I’m going to ask you to do something a little difficult for the next few moments. As you read this post, set aside your preconceived ideas or prejudices. Let go of resentments from past church experiences which left you disillusioned or disappointed. Ask God to allow you to see the Church from His perspective and fill you with hope for His purpose in this “Great Mystery!”
I encourage you to read through the book of Ephesians for a beautiful view of the church—perhaps read chapter 3 after finishing this post.
The “great mystery” was the gospel plan that was hidden, shrouded in mystery throughout past ages until the work of the cross was accomplished. In Ephesians, Paul shares a little about the role he would play in this:
[box]“By revelation there was made known to me the mystery … the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men … this grace was given, to preach … the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery … so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church …” (Eph. 3:3–10).[/box]
Please don’t miss the significance of that last phrase—“that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church!”
Hmmm … I’m a little inspired and overwhelmed at the same time as I read those words. What do you think it means?
To help answer that question, let’s take a rapid-fire look at the Church:
What is it?
- The community of true believers from every age for all time, the purchased possession of Jesus Christ ( 2:11–16; 5:25).
- The Redeemed; those chosen to bear the identifying marks of redemption in order to display God’s glorious power (1 Pet. 2:9–12).
- The “great mystery” of Gentiles and Jews comprising the Body of Christ—the Church ( 3).
What is its purpose?
How does the Church do that?
- Being salt and light ( 5:13–16)
John Piper describes the powerful role of the Church:
“Most of us go through day after day and seldom feel the impact of the magnitude of what we are caught up in by belonging to Jesus Christ…. And we don’t take enough time to meditate on how our jobs, our home life, our leisure, our church involvement—how each of these fits into the cosmic significance of the church.”1
So perhaps displaying God’s wisdom through the Church has something to do with how we live out the Gospel in our daily lives through:
- Worship—our daily actions of obedience.
- Being salt and light—others seeing God’s grace and power at work in our lives, reflected by our unity, love for one another, proclamation of truth, and selfless devotion to Christ and others.
- Producing disciples—leading others to a relationship with Christ and then nurturing them as they grow spiritually.
- Demonstrating mercy to the needy—practically applying the mercy of Christ to those who are truly in need.
How do you think we can display the “manifold wisdom of God” as the Church? Please share some practical examples in your comment below!
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