We’ve seen how Jesus came to bring God’s kingdom to earth. All of us, whether we know it or not, ache for the day His kingdom will be fully revealed. Creation aches with us (Romans 8:18-25).
And so everything God does on earth is a step in this grand task. Jesus inaugurated the kingdom, and it has been constantly unfurling throughout history as men and women hear his call and set out to follow him together.
So Jesus builds his Church in this context- in Church we join God in His work. We should seek to do what He’s blessing rather than ask Him to bless what we’re doing. For us no individual church is the centre of gravity, rather God is, and the rule of His kingdom should dictate how we do church.
Churches will be fruitful in as much as they come from Jesus’ initiative (John 15:1-17) and faithful in as much as they continue to be true reflections of the eternal kingdom. So before we jump ahead to organise things we have to start with who God is, what He’s up to, and what His kingdom is like. Then we’ll start to get a picture of what that should look like in our flesh-and-blood week-to-week relationships in rainy England, sunny Tenerife or wherever He calls us.
We should seek to do what He’s blessing rather than ask Him to bless what we’re doing.
Each church should be a microcosm, or small-scale example, of the kingdom.
Think of a long thin magnet, maybe a metre long. At one end is a North pole and at the other, a South pole. Poles either attract or repel. However if you were to cut the magnet in half, the new ends would become North and South as well. No matter how small you cut the sections, each would have a North and a South.
Keep this in mind when pondering pictures of the kingdom in the bible. Scripture gives us a magnificent glimpse of the finished, wonderful creation. This eternal kingdom is is so real but because it’s so vast and profound it can be hard to grasp in rational terms: for instance Revelation 21:2 describes a city that is also a bride. However, whatever we see there is what we should also see imperfectly reflected in smaller gatherings, because Jesus is with us there too, even when only two or three of us gather.
God’s idea of Church is a radical foundation that has shaken up all our lives and made us do many things we wouldn’t have dreamed of. The Church is founded on the apostles and prophets as described in scripture (Ephesians 2:20). It’s the job of prophets and teachers today to see with new eyes how God desires to practically build each church on this foundation today.
As we talk, study and seek God for His way forward for us, let’s ask the Spirit to reveal God’s dreams to us. Let’s pray for Him to inspire our “prophetic imagination”.