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Godly Purpose

God’s ecclesias, armed with a strong sense of purpose, accomplished much. They saw themselves as the initial outposts of the kingdom of God, the kingdom that would supplant all the kingdoms of this world (Rev. 11:15). Fortified with this determination, they overcame tremendous obstacles and finally conquered Rome, thereby initiating the process whereby the Christian faith was spread throughout Europe.

They began well but the subsequent centuries of clerical rule over God’s people and its compromise with worldly government had all but buried this goal and their sense of purpose. It was revived briefly by the early Puritans but for most of the Christian era it was neglected by the majority of God’s people.

The loss of purpose has stripped the ecclesia of their God-given, primary function in life, to “seek first the kingdom of God.” But God did not create man to be an idle creature; for him life must have a purpose; so he seeks it, even in pursuits other than the one he was created and designed to follow. This then becomes the norm; Christians pursue whatever goal, within limits, appeals to them and even the idea of a future Christian world is lost (). Consequently, the great majority of Christians, for most of history, have had little real purpose and little involvement in the building of God’s kingdom.

This is the case today. The ecclesia, God’s chosen instrument for world renewal, has lost its prime directive and is no longer pursuing the Creator’s purpose. All but a very few of today’s churches have discarded teaching what to them may seem to be the impossible goal of worldwide Christianity, as called for in the Great Commission. They instead promote a truncated version consisting of evangelism with the goal of personal salvation for a few. For these false teachers, civil law is no longer God’s law and is now the province of godless, secular government. The notion of God’s law as the higher law, a view that was popular less than a century ago, is no longer heard and is now considered obsolete. The law aspect of the commission, which is vital to the growth and vigor of the faith, has been grossly neglected in recent history. This has been expressed as a distorted commission, restated as:

“And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, but I am not going to exercise much of it for a long time.  For now, therefore, just go and make a few disciples of each nationality, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe a select few of the things I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you, kind of, until to the end of the age, when I shall come back, and do it all myself.” [1]

Today’s Christian leaders and teachers seem to have lost all sight of the central purpose behind their very existence. They have forgotten that we were created as God’s instruments to renew all things and to make this world a Christian world (Rev. 21:5). They react to setbacks by lowering the God-given goal from world conquest to a rescue operation that attempts to save a few souls for Christ. Jesus’ words in The Great Commission have been distorted as follows: “Make all nations disciples” was changed to “make the people of the nations disciples.” This became, “make some of the people of all nations disciples,” then “make a few disciples in as many nations as we can,” and eventually to “just tell people about Jesus.”

Along with this, teaching full obedience to Christ in the Great Commission was gradually de-emphasized and is now rarely heard in the churches. The clear statement that Christ is the rightful ruler of the nations was abandoned and the Commission reduced to personal salvation for a few.

Why is this the case? Psychologically, it avoids the recognition of failure by substituting a lesser goal for the greater, supposedly unreachable, object. Purpose faded as a consequence of repeated failure and was followed by discouragement.

The people of God need to get their heads out of the sand and consider the reality that surrounds them. The world is in desperate need of God’s help and only they can supply it. God has placed the future of the world in their hands. They are the Body of Christ, the new humanity, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Once started, they will constitute an unstoppable force but they do need to get started! They must accept the responsibility God has placed on their shoulders and stop trying to transfer it to the full-time Christians or anyone else. God’s people need to resurrect a sense of God’s gift of purpose in their hearts, a purpose that was all but buried so very long ago.


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