Healthy Congregations, Part 1
Focus on God's Purposes

In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvationóhaving also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of Godís own possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:8b-14).

God always has had a purpose. God made it clear He had a purpose in the Bibleís first book in Genesis 12:3. Paul confirmed that the divine promise to bless all families of the earth through Abrahamís descendants was a reference to Godís intention to send Jesus to be the Christ (Galatians 3:8, 16). In Romans 3:21-26, this same Paul declared how much God accomplished in Jesusí sacrificeórighteousness, the power to save gentiles by faith, justification, grace, redemption, propitiation, a demonstration of Godís righteousness in pre-Jesus forbearance, and a declaration of Godís justice in mercy.

God has never bumbled along achieving good by accident. God is and always has been intentional. He intended to achieve in Jesus what He achieved. Long before Jesusí birth, God intended for Jesusí life and death to be the core (the centerpiece) of every good thing He did and would do for sinful humans.

Healthy congregations are filled with intentional people who surrender to an intentional God. These Christians are not accidental in the way they live their lives for Jesus Christ. They serve their Lord Jesus Christ with thought, planning, reason, and purpose. They understand one of Godís purposes is for Jesus to be their example!

A person has to be intentional to believe that good is stronger than evil (Romans 12:21), to pray for his/her enemies (Matthew 5:44), to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), to understand Godís grace covers all our flaws (Ephesians 2:4-9), and to grasp that God rewards the righteous after physical death (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). Healthy congregations are the result of the membersí faith in God. These God-focused members understand physical life is an investment in the life that exists after physical death. Physical life is not about oneís earthly lifestyle, but about life with Godónow and in Heaven! Poverty is no hindrance to Godís blessings! Poverty is not proof of Godís lack of concern!

To be a healthy congregation, it is not enough to believe God exists! It is only enough to believe God exists and has objectives! The healthy congregation allows God to declare His objectives as believers in God adopt His objectives rather than making our objectives Godís purposes. Our objective: to grasp all Godís purposes in Jesus Christ.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 27 March 2008

 

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