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"SAVIORS IN ZION"
"Pastors are the wardens; and their members are the prisoners." - Dr. Sunday Adelaja
It is time to re-define the reason why the body of Christ exists on planet earth. God's intent for establishing the church must not only be understood, but her purpose must be clearly defined in order to appreciate her value and her responsibility in discipling nations, and restoring the earth back to God. The church, as the body of Christ, is the only living, active presence of Jesus Christ in the earth. Without her, God has no voice, no presence and no authority in the world around us. This is why the church must regain her God-given influence and become a meaningful force in the earth.
"Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?" (Haggai 2:3 KJV)
The church is God's visible presence in the world and the only means of mirroring the visibility of God to people in the world. Every Christian should desire to see the church restored to her original glory, to see Christ glorified, lifted up and represented well. Each and every believer has gifts, talents and abilities that are placed inside of them in order to fulfill God's assignment for their life, and ultimately, His kingdom.
The entire world is waiting for God's children to rise up and become saviors and deliverers in the earth (Romans 8:19-22). Christians have been commissioned to deliver mankind and release them from suffering. Everyone living without God is suffering, and only the children of God possess the power that can destroy evil in the world. As long as people remain in bondage to sin and futility, their sorrow and suffering will remain. There are people waiting to be delivered, waiting to be set free from the humiliation and shame of sin. Whether people recognize it or not, everyone is trying to find God, and everyone needs God and His life-giving power. This is where Christians come in. No one has ever seen God, but the body of Christ, the church, is His visible presence in the earth. Even as Jesus came to reveal the Father, believers are to reveal Christ to a world that desperately needs Him. People need the freedom that comes from God, true spiritual freedom, and as citizens of the Kingdom of God, ambassadors for Christ, believers are the saviors to the world. Now is the time to become jealous for Zion and the glory of her King, and to finish the assignment that Jesus Christ has given to the church.
"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:27 KJV)
"The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold." (Psalms 45:13 KJV)
Too many Christians have been locked up within the four walls of the church and limited in their ability to become true saviors in the world today. The church of Jesus Christ is not meant to be a place where people attend, render service or financial assistance and then go back to their own lives. The church today has become an amoeba church. An amoeba is a one celled organism that lives for itself; it does not have the capacity to reproduce. They are shapeless and formless, and this explains why the church is not the pillar she was designed to be. The church has become one dimensional, and withdrawn herself from the world she was intended to penetrate. The church is currently the least influential organization, because it abides alone, when she was designed to be the greatest.
This is not the picture or blueprint of the church that was left by Jesus Christ. God is building a glorious church. This glory starts from within and shines out with the sole intent of revealing who the Savior really is. This church is to be living and vibrant, full of beauty and purity, full of power and authority, with a heart to serve humanity. She is made up of men and women, of all ages and ethnicities, who carry the mandate of revealing Christ to the world by taking on His character and values and living them out in everyday life as the salt of the earth.
THE GLORY AND INFLUENCE OF THE CHURCH
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:2-3 KJV)
The above passage is a clear blueprint of God's intent for His church. Here the church is compared to a mountain that is established above all other mountains, which means that nothing in this world should compare to the influence of the church. Her influence is to exceed far beyond any other institution or organization in the world. Mountains and hills represent these institutions, but the church is designed to exceed them all in glory. She is to be a shining light to all the nations of the earth, a city set on a hill for all to see. Her influence is to be known and felt throughout the four corners of the earth.
If this is the intent and plan of God, why is this not the present condition of the church? Why are other organizations seemingly more reputable and relied upon by the world? God has not been unfaithful in doing His part; it is because the church has not captured the deeper meaning of the Great Commission, which is, that saviors and deliverers are to be raised as the salt of the earth, in the church, and released into the world to preserve society from decay. This is the only way not to be trampled under the feet of men. The church's impact in transforming people and culture should be second to none. Zion, in the scriptures, speaks of the church, and she will once again regain her God-given responsibility of teaching nations the principles of God's kingdom, which will cause them to be primarily concerned with walking in His ways.
"And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." (Isaiah 2:3 KJV)
As the light of the world, the church will radiate God's glory and the nations of the earth will be drawn to her light. The brighter her light shines, and the more influence she carries, the nations of the world will be attracted to her and the values she represents. The beauty of Christ will be the force behind her influence, and as the sun lightens the day, so shall the church lighten the earth with the glory of her King.
"Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following." (Psalms 48: 2, 12-13 KJV)
In God's eyes, the church is the joy of the whole earth. Isn't this an amazing thought? That the church has the capacity to bring joy and satisfaction to every heart? God has elevated and beautifully positioned her for the entire world to see. She is not insignificant, nor is she invisible. In fact, the church is so valuable that the world can't exist or survive without her. Her towers, bulwarks and palaces represent her structures, principles and value-systems; they are worth emulating. They are superior to the failing systems of this world. The world should learn from the church, rather than her adapting to the trends of the world. No other organization or institution has the capacity to produce her works or to deeply transform the lives of people. Only those who are born of God, those who possess His "DNA" as His children, can inherit His characteristics. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope for the world.
THE STRENGTH AND DOMINION OF THE CHURCH
"The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." (Psalms 110:2 KJV)
The Lord will rule over the kingdoms and systems of this world through His body - the church. All enemies to the cross of Christ will be subdued, and it is through God's people that the power of God will be revealed like never before. "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians 3:10 KJV). There is going to be a display of the wisdom of God manifesting in a tangible form that is far superior to the wisdom of this world. This wisdom will manifest in superior sciences, solving global crisis, and this key is in the hands of the church. No force in this world will match that of the church, and the preeminence of Christ will be visible in all spheres of society.
"They go from strength to strength; every one of them in Zion appeareth before God." (Psalms 84:7 KJV)
The power of heaven will drive the operations of the church, as Christ Himself stands behind the church as her very source of strength. She will always experience an upward and forward movement. Her momentum will be unstoppable and she will triumph victoriously over the world's system. With God's ability at work in Zion, nothing will be able to stand in her way of achieving her glorious destiny, which is raising saviors that carry the kingdom culture of Jesus Christ.
THE BEAUTY AND EXCELLENCE OF THE CHURCH
"Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah." (Psalms 87:3 KJV)
There is a beauty and excellence that will accompany the church and her fame will reach all corners of the earth. Her exploits will be known throughout the nations and they will know of her God. This beauty and excellence will exalt her King and show that the God in the midst of her is mighty. The nations of the world will speak her praise and publish her works throughout the earth. The church's influence will astonish the minds of men and shut the mouth of the prideful. Then her glory will be restored and the Lord will reign through her.
"And of Zion it shall be said, this and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her." (Psalms 87:5 KJV)
Everyone who is born in her will be distinguished with excellence. They will dwell in a class of their own and function as true ambassadors of the kingdom of God. They will be distinct in every way, for they are born of God. Christians will be known by their results and proofs and they will be known as a people who are not of this world.
"The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined." (Psalms 50:1-2 KJV)
God is calling the earth back to Himself through the church. When the world sees the beauty of Zion, they will see the true beauty of God. What makes the church beautiful is what also made Christ beautiful. His values and virtues will reveal the emptiness and futility of the world and draw them to Himself. This is why believers must be clothed with the beauty of His life, character and love if they are to remain relevant and not lose their saltiness in the world. Nothing is as beautiful as Christ, so children of God must engulf themselves in Him. They must put on Christ Jesus. "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal 3:27 KJV). The world must see Jesus living and flowing through His followers. The objective of all church activities should be centered on Christ and the cause of His kingdom, which is to have Christ revealed to us, in us and ultimately through us.
WHY THE CHURCH EXISTS
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ ..." (Ephesians 4:11-13 KJV)
The church can easily be compared to a training center, a place where Christians are taught and developed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. The primary responsibility of every local church is to raise saviors who can impact and transform their environment with the character of King and the values of His kingdom. These are people who can take what they have learned and apply it and live it out in their daily lives. The mindset the church should carry is that Sundays are for training, and ministry is what she does Monday through Saturday.
"And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's." (Obadiah 1:21 KJV)
The maturity of believers is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Maturity is what provides a platform for Christians to transform the world. As they become more like Christ, possess His character and values, they are able to live beyond themselves and bring change to their environment. Only those who have "put on Christ" can give the world a true visibility of the life of God.
Listed below are some erroneous concepts that exist in regards to the church. Now please understand that they are not all wrong, or bad, but these mindsets do not capture the full picture of the church's purpose. Each one, when viewed separately, does not provide an accurate view of the body of Christ, and as a result, the church is not in a position to fulfill the mandate of the Great Commission that she will be held accountable for.
Some think the church exists simply to increase membership
Some think the church exists to promote a specific denomination
Some view the church as a charitable organization
Some think the church is for weak people
Some think it is a place for spiritual experiences or breakthroughs
Some view it is a place where great messages are taught
Some view it as a place of fellowship or a support system
Some view it as something they are "supposed" to do as a Christian
Some think it is a place to gain an identity or self-worth
Some view the church as an organization that takes care of Christians and as a result remain inward focused
As I said before, not all of these are bad or wrong, but at the same time none of these viewpoints are the PRIMARY purpose of the church. The primary purpose is to raise saviors who can impact and transform the world with the values of the Kingdom of God. All of the above concepts are a means to an end. The church grows to gain influence, the church takes in the weak to make them strong, the church teaches the Word so it can be applied and lived out, the church ministers to its own so they can minister to others outside the four walls. Everything is focused beyond the church building, becoming externally focused, becoming the salt of the earth and the light of the world. This is the only way the church can pass through fire and receive a reward.
Excerpted from The Salt Factor by Sino Agueze Copyright © 2010 by Sino Agueze. Excerpted by permission.
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