YOU AND THE FATHER
The Kingdom of God is never the negation of life. It is always its multiplication. Just as all that is came forth from the Father, so the new creation is found in the Father and the Son today.
'Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation' Gal 6.15 NIV.
We can be as busy as we like. But what counts is a new creation. The Kingdom of God began with Jesus. It begins in the same place today. Father placed His Son in the earth. Today Jesus plants 'sons' - people whose life is Christ where He means them to be. The church Jesus builds is none other than the multiplication of Himself in people. His apostolic people are those who may say without presumption, "I and my Father are one." Genuine church planting centers on the planting of Jesus. When Father plants Jesus through His sons He is planting trees of life who bear much Kingdom fruit. The difference between a Christian Industry and the Kingdom of heaven is the difference between death and life. Christ alive in His people is the new creation.
'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!' 2 Cor 5.7 NIV.
Sons of God live continually in their real identity and purpose because Christ is their life and they are in the Father. Sons live in union with the Father, are privy to His thoughts and purposes. They do all that He plans for them to do. His over-arching plan is to bring all things together in Christ. This is already so in the Spirit. Our privilege is to manifest this reality on earth - as sons who are a kingdom of priests.
'And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth' Eph 1.10 NLT
I was reading Frank Viola some time back and observed, or rather took careful note of a remark of his about house churches. These are not his exact words, rather a paraphrase of what I saw as his intent. I filed it away in my mind because I had already come to the same conclusion. He observed that many house churches lacked Kingdom Potency because they were 'not apostolic.' They were, so to speak just there, being a new form of church yet being rather ineffectual. Jesus purpose was not first and foremost to create a church where once there was a temple. It was to birth sons who would generate the new creation.
I have been to India several times and ministered there with pastors and apostles who plant house churches and small fellowships. None of them 'plant' a structure that we know as 'a church.' They commission an ordinary person in whom is the Spirit of Jesus. Often this will be a person who has experienced our Lord's healing power. This person invites people to His house. They get healed of their diseases and enter a new life in Jesus. He is an apostolic person. This is not just a gospel of talk but of power. I know of a girl who was raised from the dead. People are left in no doubt that God is real because Jesus has healed their bodies and souls.
In the natural father's produce sons. Good, well balanced father's mentor and mature wise and life-giving sons who make good fathers. But many of us struggle as sons and then as fathers because our nurture has been deficient or abusive. Nevertheless we have a Father in heaven who lives in us and with us on earth. We experience healing from the inside because Father has come to live in us.
To see Jesus is to see the Father and to have Jesus as our life is to be in the Father and fellowshipping with Him. It is healing and beneficial to ask Father to make up to us that which has been lost to us as a result of our journey in the world. Father restores what the Father of lies took away. In this life. Love is stronger than hate and hope more powerful than despair. Father lives for the nurture of His sons. Jesus lives to impart the Spirit of sonship and the sons of God live in the Son of God to bring glory to His name. I am intent on emphasizing the critical nature of Christ as our life.
Religious motions cannot produce fathers, sons or the life of God. Many who lead have not been birthed and mentored by people who are themselves sons in that they have not been joined intimately to the Father. Not a few leaders are entirely un-regenerated. How can such people call the fathers to the sons and the sons to the fathers. All of this starts in Father. If we know Jesus we know the Father.
The first step in creating sons rather than churches is to take up our position in God were we learn to be a son. It is sons who have been loved and purified by Father who are equipped to father others. They are empowered to participate in Christ's work of creating sons and daughters for God. Many have the ability to create a church. Fewer have the ability to nurture sons to maturity because they have not been sons themselves. They have been workers. Yet the inheritance of all is to be a son/daughter of God. All Believers have an inheritance as sons of the free woman.
'Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman' Gal 4.31 NIV.
Sons grow out of our Father. Jesus was one with the Father. He worked to secure this inheritance for all. We have a place in Father's heart entirely on account of Jesus and His accomplishments. We have not earned it. He earned it. Father's heart is our home, our place of nurture and maturation. To live in the new covenant is to be a new creation, a new person with a new name who Father's others our of His experience of sonship. Sons come forth from their Father. Sonship is realised in the Spirit because Christ is our life. Sonship is imparted and mentored by Father Himself and those who are sons in spirit and in truth. Sons are one with the Father as Jesus was. Since Jesus is their life they have His authority and life. Sons continue what Jesus began in resurrection power. They minister new creation life into the social and physical sphere. With Jesus in them they are Christ come in the flesh.
The life of fathers in The Father is not notional but experiential. It is formed in the spirit of sonship with humility, faith and love. Just as all that is came from the Father, so the new creation comes forth from Jesus who was begotten by the Father to create sons for God. There is a line of life that flows from Father, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit and holy angels into holy men and women of God to produce sons for God. It is sons who release the new creation.
'Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them' Acts 6.3 NIV.
The essence of the Kingdom of God is family. Church as usual will not do. New forms of church will not create a kingdom of priests. But a life in Christ will. Christ our life is a life in the Father. Christ our life is His Kingdom in the world because this Kingdom is the family of sons. Just as Jesus was the human face of the Father so Believers are the human face of Jesus and the sons of their Father. In themselves churches, busy work and miracles do not create the Kingdom. 'I and my Father are one,' is His kingdom in spirit and in truth.
A major apostolic work is the removal of false doctrine and the revealing of the glory of Christ. We cannot be sons and daughters if we live in myths and misconceptions about who God is and the nature of what He has done. The apostle's work is to remove lies about God, undo the slanders the Enemy has made about the Father and crack off the encrustations of religion that have been added to Him by self-serving people or those who have been content to live robbed. I mean robbed in some extra identity or addition/subtraction regarding the apostles doctrine. An apostle will allow nothing to dim the glory of Jesus or detract from His life-giving capability. Apostles reveal the glory of Jesus and the love of our Father. Steeped in Him they reveal Him as He is and in doing so affirm who Believers are: Sons and daughters of God.
OUR FATHER IS THE GARDNER
While the role of the apostle has been misrepresented and cheapened in some situations, we should not overlook the fact that it is foundational. Foundational because the apostolic grounds people as seeds in the Person of our Father. Here they shoot and grow as trees of life to be the fruit that nurtures a famished world. Father really is the Gardener. Just as all creation came forth from the Father, all that is genuinely the new creation does the same. James Malone in The Dancing Heart of God writes,
'One could equally argue ''first apostles, then prophets,
etc." In fact, the word "first" is the Greek proton (Strong's #4412),
as in prototype, implying a building block for an atomic release of
molecules designed of first protons, then neutrons, then electrons.
The initial building of God's Church is rooted in the foundation of
apostles and prophets for the dynamics of Church-life, with Christ
being the chief Cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20) In other words, the
Law of First Things dictates that the apostolic and prophetic
function in a church must first be established fully in order to
facilitate the release of the other expressions. This was the way it
was in the early Church, and as God is restoring, it is to be released
in these days, too.'