In a previous LEAD 2015 session, Pr Eddy Leo shared that Christianity is a love relationship with God and our neighbours. In order to be good soil towards this, we need to have a renewed mind and a transformed heart. In a later session, Pr Eddy shared about the mystery of the Trinity, and what it meant in the context of God’s eternal purpose.
The Mystery of the Trinity
In Colossians 1:27-29, Paul writes of endeavoring to fulfill the task of stewardship that God had given him over the Colossian church. Paul was addressing the Colossian church as a whole, but he was not just responsible for this specific church. He was tasked with the same responsibility over all the churches he had founded.
Among the task of this stewardship was a primary one, related to a mystery that God had revealed to His people through the glory of Christ Jesus. What was this mystery of Christ? Through Christ, God revealed Himself as the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). Pertinent to this revelation, God wants to build His dwelling place among His people.
Pr Eddy explained that this was not merely in a personal context, but also in a shared context such as in a community. It is something that many people still struggle with. Many other faith or philosophical systems believe in a God that is so holy and highly set above men, that the very thought of Him wanting to dwell among men seem a sacrilege or blasphemy. Furthermore, coming from this perspective, the Trinity does not make sense.
Yet the Word of God tells us that He had (even before Creation), still is, and forever will exist in a Trinity. Even before Creation itself, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost had existed in the Trinity. The Book of Genesis tells us that the Spirit of God moved over the waters (Genesis 1:2) and in John 1:1, we learn that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Later, the Word would become flesh and dwell among men (John 1:14).
What does this mean, especially for us in the context of His Church?
In John 17:22, Jesus said that He had come, so that the glory God had given Him will also be given to believers. This is so that we may become one, just as Christ and God is one. God had always existed throughout eternity in this Trinity of mutual indwelling; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In the Trinity, there was a glory of total unity, complete and in one heart.
There was a tightly-knitted relationship existing even before Creation. When the world was created, God had already purposed for men to share this same type of absolute relationship with Him (Genesis 1:26). This absolute connection was to be founded in a one-heart community, both with God and among ourselves.
God was Love and He created us with love. Sadly, this was torn when Adam sinned against God and a separation took place between men and God. When Christ came for the first time, it was for the purpose of restoring this glory of unity between God and men. The glory was to be accomplished through Christ Jesus on Calvary. It was a plan by God for the redemption of men and the restoration of the Trinity-type relationship between Him and us.
What does this mean for the Church of Christ?
Paul was intentional when he wrote this way to the church at Colossi. How did he build up the house of God? First, he explained the eternal purpose of God that had been revealed through Christ Jesus. The Church was to be a community that practiced the one-another lifestyle like the Trinity with Christ dwelling in and among His people.
Pr Eddy shared that many of the churches today has lost their focus and become institutions or enterprises. He communicated that the church needs to come back to the meaning of community. The goal of discipleship is not to train marketing executives, but to restore people to a relationship with God, with an innate obedience to His commandments. The meaning of baptism is an outward declaration of intention; to join the house of God. Jesus’ greatest commandment to Christians is to love God and one another. The context of discipleship is in community.
Secondly, Paul practiced a one-on-one discipleship approach (1 Thessalonians 2:11; Acts 20:31). Why? Pr Eddy revealed that studies have shown, that one of the most effective methods that will produce change and leadership, is on a one-on-one basis. Sole big meetings, without smaller group meet-ups, have been shown to produce zero change in people. In groups of people that have changed, small group meetings have produced 10%, and one-on-one discipleship has produced an astounding 90% transformation.
Pr Eddy illustrated this. Imagine if we were to spray a hose at a group of bottles, some with caps still on. How long would we take to fill up those bottles? Now imagine if every bottle was filled with a tap dedicated to it. How long would it take to fill those bottles up?
The Church as a Community
The Church was symbolized in the Bible through 3 main metaphors; the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:11-17), the Family of God (Ephesians 2:18-19), and the Temple of God (Ephesians 2:21-22). Each of these can only be practiced in a community, where people are connected to one another, and where the one-another lifestyle becomes a way of life.
What is the Body of Christ? The Body of Christ is the expression of God through His Church. Pr Eddy shared about the Corporate Christ to illustrate this. In a human body, the head is what gives us life. It is the control center of our bodies, and related to it is the brain, mind, and spirit. The brain is the hardware, the mind the software, the spirit the energy or electricity that gives life.
In the Body of Christ, God the Father as the center and Creator is the brain, Christ as the Word of revelation and wisdom is the mind, and the Holy Spirit that gives life is the spirit. Together, the Trinity God is the invisible control center of the Body of Christ.
Christ has called His Church to be His visible expression, and He can only be expressed fully if all the members of His Body are fully connected with Him (the head) and are fully functioning. One member of the body (church or cell group) cannot express the whole of a person (Jesus). In order for the world to see Christ through His Church, we need to train each member of the Body so that they become healthy. We need to disciple each other so that every one of us is connected in a personal relationship with Christ.
The second metaphor is that of the Family of God. God has a Father’s heart, and as believers redeemed by Him, we are His children. In the fullness of God, He has given each of us Spiritual gifts. In His family, there is a diversity of gifts but we belong to the same Father, different ministries but serving the same Lord, and different activities but all under the same God (1 Corinthians 12).
The third metaphor is the Temple of God. While this obviously speaks of a holy God, there is also another connotation. How do we build up or become the Temple of God? God has called us to different roles and ministries and each one are dependent upon the other (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Some are called to look for new materials (evangelical), some to chisel the raw materials (teachers), some to unite the bricks as one body or community (pastoral care), some in charge of the blueprint (apostolic ministry), and others over the quality control (prophetic ministry through edification, exhortation, and exaltation). These roles need not be official ones within the church, but God has also assigned such responsibilities in the marketplace. Along with these ministries, God has also given us skills and tools to build up His Temple.
God has purposed for His Church to be restored to a complete relationship with Him and among its members, one that is founded on the same unity within the Trinity. Throughout the Bible, we see God’s eternal purpose for His Church, to be in community that is inclusive, and with a totality in its context and meaning.
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– Jason Law