Is Christ Enough? Headship

 

The Body of Christ

And He put all things in subjection under His 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.”  Ephesians 1:22-23

but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” Eph 4:15

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” Col. 1:17-19

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” Colossians 2:9-10

Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.” Colossians 2:18-19

The headship of Christ is not something you hear or read about very often.  Why?  I believe it’s because we really don’t understand what it means.  Obviously, why would you talk or write about something that you yourself don’t understand?

The Abuses

In my experience in the institutional church the only time I heard about the “headship” of Christ was when the preacher was referring to authority structures in the church.  Usually, they would be referring to some kind of hierarchical authority structure such as the clergy/laity system.  You would be instructed to submit to your pastor or elders as unto the Lord.  These people were the ones who would “run” the church.  Sometimes there would also be some kind of trans-local authority that you would need to submit to such as traveling “apostles” or “prophets”.  And then at very rare times you may hear about the headship of Christ referring to the authority of Christ over your life as a member of his body.  That was about it.

This post is an attempt to correct some of those ideas and add to our understanding of the fullness of Christ in reference to his headship.

The Meaning of “Head” in the New Testament

First of all, we need to understand the meaning of the word “head” in the Greek language.  This is no simple task and I am definitely no Greek scholar!  There is much controversy surrounding the original meaning of the Greek word: kephale (head).  Some say that it strictly means (authority, or person in command) and others say that it means “life source“.  I believe that it means BOTH!  And I think you will clearly see that as I bring out the context in a few of the passages I cited above.  There are a few important aspects of Christ and his Church that I would like to bring out of these passages.

Life Source

but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” Eph 4:15

Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.” Colossians 2:18-19

These passages clearly bring out the aspect that Christ, as the Head supplies the body with his Life.  First, we see in the Ephesian passage that we (the body) are to grow up into the head (Christ).  This obviously speaks of him as our Life Source.  We grow (by his life) into him.  Secondly, in the Colossian passage we see that the entire body is supplied and held together and grows with a growth (life) that comes from God.  Therefore, we can see that this word “head” clearly means life-source by the context of these passages (and others).

Authority

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” Col. 1:17-19

The idea of before, beginning, firstborn, and first permeates this passage.  The head comes before the body.  He is the head because he is first.  The other aspect is the idea of all things.  He is before all things; all things hold together in Him; He will come to have the first place in everything (all things).  He is the head because he is the “all things” of God!  He comes first because He is the Beginning!

He is definitely Large and in Charge!

Both Life Source and Authority

And He put all things in subjection under His 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. Eph. 1:22-23

Here we see both the authority of Christ AND the life flow (or source) of Christ.  Everything is under his feet (in subjection) which speaks of his absolute authority.  But that is to the church, his body, which is his fullness.  Christ filling all things with his fullness speak of the flow of his life source into the church.  He is definitely Lord of lords and King of kings.  Make no mistake about that.  But his authority can only be actuated by him being the Life Supply of the church.  Both work together!  We cannot have the King of kings unless we have the Vine!  We cannot have the Lord of lords unless we have the flow of Christ’s life throughout the Body.

The Most Beautiful Picture of Christ as Our Life Supply:

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing–life forever.” Psalms 133:1-3

Wow! God, the Father’s life flows down (via the Spirit) from the Head (Christ) to every member of the Body (the Church).  Is this a picture of Life Source or what?

Practically Speaking

Okay, so this is all great and wonderful.  Jesus Christ is the Head of his Body, the church.  This means that he is both the Life-Source of the Body as well as the Lord (King) of his kingdom.  Both of these truths are wrapped up in the fact that he is the Head of the church.  I think that most Christians would agree with these statements.  However, here comes the clincher:

How does his headship play out practically within the life of the Body?

One thing is for sure; he does not express his headship through top-to-bottom or chain-of-command style leadership.  There is no one human person who leads or directs his church.

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
(Matthew 20:25-28)

What Jesus was saying here is that his church would not function the way that those in the world system function.  That is, with chain-of-command top down authority.  His kingdom would function in a totally different way.  And that way is that they would become the lowest, the least, and the servants of all.  This message from our Lord came about because the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James and John) wanted to know if her sons could be given the right hand and left hand place next to the king.  He told that she had no idea what she was asking.  This was her only concept of authority.  It’s a chain-of-command top to bottom system.  But this is not how the kingdom of God would function at all!

All of the Members Seeking the Mind of the Head

Paul said that “we have the mind of Christ” (1Cor.2:16).  Notice that he didn’t say “I have the mind of Christ”.  Having the mind of Christ is a WE thing!  We all together as the Body have the mind of Christ.  Did you know that the human brain sends a message to the whole body when it makes a decision?  Actually, its more accurate to say that the whole body has a part to play whenever the brain activates something.

In organic churches, we take the Headship of Christ very seriously.  We hold it in very high esteem by the practice of the whole body seeking the Head for his direction and decisions.  This is a very long and arduous task, believe me!  In fact, you may be asking how is this even possible?  Well, it’s actually very simple to explain but not simple to do.  The brothers and sisters in the church get together for a specific purpose of making decisions and planning.  If the church is healthy then the members of the body will have already been seeking the mind of Christ about the matters to be discussed ahead of time and will come to the gathering with a sense in their spirits of what the Lord is saying.  They will already have spent time in fellowship and prayer with the Lord about the matters to be discussed.  Sometimes these practically meetings can last a long time and sometimes not.  But they do not move ahead until the body agrees on what the Lord wants.

Is this difficult?  You bet!  Is there a battlefield happening?  Absolutely.  Why?  Because there is a whole realm of creatures who are resisting and even battling against the Lord Jesus having his full headship in his church!

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” (Colossians 2:9-10)

We see the church seeking the mind of Christ together in Jerusalem concerning the decision to not place any additional burdens on the new believers who were Gentiles.  And the statement is made that:

Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas–Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren,”  (Acts 15:22)

And in another place:

For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:” (Acts 15:28)

So there you have it!  Those who have itinerant ministries, the more mature saints (elders), the whole church, and the Holy Spirit all agreeing together on the mind of Christ!  That’s how decisions were made under the headship of Jesus Christ.  His mind was discovered in the midst of believers who had humbled themselves to the Lord and submitted themselves to one another (Eph. 5:21) under his direct Lordship and Headship.  Those who sought out his indwelling, eternal, uncreated, divine Life so that he would fully be expressed on the earth again!

Is this difficult?  NO!!!  It’s actually IMPOSSIBLE!!!  Only by God’s grace and in his Spirit and Life can this happen.  Will there still be problems in the church?  Absolutely!  Just read the New Testament letters!  I have come to the conclusion that problems in the churches are normal.  As long as they are the right kind of problems.  Notice with me that in the N.T. the problems are all people problems.  One guy was committing incest.  Another had problems getting along.  Some were dividing up over their favorite workers.  Some were following erroneous teachings.  But none of these problems were institutional in nature!  They were never fighting over who the next “pastor” was going to be.  There were no controversies over how much money to spend on the new building project.

But the kinds of problems an organic church will have are totally different.  One of them is laziness and atrophy.  The church may (at times) stop seeking the Lord together to find his mind for the seasons, decisions, and plans of the life of the church.  When this happens the headship of Christ is being circumvented.  Usually, those issues that need to be address won’t magically disappear and they will rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune times!

But when you have a bunch of crazy people who are simple enough to actually believe that Jesus Christ can in reality be the spiritual and practical Head over his church then all hell will break loose!

You may be asking: How in the world can this happen in reality?  I mean how can a group of believers get together and really be able to discern the mind of Christ in oneness?  How can this happen without a human leader (or group of leaders) running the show?

My answer would be to take a look at nature.  God has wonderfully built into creation this principle of corporate oneness under the headship of Christ.  Did you know that many species of animals and insects migrate to completely different areas of the world?  They all gather at the same time and at the same location!  Some travel thousands of miles and even to a different hemisphere!  How is this possible?  It’s something called “instinct“.  It’s actually built into their DNA by God himself.  Guess what?  God has also built into the spiritual DNA of his Church the instinct to gather.  Not only to gather but to express his Son and live by his Life-Source.

It’s there in your spirit, the deepest part of you.

It’s so that you will know him intimately and deeply.

It’s so that you will live by his life.

It’s so that you will live together with his people and display his kingdom!

This is our calling saints.

There is no compromise on this matter at all.

 

For more information on the headship of Christ:

Building Up the Body: One Man or One Another?

The Clergy/Laity Distinction: A Help or Hindrance?

Kephale (Head) by Laurie Fasullo

The Gathering Swarms

 

 

 

 

Starting Organic Churches – New Ebook!

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Starting Organic Churches  (FREE Ebook!)

A Short and Simple Guide for the Newbie

By Milt Rodriguez

It’s now very documented that over 60 million American Christians have left the institutional/traditional churches over the last ten years! What is going on? Are these folks dropping out of everything? Have they fallen away from the faith? On the contrary, they are looking for MORE! That is, they are looking for much more than they received from the institutions. They are looking for more of the life of Jesus Christ in His people. They are looking for more freedom to live by and serve this Christ. They are looking for a Family, a group of believers who share their lives together. In other words, they are longing for the authentic expression of Christ in and through His Body, Bride, House, Kingdom, and Community!

Milt Rodriguez and his wife Mary have been starting and planting organic expressions of this community since 1990. They have learned much through trial and error, making a ton of mistakes, and yet never giving up. In this ebook, Milt will share with you how to start such groups of Christians. Written both as a spiritual and a practical guide, Milt will share with you his knowledge and experience. If you have longing to experience this kind of life and want to help start new groups that have a much better chance of making it towards that goal, then this is the book for you!

In this ebook you will learn the following:

    • Contacting some believers (and/or unbelievers) who may be interested
    • Opening up your home (or someone else’s) for some initial gatherings
    • Sharing your vision and purpose for starting such a community
    • Meeting together on a regular basis to get to know one another (in and out of meetings)
    • Gaining more of a revelation of Christ
    • Calling for an experienced church planter to help lay the foundation of Christ
    • Practical guidelines and steps to follow through which each of these!
    • Many resources to use and apply (and edit) for your own use!

Special bonuses!

      Future revisions and additions sent directly to your email!

Plus there is a very special offer that Milt is presenting at the very end of the book!

Help is on the way!  The book is NOW released.

Click Here to Download Your FREE Copy!

Christ in the Story

This blog post is actually a podcast!  The message is taken from the Infusion SoCal 2014 conference in which I spoke with Jon Zens and some other new co-workers in southern California.  What I attempted to do in this message is tell the story of the New Testament church.  However, I added some things.  Not to the story, but to my presentation of it.  One thing I did was to preach the gospel (which is Christ!) from Paul’s letter to the Colossians chapter one.  I did this throughout the telling of the story.  The other thing I did was to compare our popular messages preached and written today to that original message of the first century.

I hope that you will enjoy this message.  Please let me know your responses by commenting.  Thanks!

 

 

 

Laying a Foundation of Christ Alone

Since we have covered The Sending of God and how he calls, prepares, and sends out workers; and have discussed in a podcast “How God Makes a Worker”, I thought it only fitting to also end this series of posts with the idea of “planting” or laying a foundation for the church.

This, along with the sending, has almost been totally lost in our modern day thinking and application of how we start churches. Yet the foundation is everything! The beginning of a church will greatly determine the far reaching future of that church.

First, let’s look at the scriptural meaning of the word “planting”.

I realize that this term has been misused and misapplied by many organizations in the past. It’s usually used by missionaries or missionary agencies to denote the beginning of a “church” in the field. However, the apostle Paul never went on any “missionary journeys”. The idea of missions, missionaries, and missionary organizations and agencies are an invention of the institutional modern day church. The only thing we see in the story of the New Testament is the Work and the Church. The Work is those who are called, prepared, and sent out to preach Christ and plant churches. The Church is the universal term used by Christ in Matt. 16 to denote all believers in Christ. The churches (local) are the groups of believers that were planted by the workers in different localities. Christ referred to the churches (local) in Matt. 18. 

1.) “Planting” is a scriptural term and is even defined by Paul in 1 Cor. 3:6-17. Here, Paul uses two images or types of “planting”.  One is agricultural (planting and watering), and the other is architectural (foundation and building).  In the context of this passage it is quite clear that he is using both images to say the same thing.  In other words, planting is the same as laying a foundation.  Watering is the same as building upon the foundation.  But it’s very clear that the foundation (in both natural life and in the church) comes first!  You can’t have a very good building without a foundation.  Also, you will not have a very healthy tree if you don’t first plant it into the ground!

Also, it’s very important that in this passage Paul tells us what (or who) the foundation actually is: Jesus Christ! This is not referring to doctrines, teaching, theological systems and so forth. The foundation is actually the Person of Jesus Christ, that is, his very life! There can be no other foundation if we are going to have a church according to the mind of God. Also, as a quick sidenote, Paul stated clearly elsewhere that not only was the foundation he laid Christ, but the gospel he announced was also Christ (He Himself).

… to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.“ (Col 1:27-28) 

Now, I’m sure that you agree with what I have said so far.  However, notice with me that both the planting and the watering were associated with certain individuals.  “I (Paul) planted and Apollos watered.”  Notice that individuals plant and water the church, not the church itself!  Of course, these individuals are specifically called, prepared and sent by God to perform this task.  This pattern holds true throughout the whole New Testament beginning with Jesus Christ Himself. 

2.)  We know that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  It’s very important that our minds are renewed to function with His thoughts and His ways.  If not, then we will make the same mistakes that Christianity has made in the past that have resulted in the man-made institutions. 

God sends people to plant and water the church.  There is no record of a church planting or watering itself.  Even the new groups in Judea and Samaria (as a result of Saul’s persecution) were visited by apostolic workers for the purpose of laying a foundation of Christ alone (see Acts 8:14 and Acts 8-10). Now, of course, if there has been someone who has planted (laid a foundation) of Christ in that group then we definitely have no business coming to plant since Paul said that he never built upon another man’s foundation (Rom. 15:20).  If the group has already been planted then I would ask the question: who was the person who planted it? 

3.) Starting a group is not the same thing as planting a church.  Not even close!  People start Christian groups all over the place all the time.  But do these groups have the true foundation of Jesus Christ (and only Christ)?  According to the New Testament this can only happen if someone has been called, prepared, and sent to do that work.  Unfortunately, this is very rare and that is (in a large part) why we are in the mess that we are in.

* However, we see in the New Testament story that there were some that were used to help “pre-plant” a church, that is, these folks would open their home, invited people to meet with them, and then call for the help of an experienced apostolic worker to actually plant the church. An example of this is the couple Priscilla and Aquila. 

(Please understand that we do not use any of these words carelessly or lightly.  They have been tested and proven in the scriptures and throughout history.) 

So, what I have written above, in conjunction with those blog posts that I referenced, should give enough explanation.  But if it doesn’t, then I also recommend the following books that cover this topic much more in depth: 

The Church and the Work by Watchman Nee

The Stewardship of the Mystery by T. Austin-Sparks

Finding Organic Church by Frank Viola

 

How Does God Make a Worker?

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ANNOUNCEMENT!!!  OUR FIRST PODCAST EVER ON THIS BLOG!

A short time ago, ten crazy saints got together to hold a conversation on the topic of “How Does God Make a Worker?“.

For those of you who may not know, my wife Mary and I have been learning to plant organic churches for the last 25 years or so.  In the beginning we had absolutely no experience and had no idea what we were doing.  But we had a vision of His purpose and a strong desire to help see that purpose be fulfilled.  So, for several years we basically experimented on God’s people!  We learned what worked and what didn’t work.  We also learned that we desperately needed some experience in genuine body life ourselves!  After all, how could we impart an experience to a group of believers that we had never experienced (in an intentional way) ourselves?

Well, very fast forward several years and we finally received that experience and training and then were sent out to plant New Testament style organic churches ourselves.  It was still very difficult but we learned much along the way.  Now, we are having the glorious privilege and honor of training others to do the same!  These are all folks who have been in one of the churches we have planted for at least three years and been fully recommended and sent to us for training by their respective churches.

The recording you are about to hear is a session with those eight new workers.  I hope that it will give you a better insight into how God calls, prepares, and sends workers into his harvest.  Enjoy!

Note: By posting this we are by no means claiming to be experts in this field!  I don’t believe anyone is.  We are all still learning and with every church plant we learn new things.  After all, our Christ is so big and so vast that we will never stop learning to experience him and know him!

The Sending – Part 4

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The Sending – Part 4

Since there is so much to say about this topic I have decided to add another part!

In the previous three posts I have shown how God calls, prepares, and sends people out for the work of building his Church. This has been shown through the history and examples we have in the New Testament scriptures. In this post I would like to draw from history to show that this “pattern” of his life has continued with groups of believers who have stood outside the religious system of “Christianity”.

Many believers have no idea that what some are calling “simple church” “house church” “organic church” has actually been happening throughout the centuries. In fact, God has always preserved a testimony to his true church. Of course, just because we call a group of Christians an organic church doesn’t mean it IS one! This needs to be made really clear because these labels are being thrown around all over the place and it’s causing lots of confusion among those seeking true organic body life. In this series of posts I am drawing from three sources:

  • The testimony of the written scriptures (mainly the New Testament)

  • The testimony of saints who have lived this way throughout the centuries

  • The testimony of saints who are currently living this way

In this post I will take short excerpts from various writings describing groups of believers throughout the centuries who have experienced the organic expression of the church in some way.

The Waldensians

Also referred to as Waldenses.

Around A.D. 59 the apostle Paul visited Italy (Syracuse, Sicily, Naples, and Rome). About five years later (64AD) when Nero began his persecution in Rome, some of the believers fled to the Italian alps. Mostly to the areas near Lyons and Turin in the western alps between Italy and France. They settled in the Alpine valleys of Piedmont, one of the most inaccessible areas around. It was very steep, lots of snow, and 12-15,000 foot peaks.

In the quiet seclusion of the mountains they had remained unaffected by the development of the man-made church systems including the Roman church. It was said of them that their whole manner of thought and life was an endeavor to hold fast to the character of original Christianity.

Their churches would send out believers in teams of two to preach Christ and establish churches. These had been called, prepared, and sent to do the Lord’s work. They were called “barbas” which means uncles in contrast to the papacy and the idea of calling other believers “father”. These “sent ones” would receive food and lodging where they went to plant new expressions of Christ (churches) according to the pattern they saw in the New Testament. The barbas chose poverty but it was considered a principal duty of each church to provide for its poor.

These Waldensians (a name used only by their enemies) called one another “brethren”.

These saints were persecuted by the Roman church for over 800 years!

Their history is one of non-stop arrests, torture, imprisonment, beatings, hangings, and burnings!

Brothers and sisters, we stand on their shoulders!

The Anabaptists

In 1522, in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, a young man named Conrad Grebel gave his life to Jesus Christ. His life radically changed and he became an avid supporter of the new reformation and the teachings and reforms of Ulrich Zwingli. Conrad quickly rose to leadership among Zwingli’s followers. However, over time it became apparent that Zwingli and Grebel had different approaches to church reform. Zwingli wanted reform but was unwilling to completely break with the control of the government to achieve them. Grebel didn’t care about what the government wanted, but only cared about God getting what He wanted.

Soon Conrad Grebel, along with his friends Felix Manz and George Blaurock, broke all ties with Zwingli and the state supported reformation in Switzerland. The city of Zurich outlawed all Christian meetings except those of Zwingli. Grebel and his young radical friends soon became the enemies of Zwingli and the state.

The new group of “radicals” grew like wild fire! After a time, Grebel left the work in Zurich to others and traveled with co-workers to surrounding cities to preach Christ and establish new communities of believers under the spiritual principles of the New Testament. They were persecuted by both the Roman church and the Reformers! Grebel, along with thousands of others, lost their lives while still in their early twenties.

These young radicals believed in a total return to the experience and practice of the New Testament church. They believed in the scriptures but did not worship them like their protestant counterparts. The Word of God for the Anabaptists was a Man! And this Man speaks through the writings of the scriptures. They were not a people of the book, but a people of the Man! They also believed in knowing Christ by an inward fellowship and abiding with Him. They also strongly believed in the centrality of Christ and had a strong sense and practice of community life.

Sisters and brothers, we stand on their shoulders!

The Little Flock in China

In the early 1900s God moved sovereignly throughout China.

He apprehended a young man by the name of Nee Shu-tsu (Watchman Nee). Watchman grew quickly in the Lord and began sharing Christ with many in his city and other surrounding villages. Soon, there were new groups of believers raised up by Nee and his young co-workers. This work spread throughout all of the coastal cities then eventually went inward when the Japanese began attacking the coastal cities. Some called them the “Little Flock” though they never adopted any name. They were heavily influenced by the Brethren in England during the 1880s with such men as John Nelson Darby, Robert Govett, D.M. Panton, G.H. Pember, and many others. Also, T. Austin-Sparks in England was a contemporary and considered a mentor by Nee.

They believed strongly in the organic expression of the church in Body life, functioning of all the members, the centrality of Christ, knowing Christ deeply and inwardly, and apostolic work in the sending out of workers to equip and establish churches. They also believed strongly in learning from the legacy of those who had gone before them throughout history.

In the 1960s several workers left China and came to the United States. These co-workers of Nee planted churches throughout the States and eventually throughout the world.

Saints, we stand on their shoulders!

Note: there have been many other groups throughout history that attempted to hold true to the apostolic pattern as seen in the New Testament scriptures. These resources will help you find out more if you are interested:

  • The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent
  • The Torch of the Testimony by John Kennedy
  • The Secret of the Strength by Peter Hoover
  • The Reformers and Their Stepchildren by Leonard Verduin

 

Stay Tuned! Next week we will present our first podcast ever on this blog!

It will include ten workers having a conversation on the topic of “How Does God Make a Worker?”

The Sending – Part 3

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Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Welcome to part three!

In this final contribution to this extremely important and yet ignored and misunderstood topic, I hope to share some final thoughts on the more practical end of being called, prepared, and sent by the Lord Jesus Christ for His work.

The Goal and Purpose of the Sending

First of all, let me explain what I see as the goal of all sending. The goal is for the Lord’s work. But what IS the Lord’s work? Here again, this is an extremely misunderstood topic. This gross misunderstanding comes from a foundational lack of vision and revelation of God’s eternal purpose. It only stands to reason that if you do not understand the purpose of something, then you will end up abusing it. I have written quite extensively on this vast topic here. In a nutshell, God’s purpose is to have an expression of the fullness of His Son. To have an image or living expression of this gloriously full and rich Christ. This image or expression is referred to in the N.T. with many different pictures such as the Body, the Bride, the House, the City, the Vine, the New Humanity, the Community of God (or household), and many more. In other words the Church! Of course, when I use that word it is definitely not in the sense of any man-made or conceived of organization or institutional system.

In the mind of God, all roads lead to His Church!

This is the central thought of all of the scriptures. Christ and the Church.

You can easily see this if you (without religious bias) read the first two chapters of the bible (Gen. 1 & 2) and the last two chapters of the bible (Rev. 21 & 22). In Genesis you see the original purpose and intention of God for creating mankind (see Gen.1:26-28). In Revelation you see the fulfillment of that eternal purpose as typified in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21 & 22).

So, considering this (and much more) we are definitely not stretching things at all when we make this statement: God’s work is to build His Church!

There is no other work of God. All “works” of God will lead to (in some way) the building and edification of His Church.

If you read the narrative story of the New Testament carefully (with spiritual eyes) you will see that this is true. God’s goal is that the all things would be summed up or headed up in Christ and this takes place in and through the Church (Eph 1: 9,10,22,23).

I know that some of you may be saying, well Milt, what about evangelism, and missions, and healing, and miracles, and helping the poor? Well, I would say that these are all good works but that they are to take place in and through the authentic expression of the Life of Christ on earth. In other words, the Church! Read the book of Acts people! It is the story of the early Church moving in and through the Spirit. It is the flow of the life of Christ out through His Body to the people caught up in the world system.

It is not the story of independent people doing independent things in an individualistic way!

It is the story of the corporate Christ (the Body) living and moving by His glorious life!

Wow! What a difference from most of what we have seen!

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1Co 3:6-11)

Here, we see that Paul very nicely breaks things down for us concerning the Lord’s work. There are those who plant and there are those who water. First of all, what are they planting and watering? The Church! That’s very obvious from the context. So, in general, we now can see that there are two aspects of the Lord’s work; planting and watering.

Planting and Watering

Paul tells us that he planted and Apollos watered. By looking at the ministries of these two brothers we can understand what that means.

  • Paul, a planter, a wise master builder: Paul and his companions basically did two things. They preached Christ and planted churches. Of course, it was a different situation they had then from what we have here in the United States and the western world. But in some ways it is very similar. Paul was sent (in the beginning) to the Jews. Or, we could say, the religious folks. This caused problems because these people had a mindset and filters filled with religious baggage that hindered them from beholding the living Christ (see 2 Cor. 3). So, in that sense, he had a similar situation that we face in modern America. However, later he did go almost exclusively to the Gentiles and that was more like a situation we have in some of the present third world nations that are “heathen”. However, the goal was always to bring about the Church of the living God in different localities. Evangelism, healing, miracles, etc. had a purpose… that purpose was always to bring about the Body of Christ!
  • Apollos, a waterer, a teacher: This brother had a real gifting in the area of teaching the Body of Christ (see Acts 18:22). Paul would send him places where he had planted churches so that he could encourage the saints through teaching the scriptures (see 1 Cor 16:12). Sometimes, this “watering” is simply for others to come and encourage the saints in a new or struggling church. We have seen this many times in our own experience. It is very powerful and very much needed! Some believers from one church can go and encourage (water) those in another church.

So we can see clearly that there are two general areas of the work; planting and watering. Notice with me that these “pictures” all have to do with Life!

Now, we will see that there are three areas (or stages) of the Lord’s preparation for a worker.

  • The wilderness

  • The community life

  • The training

We can clearly see all three of these in the life of Jesus and in the life of Paul of Tarsus.

Of course, in the life of Jesus as the eternal Son of God he had already experienced “community life” and “training” before eternity. He received this experience by living in the community life of the Godhead. However, he still needed to have the “wilderness experience”. As a man he had never experienced an emptying of himself and a lowering of himself. He had never experienced the dryness of the desert before. He had also never experienced community life with humans before. Of course, he had much rich experience living community inside of the Triune God, but now he needed to share and live that same life, that divine life, with other humans! This, he lived out for over three years with the twelve and others. And then, as he had been trained by the Father, so he trained these others to go out into the world and do his work.

Paul also went through a similar experience. First, he had his “desert” experience when he departed to Arabia (Gal. 1:15-18). Apparently, he received his revelation of the gospel in Arabia and Damascus. Then, he received his community life experience in Damascus and in Antioch. Scholars don’t totally agree as to the length of time Paul spent as a brother in the churches but they mostly agree that it was around 11-14 years. The main point here is that he was not a new believer or a novice in the things of the Lord when he was sent out! The same is true of Barnabas, Silas, and all of the others. It appears that Paul was mostly trained by the twelve in Jerusalem (Gal. 1:17) and by Barnabas in Antioch (Acts 13:1). Barnabas had many years experience in the Jerusalem church and then some in Antioch.

The life of the local church being a “training ground” for workers before they are sent out is an almost completely forgotten and abandoned practice. Of course, the work itself (as we are describing it here) is also almost a completely abandoned practice! It is usually deemed that if someone feels called to “the work” of the Lord they must go into another institutional situation called a bible college. Of course, there may be some value to that, but in reality there is absolutely no substitution for the authentic community life of the organic Body of Christ! How can you impart an experience that you yourself have never had? Believe me, I am speaking from years of experience when I say that it simply doesn’t work.

Training

Then, we see both Jesus and Paul training new workers. Of course, Jesus trained the twelve for over three years. But notice how he trained them. He sat down with them and taught them how to study the bible! Right? NOT!!!

He simply lived by the life of his Father right in front of them!

They got to see how divine life is lived out in and through a human vessel. They got to see how divine life responds to all kinds of situations in the human experience such as: popularity, notoriety, misunderstanding, rejection, opposition, persecution, scorn, ridicule, and ultimately crucifixion. They got to see Him plant the first Church in and among themselves!

Paul also trained new workers. This happened while he was planting the church in Ephesus. He brought several brothers to Ephesus who were in the churches that he had already planted.

  • Titus from Antioch

  • Timothy from Lystra

  • Gaius from Derbe

  • Sopater from Berea

  • Aristarchus from Thessalonica

  • Secundus from Thessalonica

  • Two others added later from Ephesus: Tychicus and Trophimus

Of course, he had taken Timothy with him on his travels after his third visit to Galatia. It is also believed by many scholars that these men went on to plant churches throughout Asia Minor. Some of these churches are listed in the book of Revelation chapters 1-3 and Colossians.

The Sending

As we have already seen, the actual sending out of workers into his harvest is not solely an individual matter. It is something that is done by the Holy Spirit AND the Church! When these believers were sent out it was because they were not loner, independent individualists! They were loved, supported, and prayed for by the saints in the churches.

Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.” (Act 13:1-4)

Some Resources on This Topic:

Finding Organic Church by Frank Viola

The Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola

The Church and the Work by Watchman Nee

The Glorious Church by Watchman Nee

The Acts of the Apostles by F.F. Bruce

Theology for the Community of God by Stanley Grenz

The Stewardship of the Mystery by T. Austin-Sparks

The Community Life of God by Milt Rodriguez

The Sending – Part 2

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The Sending – Part 2

This is the second part of a three part series of posts. If you have not already read the first part, you may do so by clicking here.

In the Name (cont’d)

Jesus not only had the audacity to claim that he was sent by the Father, he also claimed to have come in the name of the Father. This is so much more intense! But we must realize that the sending, if it is a spiritual reality, will always be “in the name”. So, in order to understand sending, we must also understand “in the name”.

  • In the name” is NOT some kind of mantra that we are tack onto the end of a prayer.

  • In the name” is NOT a magic formula that we use to get special attention from God so we can be assured that our prayers are answered.

  • In the name” is NOT some kind of religious slogan that we can use to find favor with God.

In the Name is something extremely powerful for God to fulfill His eternal purpose!

In the first century when someone claimed to be coming “in the name” of someone else it had some depth to it. But when the Son came claiming to have been sent by the Father in HIS name it meant so much more. Here is a quick and simple formula to remember what it means:

The Name = The Person

That is quite literal. The name is the same as the person. Coming in the name of someone is the same thing as the sender actually coming himself. The “sendee” or the one sent is the SAME as the one sending. THEY ARE ONE! The one sent carries the same authority, character, and life as the one sending him. But this only applies inasmuch as the Sendee and the Sender share the same mind and life. Note: I realize that there is no such word as “sendee” but this made-up word here seems to apply very nicely! 🙂

Notice with me that there are many things that happen “in the name” besides being sent in the name.

* You can receive a prophet in the name of a prophet (or righteous man).

“He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” (Mat 10:41)

* You can baptize in the name.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Mat 28:19)

* You can believe into the name.

“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Joh 3:18)

* You can speak or teach in the name.

And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” (Act 4:18)

* You can pray in the name.

“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

(Joh 14:13)

It’s very obvious from these verses that “in the name” is something much more than a phrase we tack onto the end of a prayer! In the name means in the Person, in Christ, in the Spirit. So much so that if you pray in the name it is actually Christ Himself who is originating, initiating, and executing that prayer.

So, this means that when someone is sent by God he is actually coming as totally representing and expressing God. It’s really the same as God coming Himself! The Son was sent in the name of the Father. And we know that everything the Son said and everything the Son did came from the Father Himself. (see John 5:19,20; John 6:57; John 14:10; John 15:5)

In the name means by and in and one with another life that is dwelling within you!

The Sending is Corporate

One thing that we must realize here is that Jesus Christ was not only sent by the Father but he was also sent by the Holy Spirit.

“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED”

(Luk 4:18)

It’s important for us to see that the Lord Jesus was sent out by a community, that is, the community of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Spirit). He was not only sent out by that community but he was also sent out with that community! The Father and the Spirit were always with him and always guiding and empowering him. He told Phillip that if he had seen him then he had seen the Father (John 14:8-10). The divine community (the Three-in-One) really are one! And They (as a community) sent the Son to the earth to fulfill God’s eternal purpose.

Sending – Level Two

“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

(Mat 10:40)

Now we can see the second tier or level of sending. Not only was Jesus Christ sent by the Godhead but he also sent others. He sent the twelve.

And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.” (Luk 9:2)

He also sent out seventy others.

Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luk 10:1-2)

You may be thinking that the sending is the end product. No so! Actually, in some sense, it is but the beginning. However, there is much that is before the beginning!

The Calling and the Preparation

Before the sending there is the calling and the preparation. You could say that it’s a three step process. This is first seen in the life of our Lord, since He is the “Prototype” for all who would come after him. First, God calls.

The Calling

When was Jesus Christ called by God? The answer is simple: before time and creation! He was called in eternity past from within the Triune God. After (which is a word that doesn’t really apply when you are speaking from within the eternals!) the Godhead conceived His eternal plan and purpose then He called the eternal Son to fulfill that purpose by being incarnated as human flesh (Eph. 3:11,12). This calling is obviously very important for without it there will be no preparation and no sending forth.

People have asked me, “how do I know that I am called?”. Actually, there are two aspects of this “calling” that we are talking about. In the basic sense, all believers are called.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mat 22:14)

… to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 1:7)

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; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (Rom 8:28-30)

but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1Co 1:24)

There are many other references to our calling as believers. If you are in Christ then you are both called and chosen by him! This is the general aspect of the calling that applies to all true believers in Christ. But there is also a more specific calling that has to do with the work of God. We will look into that in the third part of this series. If you are called to his work then it will not leave you no matter what. One of the ways to know you are called to the work is that it will not go away. You may try to make it go away, but it will not leave you for the duration of your life.

That applies to both the general and the specific calling.

The Preparation

The problem here is that many people (and organizations) try to skip this all important step. I don’t know how many times I have heard churches, missionary boards, etc. tell young people that since they feel called to the Lord’s work they need to get out there right now! The need is great! The world is going to hell in a hand basket! You need to get out there! The problem is these people probably don’t even know the Lord very well and almost definitely don’t have any experience in authentic biblical community life. So why are we sending them? To see our conversions lists go up? To get more money for our annual budgets? Of course, none of this has even entered the mind of God as seen throughout the scriptures!

Actually, God takes his time (years!) preparing individuals for his work. What about Moses? Forty years on the backside of the desert. What about David? Being chased and persecuted for years by an maniac king. What about Paul? About 10-14 years of true body life in the Lord’s house before he was sent out by the church in Antioch with Barnabas.

What about Jesus Christ? How about an eternity living inside of the Godhead learning to lay down his life and receive his only life from the Father in the Spirit!

Why is preparation so important? It’s because during that time God is working on the individual’s character to make them safe for God’s people! A person may have many gifts but it is their character that will make or break them in the Lord’s work. And that character of Christ is only worked into an individual as they learn to know him intimately, turning from the soul-life and the self to behold the living Christ inside of them! This takes some years. This takes the work and way of the cross in the life of the believer.

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.”

(2Co 3:18)

According to the contextual story of the New Testament, the environment to receive this training and preparation is the local body of believers. There is no exception to this! All of those who were sent out were first prepared by living in an authentic community of saints first.

Stay tuned for the next part of The Sending to be released soon!

He Himself – Being and Seeing

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Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

Here, in the Lord’s prayer to the Father, Jesus reveals the very heart of God for his Church.  This is definitely the key to the Son’s glory, which was given to Him by the Father. First of all, we need to understand:

This glory is the goal of his prayer.

So, I think that we would do well to discover the essence of this “glory”.

What is the Glory of the Father and the Son?

If we look closely at this chapter of this gospel of John we will see some major points that are made throughout the prayer:

– mutual glorification (verse 1)
– authority (verse 2)
– eternal life (verse 2)
– knowing the Father and the Son (this is eternal life) (verse 3)
– accomplishing God’s work brings him glory (verse 4)
– glory is something that happens with the Father and the Son before creation (verse 5)
– God’s communication comes from the Father, through the Son to us (verse 8)
– everything is mutual within the Godhead (Trinity) (verse 10)
– the glory happens when there is oneness, which happens in the Name (verses 11-12)
– protection from the world and sending dependent upon oneness (verses 16-21)
– the glory has already been given to us for the oneness (verse 22)
– the oneness, which is based upon the love between the Father and Son, will be seen in the world (verse 23)

Now, we can combine these thoughts and get a birds-eye view of what God wants. There is a lot here, of course, but I am going to juice it down into one simple paragraph. (Tip – to see this more clearly, I suggest that you read John chapters 14-17 all the way through without stopping. This will give you a much clearer picture of God’s eternal purpose in Christ.)

The glory of God is the mutual fellowship (community life) that all three of the members of the Godhead share. This involves their mutual love, communication, attention, knowing one another, union, passion, dependency, giving and receiving, and much much more. All things within this community are mutual. They share all things, all content, all life, all love, all goals and vision, and all of the uniqueness that each one has. They share all things in common, you could say. Being three distinct Persons, they are completely one. This oneness of their life together is their glory. It is the source of their power, strength, and authority. Their goal is to share and express this glory with us! Yes, us, mere mortals! And the goal would include the expression (manifestation) of this incredible life to all realms; visible and invisible.

Wow!!!  What a goal!  What a purpose!  What a vision and dream!  Paul puts it this way:

“Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:25-27)

Do you see from this passage that the “mystery” is Christ in you, the hope of glory?

Do you also see from this passage the fact that Christ now lives in you (plural)?

This fact (reality) is the key to God getting what He wants.  He cannot have the expression of His Son without this LIFE of the community of God being in us and being lived out in us and from us.

Being and Seeing

So now we come to the critical part of this prayer of Jesus to the Father.  It’s the “how to” of him getting his glory revealed:

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

Being with Christ is the key to it all!  Without the being there will be no seeing of the glory!  Yes, that means being with and seeing He, Himself!  And yet, all this time we have thought it was all about our prayer life and our bible study and our witness, and our church attendance, and our devotion to God!

Wow! How could we have missed the main point?  Maybe because it is so simple and so basic that it actually insults our intelligence!  We have to somehow figure it all out and then we will have something to boast about.  But God has made it so simple.  He just wants us to BE with Him!

It may be simple but it’s certainly not easy in this hyper actively complex world we live in.  It’s not easy to simply get together with God and just BE with him.  There are many obstacles and distractions that get in the way.  It’s not easy to simply “be still and know that He is God” in a noisy and intrusive world system.  But notice with me that your Lord deliberately hides himself away to be with the Father.  He was very intentional about it.  He knew that He could do nothing apart from the Father (John 5:19) and therefore He needed to be with Him.  Do we realize this as well?

Where Do We Fellowship?

Isn’t it odd that Jesus prayed to the Father that his disciples would be with Me where I am?  Wasn’t he right there standing (and praying) in front of them?  Why would he pray that they would be where he is (present tense)?  Have you ever wondered this?

I believe it’s because even though Jesus was with them in the flesh and in the natural world, he was also in another place simultaneously.  That place was inside of the Father!  I mean that quite literally, spiritually, but literally.  He was both in the natural world AND in the heavenly places at the same time!  How is this possible?  It’s possible because Jesus (just like you and I) is made up of a spirit, a soul, and a body (1 Thess. 5:23).  With his body and soul he functions on the earth, but with his spirit he functions in the heavenlies.  In fact, he is The Door (ladder) between heaven and earth! See Genesis 28:12-17 and John 1:50,51 for further insight.

Paul tells us that we believers are now seated with Christ in the heavenly places:

“… even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  (Eph 2:5-7)

Sisters and brothers, do you see that this declaration is in the present tense?  We are right now, currently, at this time, seated with Him in the heavenly places!  This means that we (the Church) are also now in two places at the same time.  Even though we are on the earth, he wants to be with us right now in the heavenly realms.  He wants us to be with him and see him in that place that is not bound by space, time, measurement or anything else.  You can turn to He, Himself who lives inside your spirit right now and see his glory.

May we all take this as our glorious occupation!

“… but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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.”  (2Co 3:16-18)

 

He Himself

The Body of ChristHe is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.  (Col 1:18)

Introduction

In my opinion, this is one of the most awesome verses in all of scripture.  It is contained within one of the most glorious passages within all of scripture in the letter to the Colossians chapter one.  Here, Paul is writing to a church that he did not plant and to people he had never met.  They had been seduced by the world system and the culture around them.  This involved the Jewish laws, the philosophies of those around them, and erroneous teachings on angels and visions.  Really?  Can you believe anyone falling for this stuff?  And yet… doesn’t it sound vaguely familiar? The Colossians had simply taken Jesus Christ and sliced and diced him into a million pieces.  Then, they just picked the pieces they liked and rejected the rest.

So Paul gives them one of the most (if not THE most) glorious descriptions of Jesus Christ in all of scripture – Colossians chapter one.  Time does not permit me to go into all of the jewels found in this chapter.  But I would like to focus on just a few of them for the next several blog posts.

The Person of Jesus Christ – He Himself

Verse eighteen has a very interesting word structure in it.  It uses the phrase – He Himself.  I like Young’s Literal Translation for this verse:

And himself is the head of the body–the assembly–who is a beginning, a first-born out of the dead, that he might become in all things –himself–first,  (Col 1:18)

Using the word ‘himself’ Paul is emphasizing the personhood of Christ.  This is not just a “he”, this is a “He Himself”!  It’s almost like a double positive. Paul wants to make sure that the Colossians understand that he is not talking about things, writings, teachings, principles, doctrines, philosophies, or even religious practices and behavior.

He is talking about an actual living, breathing Person!!!

That is the “He” that is being expressed and declared in this letter.  This is not just any “He”, it is THE HE!  The one and only.  And this HE is a real and living Person.  In fact, he is the authentic, original, true, and real Person.  All other humans were originally fashioned after this Human.

What Does this Person Include?

You have no idea!  He is so much more than you can ever imagine.

  • He Himself is the reality of the authentic and true Canaan Land (Col.1:12) The word “inheritance” here is a direct reference to the allotted portion given to each tribe in the Canaan land.
  • He Himself is the reality and fulfillment of Light (Col. 1:12)
  • He Himself is the real Beloved referred to in Song of Solomon and He Himself is the true King! (Col. 1:13)
  • He Himself is true Redemption and Forgiveness (Col.1:14)
  • He Himself is the reality of the full expression of the Father (Col. 1:15a)
  • He Himself is the firstborn, the model, the pattern for all of creation (Col. 1:15b)
  • For all creation is by He Himself, for He Himself, and through He Himself! (Col. 1:16)
  • He Himself is before all things (Col. 1:17a)
  • He Himself is the glue that holds all thing together (Col. 1:17b)
  • He Himself is the head of the body, the church (Col. 1:18a)
  • He Himself is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18b)
  • So that He Himself will come to have the first place in all things (Col. 1:18c)
  • All of the fullness was pleased to tabernacle (dwell) in He Himself (Col. 1:19)

He Himself is the ALL of God and the ALL of God’s purpose and plan!

There is no other person that God is interested in or concerned about.  Yes, He loves the whole world but only in and through this One Person!

His purpose in creation was so that this One Person would be expressed.  His purpose in redemption was that this One Person would have a counterpart and that she would fully express He Himself.  His purpose in sanctification and transformation is that this One Person would increase and come to fill all things with Himself.  God’s purpose in healing is to express that One Person who himself is Health!  His purpose in deliverance is to express that One Person who himself has all authority over the devil.  His purpose in salvation is to enlarge and expand that One Person who IS Salvation!

And there is so much more to this all-inclusive Christ.  I will just touch upon a few of these things that He Himself is in future posts.

So keep a look out in the weeks to come!

Note – the drawing above was done by Megan Cronje in Perth Australia.  If you click on the image it will enlarge and you can see the members of this all inclusive Christ more clearly.