jesus, I want to know you.

I want to know You in all of Your fullness and all of Your glory.

I want to know You in all of Your depths, heights, width and breadth, together with all of Your saints.

I want to know You within Your Church!

That is, I want to know all of Your unsearchable riches that are hidden within earthen vessels.

I want to know all of those things that our eyes cannot see and our ears cannot hear neither have come up into our hearts.

But I want to know all of those things that have already been given to us by Your Spirit.

I don’t want to know You in a shallow way.  I want to dive down deep into the depths of You.

I want to be a submarine, not just a sailboat!

I want to know You in Your righteousness, holiness, redemption, and salvation.

I want to know You AS my wisdom.

I want to know Your ways, thoughts, and character.

I want to know YOU, not just what You said and did.

I want to know the present (current) Christ, not just some historical figure from the past.

I want to know the risen, ascended, glorified, and eternal Christ.

I don’t just want to know You in my mind, but I want to know You in my experience.

I want to know You in my spirit.

I want this knowledge to be an experiential knowledge!

I want to know You as my Grace and Truth.

I want to know You as my Food and Drink.

I want to know You as the air I breathe.

I want to know You as my Vine and my Shepherd.

I want to know You as my New Man, New Creation, and New Covenant.

I want to know You as my Life Source and Life Supply.

I want to know You as my New Wine and New Wineskin.

I want to know You as the essence of all of the scriptures.

I want to know You AS my resurrection.

I want to know You as my Center.

I want to live by Your life.

I want to be able to say in truth that it’s not I who live but Christ who lives in me.

I want to know You so deeply and so truly that I will have forgotten anything that Milt ever came up with!

I want to know You in and with my brothers and sisters.

I want to know You in Your Body, Your Bride, Your House.

I am willing to lose all to know You in these ways and in every way.

Lord Jesus, I want to know You …

Some Thoughts on the Purpose – Part 1

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Gen. 1:26

It’s very clear from Genesis chapter one that God has an eternal purpose (as Paul calls it in Ephesians).  He created man with a definite purpose to fulfill.  We can see from this one verse 26 that God wanted an image and He also wanted that image to have dominion over the earth.  Let’s take a closer look at each one of these aspects of the purpose:

An Image of God

This image would be a reflection, a likeness, and an expression of the living God.  But how would man be an image of God?  He would express God and he would reflect God.  But this would be more than a mere copy or clone of God.  This image would not just be the type of an image that we see in a mirror or in a photograph.  Those are just two-dimensional representations that do not adequately express the fullness of His glorious splendor.  How would the very fullness of God be expressed in such a limited creature?  How would the infinite God be expressed adequately by a finite creation?  How would an uncreated God be expressed by a created man?  We shall find the secret to God’s way to fulfill the Purpose in Genesis chapter 2.  But let’s first fully understand the Purpose itself.

Dominion

The second part of the Purpose was for man to have dominion over the earth.  This has to do with God’s enemy, satan.  The reason we know this is that the scripture specifically mentions “the creeping things” at the end of verse 26.  And we see in chapter 3 that the enemy comes to Eve as a serpent.  So, man is to have authority (dominion) over all the earth and especially the creeping things.

So we can say that God created man for two reasons; to express and represent.  The image speaks of His expression.  The dominion speaks of His representation.  God wanted man to express His nature and character.  And He also wanted man to represent His authority on the earth, especially over the creeping things (God’s enemy).

But how would man do this?  Again, the question begs to be answered.  How would man (a lower life form) express and represent the almighty God?  That’s like asking my dog to fully express and represent me!  It’s impossible!  But why?  Because my dog is a lower life form.  She cannot express a human, only a dog.  She has the wrong life form.

Genesis Chapter 2

Thank God for Genesis chapter two!

Have you ever noticed how chapter two is almost like a replay of the creation account?  Was God repeating Himself?  Did He forget that He already wrote chapter one or something?  Hardly.  The purpose of chapter two is to explain the way that God would accomplish His eternal purpose.  Chapter one tells us the what of His purpose.  Chapter two tells us the how of His purpose.  You could say that chapter one lays out the purpose, but chapter two lays out the way to fulfill that purpose – or the plan.

The Plan is Carried Out by Life

And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.
And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”          Gen. 2:8,9

There it is!  God was going to carry out His purpose by giving man His very own life!  So what does He do?  He presents Himself as a tree in the garden!  God makes Himself  edible (or eatable!) to man.  This is both tremendous and unthinkable.  God, actually dispensing His very own life into man?  Can you think of a better way for man to express and represent God?  Man has a lower life form that can only inadequately express God.  So God offers him His very own life form!

All man had to do was eat.  And then God would come into man and begin to permeate his entire being.  Just like physical food becomes part of you after you ingest it.  What a wonderful plan!  Please notice with me here that there are no rules or regulations.  God did not ask man to follow some code of ethics.  He did not ask man to follow some kind of moral code. He did not even ask man to bow down to worship Him.  He only presents Himself to man in the form of food and asks him to eat!

You see God knew that if man partook of His life and that life grew inside of him that he would be able to express Him and represent Him because it would actually be God Himself doing it in and through man!

Stay tuned for part 2

New Book on the Journey

The following is the introduction for the new book: Return to the Wild by Mary Rodriguez

You can pre-order the book at this site: http://www.therebuilders.org/return-book.html

It has been reported that over one million Christians are leaving institutional churches every year in America alone. Most of them are not leaving because they are falling away from Christ. They are leaving because they hunger for more of Him. In short, they want a deeper walk with Christ and an experience of the church that is more closely lined up with what they read in their New Testament. They are seeking a church experience that is real and expresses the life within them.

Because of this mass exodus from institutional Christianity many are seeking alternative forms of church life such as house church, simple church, and missional church. However, the problem is that these “alternative” forms of church end up being, in essence, institutional themselves. The simple reason for this is that you can only do what you know and if your only experience is institutional, then whatever you do will be institutional. You may have left the institution, but has the institution left you?

This quandary has placed these institutional refugees in a difficult situation. How does a group of believers who have left institutional church now become an authentic organic expression of the church as we see it in the New Testament? They have never experienced anything other than the institutional.

Many have tried “Biblical Blueprintism” which basically means that they take the New Testament (especially the Book of Acts) study it together, and then try to imitate what they see there. But this doesn’t work because the Book of Acts isn’t a “pattern” to be copied; it is a record of the very life of God being lived out through His people.

So the question that is begging to be asked is; how do we learn to live by the same life that those people lived by in the record of the New Testament? The question is not, what did they do so we can copy it? But rather, how did they live? We are all accustomed to performance based religion and yet changing what we do will never bring about true body life. The rabbit hole goes much deeper than that.

The key is found in what Paul called a mystery:

Christ in you (plural), the hope of glory” Col. 1:27.

I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” Gal. 2:20.

The reason that we have such a difficult time finding authentic body life on this planet is twofold.

  1. It is not found on this planet! It is only lived by another Life which is not from this place. The “church” can only be lived by the divine life of Christ within us.
  2. We must completely turn from the old ways of our natural man and the systems of man. We have become “domesticated” (a term we use in this book) and need to be set free from the moorings of religion into the “wild” of the riches of Christ Himself.

We need to realize who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us. We need to discover our true spiritual “instincts” in order to see and experience Christ as our genuine food and drink. And we need to awaken to the reality of our need for true community life in His body. We need the help of those whom God sends to us who have experience in this life.

Receiving a “sent one” is a very important part of the equation (Matt. 10:40). Those attempting to live the organic expression of the church will need the help of an outside itinerant worker. This must be someone who is not only called, prepared, and sent to this work, but who also has experience living in and planting organic churches.

This book is an allegory of these spiritual realities. It is the story of our journey from the institutional to the authentic and the organic. Surely, you will see yourself along this path at some point. Our hope is not only that you will see where you are currently, but also where God wants to take you.

Dear believer, you are a true lion. And God wants to set you free to live the kind of life that fits your identity. He wants you to Return to the Wild.

You can pre-order Return to the Wild at the following link:
http://www.therebuilders.org/return-book.html

The Great Assumption

I’m going to share with you something of my heart right up front. This article is most likely going to be severely misunderstood and greatly misinterpreted. It’s definitely not going to make me very popular. And yet I strongly feel that it must be stated in order to break a mindset that has held believers in bondage for the last hundred and fifty years. It’s my opinion and I have a right to share it, though many might disagree.

“But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matt. 28:16–20.

This passage of scripture, along with Mark 16:14-15 and Acts 1:1-2 is commonly referred to by evangelical Christians as “The Great Commission.” First of all, let me say that I believe that these words were spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ to the apostles before he left this earth. Whether you call it a commandment or a commission or whatever, the point is that he spoke these words to eleven men. But I have two questions regarding this:

1. Was he commissioning eleven men or was he commissioning all believers for all places and all times?
2. Was this “commission” a stand alone statement or was it the beginning of a fulfillment of a much larger plan and mission of God?

In an attempt to break free from some of the moorings of the evangelical mindset that we all have, we will “search the scriptures to see if these things are so.”

The Great Sending

To answer the first question I must first of all say that I believe in evangelism. That is, I believe that the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ must be declared in all the world so that people will receive Christ and follow Him.

This “gospel” is not an ‘it’ or a ‘thing’ – but rather, a Person. It is the Lord Jesus Christ himself who must be preached to all the world (see Col. 1:27 – 29; Eph. 3:8; Gal. 1:15, 16; I Cor. 2:2). In the letter to the Colossians Paul describes an awesome, glorious, eternal, all-sufficient Christ in chapter one. Then, at the end of the chapter he tells us the mystery hidden from the ages which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (verse 27). Then, in verse 28, he tells us that this Christ is the one whom he announced. This glorious Christ who is described in verses 12 through 20 is the same Christ who lives in us and is the same Christ who is Paul’s gospel! So I believe in this gospel going out into all the earth.

But in Matthew 28: 16 – 20 was Jesus commissioning or sending eleven men or was he sending all Christians for all time? Christians from the Reformation through the nineteenth century believed that it was the former. It has only been since the end of the nineteenth century that Christians have believed that this “commission” was for all believers.

The evangelical theology that we have today was, for the most part, formulated towards the end of what was called the Second Great Awakening in England and America under the influence of men like Charles Finney, Peter Cartwright, J.R. Mott, and D.L. Moody.

It just makes much more contextual sense that Jesus was sending those eleven men rather than all Christians for all time. These men were apostles. The word apostle (apostolos) means “sent-one” in the original language. These men were being sent into all the world because Christ had called then to this work. But Paul tells us that all are not apostles (sent-ones). Only some are called to be sent-ones (See I Cor. 12:28 – 31). And these eleven men were definitely called to be “sent-ones” and did end up going into all the then known world to preach this glorious Christ.

From my understanding of scripture it seems that we are all called to testify as witnesses but we are not all called to be sent.

Regrettably, this Great commission doctrine has been used as a tool to hammer Christians into “gospel service” by the use of guilt. Many evangelical leaders use this doctrine to make believers feel that they are disobeying God and are second class citizens of the Kingdom of God if they aren’t out there “witnessing” to the lost on a daily basis. What a bunch of garbage! What a tragedy this is!

The Commission as Part of God’s Ageless Purpose

This brings us down to the question of the contest for the “commission” statement Jesus gave to the eleven apostles. Was this a stand alone command that was isolated and disconnected from God’s grand design and eternal mission?

Many use the “great Commission” doctrine to formulate a mandate for God’s mission. They say that the whole purpose of God and the Church is to save souls. Your purpose as a Christian is to lead others to Christ. That’s why you are here. That’s why the Church is here. But here again, the only context for this idea comes from late nineteenth century revivalism and the evangelical movement. It does not come from the scriptures.

The true “Great Commission” is founded upon something that Paul calls the eternal purpose of God (See Ephesians chapters 1 and 3). Notice that this purpose is eternal. It was in the heart of God before creation. This means that the purpose is before the garden and before the fall of man. So it has nothing to do with the saving of souls. In fact, it has nothing to do with human needs at all! But it has everything to do with God’s heart desire and passion. There was something in his heart that motivated him to create. We can see it in the very beginning, before there was sin.

“Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth . . .”

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Gen. 1:26 – 28

From this passage we can see that God wanted three things:

• An image or representation of himself
• This image (or expression) would exercise God’s authority on the earth
• The image would be fruitful and multiply

We could call this the “adamic commission.” And it reveals much of what God had in His heart for man. We also can see this “commission” repeated over and over again throughout the story.

He gave the same commission to Noah (Gen 9:1 – 11). He repeated the commission again to Abraham (Gen. 17: 1 – 8). And then again to Jacob (Gen. 28: 13 – 15). The themes involved in this covenant/commission are that:

• God wants a people (a corporate entity) or image
• He wants these people to rule in the earth
• He wants these people to multiply and to take the land (inheritance)

Does this sound familiar? But what is this idea of the land (or inheritance) all about? For Israel the inheritance was the Canaan land, a land flowing with many riches. But that is only a picture of the eternal inheritance (Heb. 2:15). There is now a new covenant which has fulfilled the old (Heb. 8). There is also a new “Israel” which has fulfilled the old (Gal. 3:23 – 29). The eternal inheritance is Christ himself! He is our land flowing with milk and honey. He is our portion!

The Purpose Remains

Jesus sent out eleven men to proclaim him to all the world. He told them to make disciples. But before that, he showed them how to make disciples for three years. He showed them by making them disciples! And how did he do this?

• He lived a life that was in, through, by, and for His Father. He lived his life by the life of his Father (John 6:57).
• He lived his life as the definition, explanation, and expression of the Father (John 1:18; Col. 1:15). In other words he lived as the incarnate Word, the very image of God.
• He came with God’s authority and took dominion over the creeping things and the effects of the fall and the world system.
• He was fruitful and multiplied. In John 12:24 we see that the one grain of wheat fell into the ground and produced many grains (the resurrection). The result was a people (nation) for God who could live as the embodiment of his eternal purpose.

In other words, he made disciples by fulfilling God’s eternal purpose to have an image (expression) that represents his authority and is fruitful. Then he sent those eleven men to go and do likewise. They would have to go through the same things that he went through, including dying to themselves, being misunderstood, persecuted, and rejected.

But the end result would be what we see in Revelation, chapters 21 and 22. The end result would be a city (people/nation) who would be filled with the life of God and would be his image in the earth. The city always represents authority or government in the scriptures. The New Jerusalem is a metaphor to show the fulfillment of God’s purpose.

Leading people to the Lord is a means to God’s end. He doesn’t just want living stones lying around the landscape. He wants a house, a city, a dwelling place where he can express himself, rule, and multiply his life.

As the Church, this is our commission. Only some are sent out, but we all live the life of Christ and express who he is as a city set on a hill.