A gracEmail subscriber requests some discussion here about “revolutionary” people, power and purpose, the titles of my classes at the March 2009 Tulsa International Soul-Winning Workshop.
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The magnificent Salisbury Cathedral in southern England was build over a period of hundreds of years. During the process, an observer watched two workers break large rocks into smaller pieces for the stone sculptors. “What are you doing?” he asked the first man, who boringly replied, “I am breaking rocks.” Then the visitor asked the second worker the same question. With a great smile he proudly exclaimed, “I am building a cathedral!” Even revolutionary people energized by revolutionary power need a revolutionary purpose to ennoble their labor and to provide perspective for their lives. Before we see what that purpose is, we need to dispel some faulty substitutes that it is not.
Our revolutionary purpose is not to fulfill our personal needs. Jesus calls us to die to self and to find new life in him (Mark 8:34-38). In actual fact, personal needs are met most for those people who devote themselves to serving others — God first, and then the neighbor. Second, our grand purpose is not the “success” of a specific local church. A given church may grow or shrink, it may wither and die, and God’s great agenda not be affected in the least (2 Cor. 4:5-10). Third, the purpose that gives our lives meaning is not the preservation or prosperity of our particular denomination, nondenominational fellowship or Christian tribe (Luke 9:49-50). In my own circles, there is considerable concern regarding the future of the Churches of Christ. The truth is that God doesn’t need the Churches of Christ, or the [fill in your group’s name] either. He will accomplish his purpose with or without our groups, but our groups will have no meaningful future apart from God’s purpose.
From Genesis through Revelation we learn God’s revolutionary purpose. It is nothing less than this: to restore a fallen creation, finally summing up the whole universe in Jesus Christ, to the glory of God’s grace. To this end, God reconciled sinful humankind to himself in the person of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-21). Not only that, he also reconciled the whole universe (Col. 1:19-20). The final result will be the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:19-21) in new heavens and a new earth (1 Pet. 3:19; Rev. 21:1-4). That is a goal worthy of claiming our life! When it arrives in its fullness, we will know without doubt that no good thought, word or deed was wasted, and that our labor was not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58).