“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.”
Let us carefully and prayerfully read the following, taken from various Scriptures that—woven together—provide a biblical foundation for our faith and our lives of obedience. This is our vision (Chapter 10, MISSIONAL CHURCH).
The [singular] company [made up of and including all who believe, who are together a new creation, residing in one city or region] with one heart and mind (who adhere to and trust in and rely upon Jesus Christ) united, and having everything in common. We steadfastly persevere, devoting ourselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers.
We eagerly and earnestly guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace, acknowledging that [there is] one body and one Spirit—just as there is one hope [that belongs to the calling] they receive. [There is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all.
God does not attach Himself to our desires and ambitions. He attaches us to Himself in baptism. We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life. For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God, at the direction of and in the power of His abiding Spirit].
We have been crucified with Christ [in Him we have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer we who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in us; and the life we now live in the body we live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself up for us. [Therefore, we do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; we do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]. Above all things, having intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. “By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].”
“Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching.”
[This clarification reassures us that Jesus is praying for us. We are included in His passion. And we should be equally passionate for Him and His mission on earth.]
“That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.”
Since all this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away. For if the message given through angels [the Law spoken by them to Moses] was authentic and proved sure, and every violation and disobedience received an appropriate (just and adequate) penalty, how shall we escape [appropriate retribution] if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation [as is now offered to us, letting it drift past us forever]? For, it was declared at first by the Lord [Himself], and it was confirmed to us and proved to be real and genuine by those who personally heard [Him speak]. [Besides this evidence] it was also established and plainly endorsed by God, Who showed His approval of it by signs and wonders and various miraculous manifestations of [His] power and by imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit [to the believers] according to His own will.
“While love is a non-negotiable so equally is orthodox belief, not an either/or option. Christianity is the revelation of God’s mind through propositional statements. The apostolic writings are intensely committed to the absoluteness of truth.”
The church in Jerusalem continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching. For that is the foundation upon which prophets and teachers are to build:
Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], and by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
- Apostles build by wisdom
- Prophets establish by understanding
- Teachers furnish by knowledge
All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!
The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory. [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!
For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]. For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it—[yet] with the hope that nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children.
If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.
For this reason we also, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased to pray and make [special] request for you, [asking] that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things—that you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].
[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy, giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light.
Seven points that summarize the vision:
- Individuals who are walking in the work that God prepared for them
- God’s own people equipped for works of service
- Mature believers fitting together as one new man according to God’s order
- A royal priesthood filling the earth with the glory of God
- A visible holy nation loving one another and glorifying God
- The body of Christ in every city or region constituted and functioning as one
- The kingdom of God fully realized on earth as it is in heaven
“God wants to purify our minds until we can bear all things, believe all
things, hope all things and endure all things. God dwells in you, but you cannot have this divine power until you live and walk in the Holy Ghost, until the power of the new life is greater than the old life.”