God’s eternal purpose Part IV

This is our fourth article concerning God’s Eternal Purpose.  We close this series today by discussing God’s eternal purpose  and The Church.  We noted last time from Ephesians 3:9-11 that the manifold wisdom of God has been made known by the church in accord with God’s Eternal Purpose.  Ephesians 3:9-11 (KJV) ⁹ “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: ¹⁰To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, ¹¹According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:” Notice carefully God’s purpose for the church was so that Heaven and earth alike would be able to see and know the manifold, multi-colored wisdom of God.  The church was in God’s eternal purpose for the uniting of all in one body and for declaring God’s manifold wisdom to the world.  We praise God for His infinite wisdom and for working such a wonderful purpose.  
The Apostle Paul declared that the church is the body of Christ.  Obviously, this refers to a spiritual body and not His earthly flesh.   Note Ephesians 1:22-23 “. . .the church, which is His body. . .”  It was in this body that Jews and Gentiles were united in Christ.   James, Elder of the church in Jerusalem, acknowledged that bringing Gentiles into this fellowship which Paul called “the church, which is His body,”    was a fulfillment of the prophecies concerning Jews and Gentiles being in one body:  Acts 15:13-17 (KJV) ¹³ “And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: ¹⁴ Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. ¹⁵ And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, ¹⁶ After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: ¹⁷ That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.”  The Lord’s intent to rebuild the ruins of the tabernacle of David is seen as fulfilled in the First Century when the church was established (Acts 2:47) and when Gentiles along with Jews were added to the Lord’s body, the church.  Our Premillennial friends are expecting the Lord to come back to earth at the end of this world and rebuild this tabernacle.  James disagrees with them and tells us that the establishment of the church, the body of Christ, along with the bringing in of the Gentiles, was the fulfillment of this prophecy.   
The word church is a rendering of the Greek word “ecclesia.”  Literally, “ecclesia” is from a compound word, “ek” - meaning “out of” and “kaleo” - meaning “to call.”  Thus, when we speak of the church, Biblically we are referring to “the called out ones,” called out of the world and into the body of Christ.  Since the church is made up of the “called-out” ones who have been separated from the world of sin, it is the very visible expression of God’s manifold wisdom and purpose in redeeming man from the curse of sin and uniting Jews and Gentiles in One Body – (Eph. 2:16).
The church was no afterthought when the Jews rejected Jesus’ Kingdom, as some proclaim.  It was a part of the eternal plan.  Nor is it a temporary expedient intended to prepare man for the final establishment of an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem in some future millennium.  Rather, it is the body in which the Heavenly Father culminates His divine purpose in uniting man and redeeming him from sin.  This basis of understanding will help us analyze the subject of God’s kingdom – not as something yet to come in the future, but as very real and present today, in the form of the church.  There is no indication from Scripture that the Jews rejected an earthly kingdom which Jesus offered them — for in fact He did not offer them one to reject!  To the contrary, they would have eagerly received an earthly reign in Jerusalem if Jesus had offered to overthrow the Roman yoke and restore David’s physical throne.  This they were longing for.  Sadly, they rejected God’s eternal purpose that the church, a spiritual kingdom, would be established.

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