As defined in our previous post, The Impetus of Christ Revealed – Part One, an impetus is a moving force; impulse; stimulus.
Paul’s life was observed as an example of what the Impetus of Christ can accomplish in the life of an individual believer. The “thing” that God is after is Christ. He has no particular interest in believers simply living forever in heaven one day.
You actually do not hear the intention of God preached/taught much today. While you will hear that it is God’s desire that you “live forever in heaven one day”; you seldom hear declared the deeper truth and intention of God found in scripture:
[He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. (Ephesians 1:10)
As incredible as Paul’s transformation was, the true purpose of it cannot be understood with Paul simply standing as an individual. No, Christ being formed and revealed in/through him was for the purpose he would later state, “That Christ may be formed in you!”
To put it into today’s terms to help us better understand: Christianity is not an individual sport. Christianity is a team sport!! No single individual believer will ever come to the fullness of the stature and measure of Christ alone. It takes a corporate body to accomplish God’s ultimate purposes in the earth.
Now, in relation to this understanding, another question must be answered
What is a Church?
What was Paul’s mentality about churches? Do you really think that Paul’s vision and mission was to start churches? Do you think he desired to establish a network of churches that bore his name and particular doctrinal lineage? Do you think he went about establishing ‘seeker sensitive’ congregational forms by the grace of God? Was “church” to him a religious organization that met in the same building every Sunday that offered activities to its parishioners?
To Paul, the Church was simply Christians gathering together in certain places as the corporate life of Christ. The Church was the gathering of the “parts” into fellowship so that there could be a larger expression of Christ formed in that place. In gathering as many pieces of Christ as possible together, the measure of Christ would increase and be as strong as possible. His desire was that Christ should be all the more expressed in that location.
Paul was governed by God’s pattern that Christ should fill all things; starting with the individual believer, integrating naturally into the corporate life of the local Body of Christ and, ultimately, flowing over into the city/region/world. He knew that the more parts of Christ brought together in appropriate relationship, the stronger the impact of Christ would be in any given place.
It is not God’s idea to start churches or religious organizations built around limited expressions of Christ.
“We are Pentecostal because we believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
“We are Baptist because we believe in a variation of baptism and salvation.”
“We are Charismatic because we believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
“We are Apostolic because we believe in the restoration of apostles.”
“We are (insert your title here) because we believe in (insert your preference here.)”
So on and so forth over 40 thousand different denominations all representing the One True God! Rubbish!
(If you did research on the etymology of the word “denomination”, you would be surprised to find out that
it means “a calling by anything other than the proper name”.)
Such divisions were not permitted according the revelation of Christ as God’s Pattern. Paul declared to the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 1:
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. I have [been] informed that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided?
He continued in chapter three to explain why they were allowing divisions and schisms to exist:
HOWEVER, BRETHREN, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to non-spiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it], for you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men? For when one says, I belong to Paul, and another, I belong to Apollos, are you not [proving yourselves] ordinary (unchanged) men?
Satan knows the implications of the presence of Christ corporately expressed. Therefore, he works in the midst of believers to destroy the fellowship of the Spirit of Christ and break up the unity of Christ so as to weaken Christ’s true expression. He drives men to labor according to the flesh “in God’s name” and set up various religious institutions and organizations. He will permit them to grow and prosper according to worldly standards and present a picture of success, all in God’s name.
Meanwhile, the true, eternal Pattern of God for His Church [Christ] is set aside as worldly, temporal measures of “success” become the defining mark of God’s people. This ought not be the case! If any company of Christians fail to be an accurate corporate expression of the Lord Jesus, they have failed in the purpose of their existence before God.
The true, defining mark of the Church is that Christ’s Life is preeminent in their midst. The presence of Christ must be in proportion to the parts of Christ present and His people must be freed to express Him. This is the purpose for his sacrifice and finished work!
There is no man-made design or form that can facilitate this organic flow of Christ’s Life. Quite simply, as recorded in the Church of the Book of Acts, form follows function.
The Life of Christ will produce whatever forms necessary in order for that Life to be released and expressed through all of the parts of His Body. The form of the Church is produced purely by the government of the Holy Spirit as He administers Christ’s Life, establishes spiritual authority and expands influence. Such matters are not left to man’s speculation or planning.
To understand the Life Principle, simply observe how God works (and reveals Himself) in and through Creation. You don’t have a form of a tree and then put the life of an apple tree into that form. It begins with a seed which contains that life. That seed must be planted, die and the life is released. The life brings about the form of whatever tree is contained in the life of the seed.
In the Book of Revelation, as Christ walked among the Churches, Ephesus was the representative Church of all the Churches. As Christ viewed their existence, there were many commendable things. Labor, toils, works. But they were just things. The Church had lost sight of Him in the midst of the things. THE thing alone which justifies and gives meaning to any local assembly of the Lord’s people is not the people, not their procedures and not their forms but the fact that Christ is present.
Their true purpose was not to set up a Christian church in Ephesus with programs, teachings and meetings but rather to represent Christ there. The bringing together of these parts of Christ is only to increase the measure of Christ so that He can accurately be expressed and anybody who is seeking Christ will find him there.
The word to the Church at Ephesus is the same word that the Head of the Church speaks to His Church in the earth today.
Repent! Change your thinking. Reprogram your mentality. Have the mind of Christ. The Church is not to be conformed to the spirit of this age – which is an anti-christ spirit – but the Church is to be transformed by the total restructuring of mentality.
It is incumbent on end-time believers to rediscover Christ as God’s Pattern for their lives both individually and corporately. That Truth must form proper mentalities. Decades prior to their being addressed in the Book of Revelation, Paul declared to the Ephesian Church the Truth of God’s Pattern:
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all,and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [Ephesians 4:4-7/1:10]
It is undeniable that God’s chief concern is Christ being formed and expressed, both individually and corporately.
May we, as Paul, have an encounter with the living Christ that will cause our spiritual eyes, ears and understanding to be opened. May the God that declared for light to shine out of darkness send forth the light that illuminates His true desire regarding the Pattern of Christ.
Before the world was created and this cosmic system arranged, God had in view, a universe whose existence was dependent upon His Son. He was before all things and all things were to be made with the embodiment of the spiritual and eternal features of Christ.
In His omniscience, God set in motion all the creative processes, all redemptive processes, elective processes, sovereign and providential processes of history to work out this Pattern of Christ. When God reaches His end and the work is completed, the one thing ultimately acquired will be that everything in the creation will reveal something of Jesus Christ. All things will be according to the order of Christ!
God is looking to form a people in the earth that live according to that Pattern now in the earth. He desires a Church, the Nation of His People in the earth, who will allow the governing motive and power of their existence to be consistent with the Divine Nature that has been deposited into them. A people who will arise in the earth and declare that the reality of their existence is according to this one Pattern:
For me to live is Christ!!