Series: The Ministry of Reconciliation
Sun am 4th December 2011 – Kobus Swart
Eph. 5:33; John 17:6, 21; Heb. 2:10-11 (Phillips); Rom. 8:29; Acts 17:16-17, 22-31; Eccl. 3:11;
Phil. 4:10-19; (Eph. 5:33); (Heb. 2:10-11); (Eph. 4:23)
There is an operational system (mindset) behind the activity of every human government or organization on earth. This is also true for churches. For most churches it is about soul winning or church growth. While that is important, what should the primary objective be? What was the driving force behind the ministry of Jesus? Jesus did not come only to preach, He came to manifest the name of His Father. “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world” (John 17:6). We have to be faithful to the mandate God has given us. “As the Father sent Me, so send I you…”
Jesus came to bring many sons to glory (Heb 2:10). It is important therefore, in all our activities as the redeemed, to be driven by the heavenly agenda. In fact this should be deeply established in our subconscious, or as Paul calls it, be renewed in the spirit of our mind (Ephes 4:23). If you are renewed in the spirit of your mind, it will motivate and direct your activities. Our conscious minds are normally cluttered with so many other things. Let us remember these essential truths: 1) It is about the mystery revealed, i.e. the marriage between the Church and Christ, the Church and Christ becoming one flesh (Eph. 5:33). 2) The interpenetration of God and man that will make the world believe the gospel(John 17:21). 3) God is looking for a new humanity, of whom Jesus is the first-born (Rom. 8:29 Msg). Jesus came to bring many sons to glory, for the One who makes men holy and the men who are made holy share a common humanity (Heb. 2:10-11 Phillips). That is why He is not ashamed to call us brethren. We are of the same new humanity. God wants to show the world a proper marriage of the divine and the human.
Why doesn’t the Church have more success and inroads into the world? Have we failed to manifest the Name(s) of God (Yahweh) to the world? Watch how Paul did this in a plural Greek society. Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols (Acts 17:16). Our spirits will be provoked when we see unrighteous deeds even today. It is how we react to that provocation that will give us an ear, or people will shut us out. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there (Acts 17:17). He was in the market place reasoning, sharing. He did not call large meetings to preach. Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; Paul was disturbed by all the idols in the city, but see the wisdom in which he moved. People felt it was a compliment …for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD (Acts 17:22-30). God has put eternity in the heart of every person (Eccles 3:11), which means there is always something in people inquiring, always reaching to a higher authority. Paul could have ministered condemnation (as the Christians so often do), but he was saying in effect, “I come to demonstrate this God to you” or “I am going to manifest His name to you.” This can only happen when it is done with wisdom and grace without compromise.
Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. No condemnation! Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent. (vs. 28-30) Change the way you think! Mankind having been created from one blood originally, have all been brought together into one new man in the blood of Christ (Ephes 2:14-22). Ignorance is an excuse for those who have never heard the truth, but once we have heard the truth we will be held accountable. To manifest the name of God is to manifest the nature of God. The world is waiting for this TRUTH to be demonstrated to them!
Another example of how Paul manifested one of the Names of God – in this case YAHWEH JIREH (The God who provides), is illustrated Phil 4:10-19. …for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. … I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, …And myGod will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Why didn’t he just say, “God will provide”? He said, “MY God” because he personally experienced that grace. Stand as a living proof and speak from a personal level of experience. Because I can say “my God” I can manifest that name to you. The world is not impressed simply by good wishes detached from a personal testimony.