Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

02/20/2019

Jeff Grisham

A Part of God’s Eternal Purpose

 

"To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given,

to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring

to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God,

who created all things 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 3:8-11 ESV)

 

  We are the church. Our aim is to be the church we find described in the NewTestament, and in order to function properly as the church, we should be familiar with what God says in Scripture about the church. It just makes sense. It just makes sense to examine the church from its birth. Then we need to see how the church grew, spread, and handled all the challenges faced by a new movement that's designed to be universal and ethnically diverse. We need to see the challenges faced by those who traveled and told of this Good News. All of these things are found in the book of Acts.

 

  Then if we are to be the church and function correctly as the church, we need to know about the issues faced by early groups. We need to see and hear about their successes and their failings. We need to see where their thinking about what it means to be the church was flawed in some way, and what measures are needed to correct these tendencies to move away from the desired direction. We need to see the ultimate future for those who are called to be the church. All of this is found from Romans to Revelation.

 

  It is no wonder that many of us focus on this section of the New Testament. It is a good thing to do, but not to the exclusion of the rest of Scripture. When we look at Scripture as a whole, it gives us a deeper appreciation for who we are called to be as the church. Scripture gives us a grand narrative beginning with the fact that God created the earth and everything in it on purpose and for a purpose. Then it tells of humanity’s rejection of God’s lead, but that God’s love would not abandon His creation. From Genesis to Malachi, the over-arching theme is God’s work to reconcile humanity to himself. It points to One who will come to offer reconciliation to all of humanity. The Gospels identify this One for us; he is none other than God’s own Son, Jesus of Nazareth. In his life and teachings we get to see humanity done right, and we listen to his call to follow him. Acts through Revelation informs us of what it takes to be a part of this New Creation, how we take advantage of the gift that God offers through Jesus, and how the Spirit that he has given works with us in our becoming the people we were meant to be.

 

  However, we cheat ourselves when we focus too heavily on just the New Testament. We miss the fact that the church, of which we are a part, is the plan that God has for reconciling the world to himself. By taking Scripture as a whole we see that we have been blessed to be a part of the plan of God that was initiated in Genesis. We see that we are blessed to be the body of Jesus in the world to demonstrate the love of God to a world which desperately needs to see and respond to it. May God bless us as we declare His manifold wisdom according to His eternal purpose.

 

—Jeff Grisham