The whole reason the church is screwed up is that Christians have been looking at the things that we see, instead of the things that we do not see. We have become so fixated on what we see; we forget that we are members of a higher Kingdom. We examine the symptoms and ignore the solutions. We are living here, in a world that is suffering, filled with hate and bigotry, injustice and misery everywhere we look. And over here is a group of people, the church, who talk about love, compassion, sympathy, and help.
Now, it seems that the obvious answer to all the misery in this world is to let this group of people who are so concerned to get to work and do something about it. Go ahead and let them meet the need, directly and positively. It sounds so logical, so consistent, so practical. But that is only because we are so superficial. We are only looking at the things that are visible. In our shallow vision, we treat the symptoms and not causes. We superficially provide remedies that only work for a moment — if they work at all — and then the situation is as bad as it was before!
Well, Paul’s states that the church should face the desperate needs the world faces and “live lives worthy of your high calling.”
Okay, that sounds right, but what does he mean? He says, “Obey your orders!” Take your direction from the head of the church. Follow the Lord’s strategy. The church was never expected to come up with its own strategy or to set its own goals. The church is not an independent organization that exists through its own strength. Humanity’s organizations do that much. As Wernher von Braun, the Founder of the National Space Institute stated, “It is no longer enough that we pray that God may be with us on our side. We must learn to pray that we may be on God’s side.”
No one can ever understand this body unless they see it as more than a human organization. Think about all of the comparisons we have been reading in this letter: The church is an army under the command of their king. The church is a body under the control of the head and falls flat on its face whenever it refuses to follow the directions of its authority. The church is a temple for the exclusive home and use of the Person who dwells within it, the One who has the right and the authority to do as He wills. So this is Paul is telling us: “Live lives worthy of your high calling.” Follow the goal that your leader has set before you! Obey the directions of the Head. Obey your orders! Get off your butts and live by the power and guidance of His Spirit!
We are not left wondering what that calling is. We just read about it in the last three chapters of this letter, and find it scattered throughout the New Testament. The first three chapters described what Christians have in Christ, as compared with our former condition as we lived in darkness and defeat in the kingdom of Satan.
This is always how Paul wrote his letters. He began to tell people the truth (what we call doctrine), but tell me, is that really what forms the foundation of our faith? It is stupid, oops, foolish to begin with anything but the truth. Paul always started with the truth, the truth as it is, things as they are, calling us back to reality.
That is the glory of our faith: seeing things as they exist. In the first three chapters, Paul presented marvelous statements of reality. Read those chapters again. They gave the great truths that the Christian and the church, as a body of Christians, possess in Jesus Christ. We are in Christ. Seated above: “God . . . made Him to sit . . . and made us to sit with Him.” In the three chapters we just read several clear statements of the Churches’ purpose, not merely its purpose in eternity, some day, when we reach “Gloryland,” but its purpose right now, where we live and breath and have our being.
Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. (Ephesians 1:4)
To grasp the nature of the church fully, you must consider the moral character people expect of God’s people. In other words, we are to be a moral example to the world, reflecting Jesus’ character.
Our moral parameters, our character must be reflected through our words and the way we live, the way we think and act! As disciples of Jesus, we are created to be “holy and blameless before him.” That is the primary purpose of the church. Look at Verse 12 of the same chapter:
God decided ahead of time to choose us through Christ according to his plan, which makes everything work the way he intends. He planned all of this so that we who had already focused our hope on Christ would praise him and give him glory (Ephesians 1:11-12)
Think about that! Those of us who hope in Christ, Christians, have been destined and appointed (here is our calling) to live for the praise of His glory! Our first responsibility is not taking care of other men, as important as that is, and indeed, enters into the picture. But that is not our first responsibility. No, our first responsibility is to live to the praise and the glory of God. As the New English Bible puts it, we “should cause his glory to be praised” (Ephesians 1:12).
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