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Spiritual fruit - Part 4 Created 24 February 2014

Spiritual fruit - Part 1 || Spiritual Fruit - Part 2 || Spiritual Fruit - Part 3

God’s intent with the Church may be obvious to some, but not to others. If you ask around you’ll find a variety of different answers. The best attempts answer this question as follows:

But how does the Bible explicitly answer this question? First, let’s differentiate between the reason why God made Man and the reason why God has ‘a People’, and then the reason as to why God has a Church. There are answers to each of these questions, which relate to each other. So, why is it important to know why God has a Church? It is simply this: It will answer the question about the extent to which you and I are being that thing which God intended us to be as a Church. Thus, it determines whether or not we are delivering godly fruit. We’ll look at a few answers mainly relating to why God made Man and why God has a People:

Still, why does God have the Church? What is its function? You may be surprised to learn – as I was – that it seemingly has little to do with the activities we normally associate with church-going like ‘hanging around other Christians’ or ‘doing life together’. Instead, Paul makes the intent of God with the Church very clear in the book of Ephesians: … the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. (Eph 3:8-13)

Did you see that? to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.

This passage needs no special interpretation – there is nothing extraordinary or complex about its wording or context. It needs to be read in the simplest possible way. Thus, the question is: Is your and my church doing what God’s intent with the Church is, or does it have ‘other priorities’? To sum it up:

What does He want done?: make known the many-sided wisdom of God.
To whom?: to the principalities and powers.
Where?: in the heavenly places.

Re-reading this passage again recently made me realise that:

Yet, further explanation is required:
From the phrase “make known the many-sided wisdom of God” it should not be assumed that the Church is all about teaching others through lecturing and preaching, although it certainly does include these important activities as well.

I believe, “many-sided wisdom of God” should be equated with the Bible’s metaphor for godliness - “light” (John 1:1-4). In it is included everything opposite to what Galatians 5 calls the “works of the flesh” in addition to that which is proclaimed as the Word of God. Therefore, every time a person resists a work of the flesh (Footnote 1) it is ‘making known’ to the demonic powers in the spiritual realm ( Footnote 2) the unwavering truth that God’s power and His character has overcome theirs. It is light displacing darkness. It is bringing God’s wisdom – His character and His way – into a situation.

'Making known His wisdom', of course, includes bringing God’s character and His way into a situation concerning other believers where such Christians are not doing so themselves. It remains God’s light in a dark place, not ours. It is not about our righteousness, but His. We are merely the ‘light bearers’.

‘Making known His wisdom’ to spiritual forces in the heavenly realm means that we speak the Word of God into a bad situation; that we pray the Word of God into a bad situation; we defeat error through the truth of His Word; we cast out demons by the power of His resurrection; we break bondange by the power of His resurrection; we feed the poor by His provision; we have faith in an impossible situation; we look after orphans and widows in love; we love the unloveable; we forgive the unforgiveable; we proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom without shame. "Church" means a people who are God's spiritual government on earth, displaying His character, His will and His power in every situation.

That is “making known God’s wisdom to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places”, because it is the exact opposite to what they inspire people to do. Note, “making known His wisdom” is not about choosing just one 'side' of the many-sided wisdom of God and ignoring the rest. It is not about choosing to make known the looking after orphans but neglecting to speak the Word of God into a situation, for instance.The Church is called to make known all of the many-sided wisdom of God, not the one-sided wisdom of God. It is error to think otherwise.  

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

From Paul’s writings, therefore, it should also not be automatically assumed that the Church is all about ‘spiritual warfare’ – having conflict directly with demons (“principalities and powers in the heavenly places”). It is not. Let there be no doubt, nevertheless, that our quest primarily is concerning principalities and powers in the spiritual realm, else Paul would have been wrong saying, … we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12). A body of believers which does not engage these types of issues is short-sighted, and, frankly, it is not reading all of the Bible.

However, although our battle is with principalities and powers, the expression of God’s wisdom primarily comes through dealing with people.

It may be said that 'we wrestle with demons by loving people with the God-kind of love – the self-sacrificial type of love'.

Thus, it is the very nature of godly love that is the key: we love people when we bring God’s truth trough His word and His deeds into our lives (Footnote 3). That is His truth and His way – through the Bible (Footnote 4) and through His deeds.

From what we’ve read, the Church bears fruit when it makes known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places the many-sided wisdom of God. It cannot happen outside of the fruit of the Spirit. It cannot happen effectively without operating in the gifts of the Spirit either. And, it cannot happen if you and I are not equipped by other Christians’ faithful work in the ministries given by the same Holy Spirit.

Because it is the Spirit that knows the will of the Father and it is the Spirit that gives us the strength to execute it too: Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. (Eph 5:8-10).

Let us bear fruit!

Footnotes:

1. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[c]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19:21) (back to article)

2. And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Eph 2:1-3) (back to article)

3. Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) (back to article)

4. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works (Heb 10:24) (back to article)

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Please consult the Bible and test what is written here. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in this area. Keep that which is good and reject that which is not Scriptual. Should you come to a different understanding than I please let me know - perhaps I can learn from you.

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