Many of these posts are written from observing real people and real situations. Recently a friend from a country town observed to me that she thought the fire had gone out of much of the house church movement. I suspect it has and that Jesus might be pleased about it. Not because dreams have come to nothing but because we have had our attention on the wrong thing. We thought we would advance the Kingdom by re-configuring the church. But we make real Kingdom advance when we give Jesus permission to reconfigure us. He doesn’t just make a few adjustments. He creates a new us out of Himself. As Frank Viola has noted, the church Jesus builds without hands is the new Eve that comes from the side of the new Adam. This as profound as it is accurate. The church Jesus builds in the spirit is bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
I belong to a small house church. I believe those who have chosen to worship in this kind of community have done wisely – up to a point. But Jesus Himself wants to be our life and desires that we cease attempting to re-invent ourselves in structures. Let’s be clear. Any person or community whose life is found in Jesus, rather than in His Stuff, will manifest His church in imaginative and creative ways. They will be the new creation Kingdom of God in spirit and truth. When Jesus is the life of the individual and the church the church will be reconfigured in novelty and power.
LIVING IN A CONCEIT
Maybe it has been assumed that being Christian we are living from Jesus and so we were right to focus on the reinvention of the church. But being Christian is not ‘Kingdom’ because Kingdom does not grow from religion. Nor does the new creation grow from a culture of the knowledge of good and evil. Unless Jesus is actually and personally our life our default position will be that we live from Christianity. But Christianity is not a religion. It is a person. Not only is the Kingdom, Christ in you. It is Christ as you. Father’s vision is that each of us are the manifestation of His Son and that all of us as a result are the Kingdom of God.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. This is the core of His church, Kingdom and new creation. The Kingdom will advance when we realize and live it.
‘Christ our life’ is not ‘a work.’ It is our acceptance of His grace and His work. It’s as simple as saying, ‘Jesus, come and be my life.’ This brings Him great joy because this is what He lives for. To enjoy your company and to shape you into your original design. Most people I know long to be themselves and accepted as who they really are. In Jesus you will achieve this and take your place as a Kingdom Builder as a result. We build His Kingdom in the Spirit of Sonship in which the trinity envelops us.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you [the church] also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV.
New Birth depends on willingness. Willingness to learn, to change and to abandon that which is clearly ineffective and productive of weeds instead of good fruit. I am not talking of weeds as in evil. I mean weeds as in the garden being covered in vegetation that has no spirit and life and as a result has no Kingdom effect. I have seen people live like mutes in their own personal coma. They have walked in circles of confusion as long as I have known them. Confused and ineffectual because they are unwilling to lay down their own ideas of the flesh and take up Jesus ideas of spirit and truth. As a result their lives are a series of abortive Ishmael’s. Willingness to abandon our personal addiction to our own ideas is called repentance. This is the door to advance into wisdom and revelation, spirit and life and becoming agents of the new creation Kingdom of God. The life available to us as sons is infinite. But should we remain as workers and slaves this infinite life may as well not exist as far as we are concerned.
‘While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean’ LUKE 5.12 NIV.