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God’s master plan of the church

(This article is developed through Pool Writing Program by Renew In Knowledge.)

The Scripture says that through the church God’s wisdom is made known to the rulers and powers in the unseen places. Many times personal or other priorities get in the way of believers resulting in not giving preference to how God wants them to act in this world. Perhaps it might not be surprising if many are unaware of how crucial it is for a believer to align with God’s plan of the church for ministering. 

One of the greatest challenges of the 21st-century church, at least in America, is fully embracing the truths of 1 Corinthians 12. I often get this part of God’s plan for the church wrong. Not because I don’t intellectually understand 1 Corinthians 12 (and other passages on the same topic) but because I allow my selfish ambitions to get in the way. And sometimes that selfishness is subtly masked so that I fail to see it in myself. I fail to fully embrace that “there are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:5-6). In pride, I look down on another member of the body because he doesn’t have the gift or ministry that I have. Or in envy, I despise the attention another believer gets because of her gift—a spiritual gift she may be thriving in because she has her focus on the Lord instead on how she comes across to others. Or whatever the thought it might be. I end up spending mental capacity worrying about what I do and don’t like in others, or in what I wish I had or didn’t have in myself. Guess where my focus is? Not on God for sure.

Another struggle in this area is seeing my life only from my perspective, as though my perspective and experience were all correct and that all others’ are in conflict with it. It’s an arrogant, self-righteous perspective that can be hidden under the guise of a number of “spiritual-feeling” motivations. Humans naturally center their lives around themselves and aren’t others-focused. But thankfully Christ gives us the perfect example of humility (see Philippians 2:1-11).

The greatest thing about a church is not only that God made the plan but He is the builder of the church. God owns the church. Sadly, too many people are dismissive of this and they act like they own the church.  

No one believer is better than another or more needed than another, despite their varying levels of maturity and varying relationships with the Lord. “And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary” (1 Corinthians 12:21-22).

Imagine how much better my relationship with God would be and how much more effective the exercising of my own gifts would be if I instead embraced the ministry He has given me and quit worrying about everyone else’s. Or even better—a focus solely on God, not specifically focused on my gift, but simply and fully focused on Him.

The greatest thing about a church is not only that God made the plan but He is the builder of the church. God owns the church. Sadly, too many people are dismissive of this and they act like they own the church.  

Mastery_Building_RIK

I might be the biggest contributor. I might be the most gifted person. I might be the wealthiest person. I might be the founder.  If all these were in a corporate institution one would get special status. However, in church, all the well-intentioned investments would never elevate anyone to ownership privilege. Nevertheless, the Bible makes it clear that all the work done for Christ will be rightfully rewarded. But all this is to say that none should try to steal away the ownership of the church from the Lord. 

Regardless of the assets or impressions of a church God is the one who builds it. As per the Scriptures, nothing in the world can overpower God or His church. But why do we see many churches falling apart? Why do many churches bring shame to the name of God?  If any church fails, there is no reason for it other than not recognizing and submitting to the headship of Christ. 

Paul’s declaration that the wisdom of God is made known to the angelic host by means of the church is astounding (Ephesians 3:9-10).   It makes me pause and wonder what the angels see.  Most notable, of course, is the Lord’s infinite grace in redeeming us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.  But beyond that, I trust the angels see in the church a body composed of individuals of varied backgrounds and cultures who are nevertheless united as a family in the tightest of bonds.  I trust they see each member serving in his or her own distinct way but with a common goal and a common love.  I trust they see a willingness to humble oneself in order to encourage another, to forbear rather than to criticize, and to strengthen.  None of these things can be done in isolation. It is as we serve together in the church that God’s great example of His wisdom is vividly displayed, not only in the angelic sphere but to the world as well. 

Paul states in the book of Ephesians 2:10 that we are his masterpiece created in Christ Jesus for Christ Jesus, which God had prepared beforehand, in order that we should walk in them. The church is more than just a group of people, the church is more than a group of redeemed saints, the church is truly the poima (masterpiece). The church is the crowning achievement of God which He uses to demonstrate throughout eternity of His “surpassing riches of His grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.

Even though the church was a mystery in the Old Testament, God in eternity past had elected, predestined, and adopted the church through Christ (Eph 1:4-6). Though unknown to the world and misunderstood by most, the church was central to God’s plan of creation. History revolves around the unique relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. 

The lockdown caused by COVID-19 is slowly going to be lifted. In the coming weeks, churches will begin to start their regular gatherings in phases. Keep in mind that life is going to be different for many church members. Plans and life courses for the masses are already being disrupted. Many are in pain as well as struggling financially. Marriages might be in trouble and families might be in stress.  It is very important to keep in mind the following things when you start back to normal church gatherings.

  • Acknowledge Christ as the owner and builder of the church
  • Do my words have a healing touch or the intent to hurt?
  • What might be possible ways I could be of help to someone in the church body?
  • Are my spiritual gifts being used to edify the body of Christ?
  • Finally, Am I glorifying God through my actions?

 

— Pool Writing Program: This is the first article developed through this new initiative by Renew In Knowledge

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