A.W.Tozer, a well-known theologian, once made this evaluation: “Christianity is so watered down…if it were poison, it would not hurt anyone, and if it were medicine, it would not cure anyone!” Surely, a recalibration is needed!

It is clear that there was a special stewardship that was given to the apostle Paul, and that was to proclaim the mystery which had been hidden from past ages and generations, which was (and is) Christ in us, the hope of glory. More than ever before, this mystery has to manifest in His saints! The whole of creation groans and is in travail to see the manifestation of the SON in the sons! Manmade religion cannot do it. It is the responsibility of the Church of Jesus Christ. We are called to be co-workers, participators as the Father’s end-time plan unfolds.

This book by Don Atkin will awaken a hunger in you. It can be ordered from AMAZON.COM.

 

FOREWORD

Although Jesus did not say much about the church (His primary burden was the kingdom of God), we dare not overlook the following statement He made about the church: “…upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” Reading this in context, we notice two things. Firstly, He was referring to those who had a personal revelation of Him, and secondly, the “rock” He was referring to, was not Peter (petros=stone) as an individual. This “rock” (petra) comprises of many stones compacted together, signifying the corporate or the body. And most importantly, Jesus said that HE would build His church! In Psalms 127 Solomon says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they (we) labour in vain…!” And then he gives a key and refers to the sons who will be like arrows in the quiver! “How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them!” From this, and many other scriptures, it is clear that we are called to be co-workers and therefore, to participate!

In this writing of Don, in the form of a caring critique, he looks at where the church is today — 2000 years after Jesus’ last words on the Cross, “It is finished.

Instead of being SALT, bringing out the God-flavours of the earth, and LIGHT, bringing out the God-colours in the world, in many ways just the opposite has taken place. The spirit of this age has invaded the church. The result? In spite of multiple thousands of denominations, and lately, thousands of apostolic networks around the world, the spiritual temperature of our world has not changed much. As in the days when the Tower of Babel was built, the tendency (although not always intentionally) too often, is to become famous.

What we must not forget, however, is the fact that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers operating in particular cities or regions. We get a glimpse of this in the book of Daniel when the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood an angelic messenger on his way to Daniel. The apostle Paul also identifies philosophies and traditions inspired by stoicheia (elemental spirits or principles). These stoicheia that divide people groups according to race, class, social struggle, culture or even politics, can have a direct impact on the life of the church. We are called to be ONE holy nation! In all its variety of expressions, the church is exhorted to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace! As the (physical) body is one and yet has many (different) members, so also is Christ. God loves variety! He has never created even two snowflakes looking exactly the same!

What is needed? ALIGNMENT! Don goes into great detail emphasising this. Bone has to come to bone! Yes, there will be a rattling and a noise as the Holy Spirit is busy bringing alignment in the Body of Christ. Too many wrong connections! However, we can’t do it without God; and He won’t do it without us! Together, we have to grow up in all respects into Him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body being fitted and held together by that which every joint (=relationship) supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part (in all its varieties), causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Whenever church leaders discuss the challenge of working together in a city, town or region, the tendency is to look or hope for a revival or future event which will bring the body of Christ together. Some would argue that it will only happen when Jesus comes again. A better question to ask is not “When? “, but rather “How?” Is this ONENESS that Jesus was — and is — praying for in John 17 possible? Our sovereign God, who sees everything from the FINISH, said in a loud voice, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever!”

How? As an example of one of those stealth apostles Don is talking about, Paul said, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” [1] This may sound very authoritarian (or even arrogant), but we know that Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, was a humble servant who suffered a lot in fulfilling his calling. His main burden was perhaps expressed best in Galatians 4:19 (AMP). Here he was in travail for the believers in the body of Christ: “My children, with whom I am again in suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (moulded) within you… “ His burden was to see the mature corporate SON; for us as believers to grasp the mystery, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory; to present every man complete in Christ! Jesus once said that the Son of man had nowhere to lay His head. He will only lay His head on that which represents Him and has the same DNA as He has. He is coming for a Bride without spot or wrinkle!

Stealth apostles are those who will also echo the words of the two men in white robes at the ascension of Jesus when the disciples were staring into the empty sky: “…why do you just stand here looking up into an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly and mysteriously — as He left.” [2] And it is the revelation of this mystery that Don has brought into focus in his book.

Clearly what is needed is an administration suitable to participate in God’s plan, which is described by Paul as this: “He purposed long ago in His sovereign will that all human history should be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in heaven and on earth should find its perfection and fulfilment in Him.” While it is absolutely possible for God to terminate history in a moment, He is waiting for a victorious church to participate with Him; a church who effectively uses the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth! Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father — waiting till His enemies have become a footstool for His feet! Therefore, there must and will be, a finishing generation who will perfect those (now in the cloud of witnesses) who — even though they believed till the end — did not receive what was promised. Without this, we will simply see history repeating itself over and over!

There is a picture in the Book of Revelation that grips my heart afresh every time I read it. John — banned to the Isle of Patmos — found himself in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and suddenly heard a loud voice like a trumpet. When he turned to see the voice, this is what he saw: “I saw seven golden lampstands and in the middle of the lampstands One who resembled a human being, with a long robe, and a belt of gold round his breast; his head and hair were white as wool, white as snow; his eyes flashed like fire, his feet glowed like finely burnished bronze, his voice like the sound of many waves…” [3] Here is a picture that speaks volumes! The first thing John saw, was the seven churches standing as one — with the SON of man in the midst of them! Does this picture perhaps help us to see what can happen when the complete church (7 golden lampstands = 7 churches. 7 meaning full and complete) standing in oneness — Christ within, the hope of glory — releases a voice like the sound of many waters? Surely it will attract the attention of all of creation! Isn’t this why all of creation is in travail — to see the manifestation of the SON in the sons of God! The sound of many waters — a corporate voice, no confusion!

I wholeheartedly endorse this book and pray that it will enlighten every reader as well as inspire many believers to participate in God’s plan to have His people not just pray to the Father, but vibrate — like kingdom leaven infecting our surrounding world — these words: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!

Kobus Swart

Bizweni Church
Somerset West
Western Cape
South Africa

[1] 2 Corinthians 10:5-6

[2] Acts 1:11 MSG

[3] Revelation 1:12-15 Moffatt