NOTIONAL OR REAL
As the new Adam, Jesus is the source of all social life. He is the genesis of the new creation. Just as the old creation grew out of Adam, so the new creation grows out of Jesus. The persisting old Adamic creation is called Babylon. The new creation growing from the vine of Jesus is the Kingdom of God.
To live in the new creation is to live in Jesus. To live in the old covenant is to live in Adam. Our life is not an Adamic existence with a Jesus garnish. Our Kingdom life is Jesus from first last. To live in Adam and the old covenant is to remain in the knowledge of good and evil. To live in the Spirit is to enjoy a Jesus life in which He Himself is our life.
The foundation of the Kingdom is not that the church produces Christ. The foundation is Christ produces the church. Yet it's more than this. Christ is the church. How does this occur? It happens when Christ has come in our flesh flesh. What does this mean? According to heaven's plan, the Son of God came to earth as Jesus, the Son of Man. God came as a human being. The realization of this plan post Pentecost is Christ c0me in all who believe. This is a work of Holy Spirit that means the difference between living as orphans and living as sons.
‘With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory’ Eph 1.8-12 NIV.
The plan is that Jesus is multiplied on earth as His Spirit is imbued in the flesh of His people. This is not a notional position. The Son of Man enthroned beside our Father is the face of humanity in heaven. Conversely you as a Believer are the face of Christ and the presence of our Father where you are each day on earth.
Paul says, ‘This is the plan,’ By the Spirit of Christ in us Christ has come into those who are flesh and blood. Christ come in the flesh of His people is the face of the church on earth. The church Jesus builds is His life as our life - this church is the manifestation of Jesus as His people.
This new and living way surpasses the abstraction of the knowledge of good and evil with its weak attempts to live from laws and rules. The genius of the incarnation for now is that it is holistic – Christ Himself lives in us and manifests the life of heaven through us. But there’s more. You are not an ‘abstract righteousness.’ Neither are you a compilation of rules kept in equilibrium. Your, as yourself are the manifestation of Christ. You are a son/daughter who is the expression of our Father in spirit and in truth. This is how Christ builds His church. Not out of clones but from individuals who are one in Christ.
‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters’ Rom 8.28 NIV.
We are in a position to make a new start for the church when we can accept the truth that nothing built by human hands is part of the new creation. It is of course part of our life in the first Adam but not of the Second Adam who is Spirit, resurrection and infinite life.
Formulae will not build the church that is Christ but Christ as our life will. Forget the Adamic templates and fleshly formulae. His church is built as His Spirit enlarges and multiplies in the flesh of His people. The fullness of Jesus is seen in His church; seen when His people come from His side as His bride and reproduce Him in people and as the expression of His hands. This is the only kind of work that is alive and multiplies itself into eternity.
Man-made churches are a mostly mechanical example of the flesh come in the flesh. The Church Jesus builds is Christ come in the flesh of His people in Spirit and in truth. This is how we know what is from heaven and what is merely from the earth. As leaders we may create communities that are the expression of the church. But they will contain little spirit and life. Apostolic leaders create churches that are Jesus writ large in people.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 4.6 NIV.
In the scripture above Paul states that competency to minister the Kingdom is never found in an attachment to law, formulae or institutionalism. Our ability to impart life depends on union with God. Apostolic ministry comes from being sons of our Father. This is a new covenant only state of being that is ours simply by receiving Jesus and not some externality as our life. If Christ is in us He will manifest through us. With Christ as our life we will birth sons and daughters alive in Christ. The way to plant churches is to follow Father's plan – by being a son who is planting Jesus. Unless Jesus is what we plant anything we grow will be a weed garden.
'Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds' John 12.24 NIV.
Don't attempt to pick the low-hanging fruit from churches filled with the sons and daughters of God and reduce what they are to a formula to apply in other situations. Christ's Kingdom is of the Spirit and not of the letter. He regards formulaic attempts at church building as pirating the treasure ships sent from the throne room. By this method we can plant tares but we will not harvest sons and daughters of God.
'If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire' 1 Cor 3.14,15 NIV.