“…the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,……which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:18, 23
Some while ago I was talking with a friend, a brother whom I respect, and he observed what he thought the future held for his denomination: His prediction wasn’t bright. He believed the organization would eventually loose itself from the fundamental principles to which it has been moored and set sail into uncharted, even ungodly waters.
The suspense novelist Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame, in his earlier book Angels and Demons, wrote a cast of characters who threw into doubt the future of the Church, albeit the Catholic Church. In many people’s point of view, including apparently Mr. Brown’s, the Catholic Church is synonymous with the Body of Christ.
Many Episcopal Christians find themselves thrown into turmoil over recent decisions by their leaders, choices that move them further than ever from the principles they hold true and dear.
How many Pentecostals have lost their way because they thought more highly than they should of leaders who proved they were mere men?
I don’t know the future of the Catholic Church or the Southern Baptist Convention or the Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, or Pentecostal denominations. Their fates will be decided by men. But I am starting, just beginning, to understand the hope of His calling. Of Jesus’ calling in the earth. They calling that began in the countryside of Israel so long ago, where He modeled Spirit-led ministry. It continues through His saints today, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The success of the Lord’s Church doesn’t depend on men and women. It was decided at Calvary when He declared, “It is finished.” We are now His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared a long time ago. This great company, this company of believers, will fulfill God’s purpose that was manifest in Jesus: To destroy the works of the devil. We declare it to our generations. We declare it to the ages to come. That kingdom, that small rock which destroyed the kingdoms of men (Daniel 2:31-35), will expand and grow until the earth is full of its glory. And that, my friends, is contingent on none of us. Not one.
Yet we are invited to be a part, to share in His calling. If we are born of His Spirit we are a part.
Bill Gaither wrote a song, The Church Triumphant. That’s what I believe in. “God has always had a people”. The Church is alive and triumphant because Jesus is alive and triumphant, and always will be. We are not called with our own callings, but with His. To rule and to reign with Him. For Him.
To quote the song, “Let the Church be the Church! Let the people rejoice!”
It’s a new year. It’s a new day. Greet both with joy because Jesus is alive and IT IS FINISHED!