YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION…
“You say you want a revolution. Well you know, we all want to change the world” (Beatles, White Album). John and Paul, not the apostles, but the Beatles, spoke of a revolution that would take place without wanton destruction and without the suppression of freedom and liberty, and a revolution ushered in by “love” (“all you need is love, love is all you need”). Noble optimism fed and under girded by a culture of drugs, licentiousness and irresponsibility. Not exactly the freedom that is offered in Christ! When we are talking about the Body of Christ being a revolutionary community we are speaking of the radical love of God deposited in man and sharpened through the mutual interaction of other men and women. C.S. Lewis penned one of his classics, The Four Loves in which he expounded on the four loves that are need to complete a healthy personality. These are phylios (brotherly affection, friendship), storge (instinctual love, maternal), eros (sexual love) and agape (godly love). We need ALL of these in order to become a complete and whole person. We need these to materialize in our families, between spouses, and as they do they will effect radical change in their children and in their friends and communities of the Spirit.
The REVOLUTION I speak of is the revolution the Beatles missed out on. Paul (the apostle) would have told Paul (the Beatle), ‘Hey Bro! You missed the mark!’ It is a radical revolution of the Spirit in which the love of God deposited in us, fires up a love of others as brothers and sisters (phylios) and motivates nurture and care for one another (storge), and the result strengthens marriages (eros), and further deepens the love of God in each of us as we gather under the headship of Jesus (agape).
If we are to move ahead in these days of relational redemptive community, then it will have to be energized by these four loves in the people of God. We are going to have to operate in a level of love most of us have not yet truly tasted or experienced. This alone, the love of God in us manifesting in the friendship, and acceptance of others, and in truly nurturing and holding in close community, is what is at the forefront of this revolution. We truly need this revolution!
If we are truly to move forward, as the Body of Christ we need to lay hold of the foundation upon which our faith is built. It is built on the love of our Father, our Creator, who made us for relationship with Him. It is based on the friendship of the Son, who as the only mediator between God and man, came and told His first followers, still speaks to us today, ‘I call your friends, not servants!’ This is the foundation of our Christianity, that we were created to be friends with God and with one another, and that friendship is firmly grounded on the love of God that is in us and flows through us. Love, friendship, and community, are the cornerstones of this kind of revolutionary simple Christian community.
What would friendships be, if it were simply based on the work of the Kingdom? The friendships would be shallow and would not last the times of trial and adversity that we all face on a daily basis. What sustains our communities is the revolutionary concept that is often overlooked or minimized, and that is the role that nurture plays in our revolutionary friendships.
The traditional church would have you believe because of its teaching and structures that nurture is the role of pastors and counselors. This is the furthest thing from the biblical paradigm of the New Testament radical Christian communities. The role and function of nurture is found in all believers who possess Christ. The traditional view sees the need for professionals with training, be it the overworked pastor or some kind of specifically trained Christian counselor, to help and assist in nurturing and healing the hearts and the resolving the problems of the saints within their perceived sphere of responsibility.
The New Testament is clear. All believers who are genuinely converted by the atoning work of Christ possess within them the seal of salvation, which is the very Spirit of Christ. The indwelling Christ within each person has the fullness of Christ within them, and that INCLUDES ALL the servant leadership gifts we read of in Ephesians 4, apostle (one sent with a message), prophet (one who speaks the mind of God), teacher (one who teaches revelation truth under the unction of the Spirit), pastor (one who shepherds and guides others, as a shepherd keeps the sheep out of danger and along the safe path), and evangelist (one who bears good news).
We can clearly see the fullness of all these functions are found in the Lord Jesus. Beloved, if Christ dwells in you, you possess His fullness, and have the full measure of the Spirit, which means you have within you the deposit of these five grace gifts. As Paul iterates about the Spirit, he declares that it is the Spirit which gives out the measure and fullness of the gifts as He so chooses. This occurs in given times and circumstances. I have had borne out in the lives of others and my own repeated testimonies of people who operated in a spiritual gift that they did not know they had until the appointed time it was needed. This is how the Spirit works. Beloved, you have within you ALL these grace gifts.
Another factor in the operation of these gifts is that they will mature as believers mature in live and in their walk with the Lord. As you are seasoned in life, your character changes and is transformed by the indwelling Christ. Each and every trial and adversity transforms you from within. The more you die to the self, the more you are resurrected in supernatural life and power and the grace within you, those servant leadership gifts, they too begin to function and have greater manifestation of love and power as you yield to the Spirit.
Why am I taking you on this path? Simple really. All to say that nurturing is the responsibility of the WHOLE BODY, for as we all possess the full measure of Christ, Christ speaks and ministers to the body through ALL the members come together under His headship. As we mutually submit to Him and to one another, true nurture and healing flows and people who are moved by compassion and a deep passion for the Lord, they too will flow in the healing of the love and friendship of God. They will deepen in their love for God and for one another, and they will know the essence of nurturing as the Father manifests the nurturing love of the Son in and through each one.
We cannot know revolutionary nurture apart from one another. Nurture is expressed in the radical nature of community that is founded on the love of the Father, revealed by the Spirit and expressed through the compassion of the Son. As we mutually submit and see each person mutually submit, we will see true nurture and love manifest within our simple revolutionary fellowships.
If we truly embrace this place of love the Father has always had for us, not only will we know the revolutionary nurture He so much wants to see manifested in His Kingdom, but we will understand the revolutionary marriages that He has always intended us to know and have.
Many within the body of Christ have relegated marriage as that divine institution that is intended for us here on earth, but if you look at the essence of marriage we realize that from the very beginning we were never designed to be alone. God intended our marriages to reflect His heart and His passion. He wanted heaven to be on earth and to reflect and to manifest His love, in all our relationships and activities. This is relational, redemptive and revolutionary on all levels and depths of life we can know.
In Ephesians 5 Paul speaks of Christ and love He has for the church in the analogy of marriage. Many preachers, including myself when I was in the church system, used this analogy to paint a rosy picture of how holy marriage is in the eyes of God, when we would read the vowes to the new couple.
I have come to realize that the true context of the passage has more to reveal the intent of the heart of the Father in desiring marriages to illustrate His desire for deep committed relationship that is intimate and passionate and pure. Our sexual lives reveal more about our attitudes and our hearts than anything else. The Lord desires to redeem these parts of our lives and integrate them and cleanse and heal them, so that we will not only have radical holy marriages with our spouses. This is only secondary, but that we will come to realize that He views us, individually AND corporately as His body, as His bride. He not only insinuates intimacy, but advocates and encourages radical revolutionary intimacy that is known for being full of passion and fruitfulness. The fruitfulness (the labour for the Kingdom) flows FROM the passion and intimate life we have in Him. We cannot truly be fruitful apart from the revolutionary marriage we have as the Bride with the Son! It cannot be any other way. And whe we have this in each of our hearts and lives, it is THEN that our earthly marriages will be transformed, and will truly be revolutionary in comparison to what we have previously known. We will then truly become a COUNTER CULTURAL COMMUNITY!
REVOLUTIONARY DIVINE ROMANCE
It all boils down to this divine romance. God is a jealous LOVER looking for those He loves to love Him back! He is not looking for a quick make out session of unbridled passion in the back seat of a car! He is looking for the long lasting revolutionary romance that He has desired for since before the beginning of time. It has always been His heart to have a passionate intimate relationship with us. This is revolutionary. It is counter to what traditional church speaks and lives. The traditional church is obsessed with image, obsessed with the work of the Kingdom (its understanding of what they THINK is the work of the Kingdom), obsessed with everything from budgets and buildings and ministries. All of it is done in the name of the Lord, but like the lover left outside the door in the Song of Songs, more often than not, the people within realize too late, that the Lover was waiting, and no one answered the door! When the door is opened, too often all that remains is the scent of His presence (Song of Songs 5:2-7), and then the longing of having missed Him! Too often we only realize we have missed Him, when He is departed.
When the Lord comes as a Lover, let us hearken unto the whisper of His voice. He beckons us to come and draw near, NOT TO WORK FOR HIM! He calls us to LOVE HIM and to LOVE ONE ANOTHER! WE TOGETHER, are called to this revolutionary divine romance! The Lord is looking for LOVERS and not DOERS only! There will always be more than enough doing to be done! But there will never be enough LOVERS! Come Beloved let us LOVE GOD and LOVE ONE ANOTHER, as He designed us to be! Let us forsake what we have known, and let us enter into the revolutionary divine romance!