Monday, February 2, 2015

Front and center of God's plans now and for eternity

This past weekend I commented about how the evangelical church is once again beginning to understand its place within the broader Church, within the much larger family of God, and within the much, much larger kingdom of God.

God’s kingdom. God’s family. God’s Church.

They’re not the same, but how are they different?

The first and smallest sphere in our diagram, again, is God’s Church.

The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is the Head of His Body, the Church.

The Church is made up of all true followers and disciples of Jesus Christ from A.D. 33 to 2015 and beyond. It’s amazing to realize that you and I belong to the same Church that Mary, Peter, James, John, Paul, and others belonged to 1,980+ years ago.

Thankfully, the Church is front and center of God’s plans for eternity.

Look at what the apostle John wrote in the opening verses of the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Revelation 21, verses 1 to 3:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God."
The exclamation point of heaven isn't the pearly gates or streets of gold. Instead, the exclamation point of heaven is seen here in verse 3: God is living with men and women from every nation, culture, and people group.

So who do we find in heaven? Well, first, we find God’s Church. Revelation 21:14 says: “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” This speaks about how the Church was built on the faith on Jesus’ closest friends and followers, often called the twelve apostles.

We see the Church referred to again in the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, verse 16, the last red letter verse in the Bible. There Jesus says: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.”

Eternity will be enjoyed by all the authentic followers of Jesus Christ…

...and by many, many others, of course, as we'll see in upcoming posts.

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