The Greek word for church is ekklesia. The meaning of this word goes beyond what you might think. It doesn’t just mean a bunch of people that get together and worship the common God they believe in. It means “called-out ones.”
This is significant because it communicates there’s a place to be called out from and another place to be called into. It means the people who are a part of it have left somewhere and gone somewhere else. Their location has changed.
But their location has changed not because of anything they’ve done or because they themselves have traveled from one place to another. It’s because of who they’ve become. Or more accurately, who they always were.
Where Jesus was from
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is regarded by many scholars to be his magnum opus, his best expression of the purpose of God from an eternal perspective. It’s a look from outside of space and time.
In his very opening words, he says this to the believers whose ears it would reach…
…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will… (1:4-5)
This is an absolutely mind-blowing statement. Paul is suggesting that we were adopted before we were born physically in this world. Before we entered the home that we were first born into, we already belonged to a different home.
Your birth certificate might say you’re from a country on this planet. But if you’re a part of the same family that Jesus Christ is, then you’re from the place that Jesus Christ is from.
Here’s what Jesus said about that…
“You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” (John 8:23)
When you’re not from somewhere, your relationship with it is different than if you were from there. Because Jesus was not from this world, He did not try to change it. The world wouldn’t let Him change it anyway.
The world won’t change
Think about if a non-citizen came to your country and campaigned to change your country. What if their platform was that your way of life should change? What if they said you should obey a different foreign government over and above your own? You think they’d be met with some resistance? Of course they would.
It’s because they don’t belong there. They’re not “one of you.” It’s not even legal for them to hold offices.
Jesus was a foreign citizen bringing a foreign government (God’s Kingdom) to the planet. No wonder He was hated, rejected and killed.
Jesus didn’t change the world’s system. He overcame the world’s system so that people could come out of it and enter a new one. Being adopted by a family from another country means your legal citizenship changes.
Jesus followers walk the same path. They don’t look to change the world. The world has already been overcome and is already doomed. There’s no point in trying to change it. They overcome it and their focus is on helping others overcome it.
Jesus invaded the planet
While they are in the process of doing this, they’re bound to face some hostility from the world. It’s just like if another nation invaded you to take your citizens (I Peter 2:9-11). The Kingdom of God has invaded the planet.
It’s common for Christians to misunderstand this mission. In the book Love Not The World, Watchman Nee called the attempts to mix the world’s system and God’s Kingdom “Christian civilization.” Here’s what he says about it…
Christian civilization is the outcome of an attempt to reconcile the world and Christ. Christian civilization proves that it can mix with the world, and may even be found taking the world’s side in a crisis.
There is one thing, however, that is eternally apart from the world and can never mix with it, and that is the life of Christ. Their natures are mutually antagonistic and cannot be reconciled.
The Kingdom and the world’s system are like oil and water.
There is no formula that can be created that will allow them to intermingle. While we don’t get out of being in the world physically in this lifetime, we are called out of it because we are overcomers of it.
This is the fourth post in the Enemy Blueprints series. Go here to read the rest of the posts in the series.