What’s God main intention for the church? Is it to evangelize the lost? Is it to be a pulpit for a pastor to preach sermons to pews filled with believers, holding onto each word? What is it?
The Apostle Paul spoke of the gospel and the church as being a mystery hidden in God from the beginning of ages and a part of His eternal purpose. If this is true, let’s look at the four chapters of the Bible Frank Viola states in his Rethinking Church teaching as the most important ones for us to gather insight into God’s plans for the church.
The chapters: Genesis 1 – 2 and Revelation 21 – 22.
Why these four chapters?
These chapters are the only ones in the Bible where Satan is not the god of this world and sin is not intertwined in our cultures. Genesis 1 and 2 are before Adam’s sin and Eve’s deception in Chapter 3. And Revelation 21 and 22 are after Satan, death, and sin have been thrown into the lake of fire in Chapter 20.
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.” And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)
Adam and his bride were commanded by God to rule the earth. Eve was created out of a rib taken from Adam’s side. There was a tree of life and a river life in the Garden of Eden.
Now let’s fast forward to the end of the Bible.
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” (Revelation 22:17)
The Last Adam – Jesus – and His bride will pick up the commands spoken by God to the First Adam to rule and reign on earth:
If we endure, we will also reign with Him; (2 Timothy 2:12)
And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on earth.(Revelation 5:10)
Like the First Adam with Eve, the church came out of Jesus’ side when the soldier pierced His side with a spear and blood burst out. Not only that, the river of life and the tree of life are restored on earth.
Thus, I believe God’s main purpose for His church – the Bride of Christ – is to rule and reign with Jesus on the earth for eternity.
Should we be ruling and reigning with Jesus on the earth now?
So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:10-11)
(Continued in Part 4…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)