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14
Jul

Of One Mind

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All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.” -Acts 4.32

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” -Philippians 2.1 & 2

“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” -1 Peter 3.8

Be of one mind. It seems as though we have come a long way away from the early church for of all the things we can easily say about the church of today it is that we are not of one mind. In that age there was only one body of believers, no divisions of Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Methodist, Baptist, Anabaptist, Lutheran, Anglican and on and on it goes. It was either believer or not. Brother or not. Christ follower or not. Is it possible to return to such criteria? To again see the church as a unified body of believers found in buildings of all kinds? To be of one mind? I would argue that it is. But first we must build on the foundation of solid theology. For if we do not all have the grounding of God’s vision and purpose we will inevitably go in different directions.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. We’ve all heard the rest, right? Or have we really heard? He who has ears, let him hear. Our story begins with Paradise. The Garden of Eden. Where all was well and God walked with man. No sin, no struggle, no death. Our story also begins with identity. Image-bearer. Human, agent of God in God’s world. Finally man is given a commission. Fill the earth and subdue it. Be God’s stewards, working out his purposes throughout the earth. But of course the Fall comes and the destruction is immeasurable. Ever since that moment in time, humans have wrestled in an attempt to return to Paradise because the broken pieces have left their mark. We see the remnants, we taste just enough to long for it. We are still image bearers, we still hear the commission. But when man sinned a great divorce occurred. God created the heavens and the earth and there was no barrier. Yet with one choice the curtain was drawn and heaven was divorced from the earth. If this were our beginning and our end then God’s purpose would have failed, the enemy would have won. But he didn’t.

The scriptures go on to tell us more of the story. Our story. How Abraham was chosen to bring forth a people to be stewards of an inheritance. Israel. Set apart to bring God’s name to the nations. Reflect the Creator into the world. But of course they failed, over and over again. Instead of being obedient and fulfilling God’s purpose, they listened to the world and to the evil lurking within their own hearts. But God continues to keep his promises and the story continues to unfold. King David is given a promise, echoing the promise in Genesis and the one to Abraham. “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.” Kingdom. This was the yearning of generations of Israelites who had been exiled to Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem. The prophets spoke often of God’s Kingdom. How justice would rule, how peace would reign, how it would never fall. And God would be among them. The return to Paradise. 

Hundreds of years later a man appears announcing God’s Kingdom. In this Kingdom the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. (Matthew 11.4) Finally, the Kingdom is on the brink of breaking through. The Messiah has come to establish his reign. But it doesn’t pan out like they expected. The triumphal entry doesn’t continue into celebration. It turns into slaughter. The Messiah, instead of defeating the rulers who oppressed God’s people, succumbs to them. But this is what they didn’t get. There can be no realization of God’s Kingdom without the solution of the original problem. Heaven and earth are still divorced. The evil that split the two had to be done away with. Evil’s power must be exhausted upon the perfect sacrifice.

The Jews built the Temple so that God would live among them. Heaven and earth met in the Holy of Holies. To the Jews, God’s Kingdom requires a Temple for God to dwell and yet Jesus says “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2.19) And he did. The curtain that separated heaven and earth was split in two and the knitting of dimensions begins. (Matthew 27.51) For now heaven and earth are met in the body of Jesus the Christ. His resurrection marks the beginning of mankind’s redemption as image bearers. Our journey towards God’s purpose. And by faith we join the journey. 

So here we are. Stationed at our own posts in the story. Are we like the believers of the early church, who were fixated on the final culmination of God’s Kingdom? The ultimate and complete reunion of Heaven and earth? If we were, I believe we would be of one mind. We would follow the footsteps of Christ who paved the way no matter the cost. The eschatology of God is the fulfillment of all his promises. There will be a wedding, where Christ is the groom and the church is his bride. No more divorce. Heaven and earth will be reunited and The New Earth shall be our inheritance to live out our original commission.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21.1-4

 

 

Recommended Reading:

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

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