We have been working through Ephesians as a church over the past few weeks. In his letter to the church, Paul spends about 15% of the letter (OK I am an engineer, cut me some slack on the statistics....) talking about how the Jew and Gentile are now one church. He makes a special point with the Gentile believers about being part of the family vs. aliens, foreigners, separate and excluded.
The amazing part of this section to me is what Paul tells the church about their mission:
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms..... (3:10)
Instead of Israel being the agent of God, the church, this marvelous amalgamation of those who knew and practiced the law, who were instrumental in God's plan to make Him known to the world (the Jews) and those who were "far off", whose religious practices included temple prostitution, riotous living, adultery, etc. (see II Cor. 6:9), is the agent. The church is now the agent to bring the testimony of God to the world and to those in the heavenlies. To reveal to the universe the grace of God, the love of God and the redeeming nature of God. The church!
An awe inspiring task if you ask me!
Sometimes I look at the church (which includes me by the way) and wonder why God chose it as the agent to adorn Him. Fighting, lack of focus, sectarian, judgmental, petty; are all words that come to mind when you ask people about the church. Not a really good agent sometimes....
The reality is that God has chosen the church. Period. There is not a Plan B. The church. Period. God has NO OTHER PLAN. So instead of getting down about the state of the church, I chose to look forward and say we must improve, we must be the kind of place that is attractive to people who don't know Jesus. Not attractive because of gimmicks or entertainment, but attractive because Jesus is lifted up (remember John 12:32) by obedience to His commands and a passion for people like He had!
As part of the church, I am part of the design of God to represent him to the universe. WOW! I probably ought to move beyond the amazement phase and really start having this impact my life. I need to think, talk, act, go places, etc. that represent whose I am and what I am charged with. Not to look and dress like an idiot, but to be the kind of person that every can see that I am different in my walk, talk, direction of life, finances, etc.