Monday, September 26, 2011

The plural of "christian" is "church". that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 3:10

Paul saw God's sovereign plan at work collectively among Christians and he gave it a name: "church". The work of the church is focused and extensive. Through the church God is making His complex wisdom known. That is worth considering. It is not just one message the church proclaims. It is multi-faceted and always layered around the gospel. It is a wisdom that speaks to all of humanity and to every condition. And God has decreed that Christians gather as the church to get His wisdom known in every way that they can do so.

This presupposes that the church first knows what to proclaim. If we are to make it known, we better know it. So the church should first be teaching itself the ways in which God's wisdom, contralized in the gospel, affects our own hearts and lives without need for any worldly philosophy to direct us. The sufficiency of God's Word combines with the personal direction of His Spirit to unify us in a common impact to the world with God's wisdom. We know the truth. The truth sets us free in more ways than we may know.

This requires that Christians learn how to make God's wisdom known. The church should be training believers. And this involves not just a program of discipleship or a mechanism for evangelism. It involves Christians learning to dispense practical wisdom to each other and to the world in which we live. It means we live out a practical concern and demonstrate effort to help deal with key problems around the world, always with the gospel clearly on display. Our conversations should revolve around the saving wisdom of God. What good does it really do if I feed a hungry person but keep Jesus' love in the gospel message away from his starving soul? What good is it if I speak against violence, but do not tell people how to find rest for their souls with the Prince of Peace?

We should not be quick to attack the collection of Christians known as the church. Individual local churches might have problems. My experience is that they ALL do because ALL people are still being redeemed, and endemic sin keeps us all a little messy still. Still, all Christians following Jesus should love their family in Christ, even the weird ones who do ignorant things sometimes. False doctrine and sinful practices among us should be confronted with an attitude of gentleness and restoration (Galatians 6:1-2). But the church should commit to the wisdom of God. We should align ourselves around biblical truth and values and together LIVE OUT the gospel, making the wisdom of God known in the world.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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