Off the Map! – The Character of God and the Cosmic Scope of the Church

The following are my notes of Jorge Mendoza’s breakout session at Legacy 2013 Conference.

Today we are going to look in the book of Ephesians at the big picture view of the church. We could look at Acts and see the church really banging. We could look at 1 & 2 Corinthians and see a church struggling. But today we want to look at God’s view of the church.

1. God Wants to Display His Wisdom

What is wisdom? It is knowledge skillfully applied. God is the only wise God. He is in a category of his very own. No one can light a candle to his wisdom. It is manifold. It is multicolored. It has great variety.

You ever watch a movie and then watch a second time you catch something new you missed the first time. God’s wisdom is like watching a movie again and every time you watch it you see something new every single time.

Who is the audience to whom God is displaying his wisdom? God needs an audience that can appreciate it fully. Who does Paul say this audience is?

It is the heavenly beings. The angels and rulers of heaven. The angelic hosts that did not fall.

We see angels all through scripture. From Genesis, through the Old Testament, all through the life of Christ, and all over the place in Revelation. Usually they are called messengers, but in Ephesians 3 we see that these messengers are being recipients of God’s message of wisdom through the church.

God’s greatest plan and wisdom is through us in the church. One take away from this is that we should learn how God is building his church throughout all of history. We should care about church history because God was building his church then and I want to know how he was building the church in the first centuries, in the 1500s, the 1600s, the 1700s….

God displayed to the angels all of creation according to Job 38 and it was breath-taking. It was awe-inspiring like watching your favorite NBA star and a jaw-dropping play. The creation was jaw-dropping, but even greater than God’s power and wisdom on display in creation, God is showing even greater wisdom through his church.

Ephesians 2 says God killed hostility by having his son be killed. Through the door of his death all the peoples of the church are brought in. All of us no matter what are ethnicity is we are all equally unequal. Grace destroys ethnocentrism. The things that once were central have no become peripheral. The thing that matters more than anything is that I am follower of Christ. My identity is found in him.

What can top the wisdom displayed in the gospel?

The angels knew a lot of things about the character of God. The knew he was a loving God. They knew he was a powerful God. They knew a lot about him, but then in the power and beauty and wisdom of the gospel.

God’s wisdom is on the greatest display in his church. This is why at the end of chapter 3 Paul prays for the church to have strength. Strength for what? To fight temptation? He prays for strength that we would know the height, width, and depth of the love of Jesus.

Do you know the love of Jesus? It goes very low. Paul was one of the worst of sinners and I do not know about you but when Christ got me he went pretty low.

Do you know the love of Jesus? It goes very high. Ephesians 1 says we were adopted as sons and daughters. We are seated with Christ in the heavenly places. That is pretty high. We are seated with Christ!

Oh that we would know the height, width, and depth of Christ’s love!

Let’s leave the heavenly places and bring this message down home.

2. Implications for Ministry

Being apart of the church is not a little thing. It is massively significant. It is a big deal. We should not think about our churches or our jobs as ministers as being insignificant.

Some churches overemphasize theological correctness and do not love people well. Some churches have overemphasized holiness that they keep people out. Legalistic churches obscure the wisdom of God’s grace.

We need to plant churches that display God’s wisdom. We need to reflect God’s character in our ministries and in our churches so that God’s wisdom will be put on display.

Everyone you know looks at the gospel through a certain lens and our hope and prayer should be that the world will see the gospel through the manifold wisdom of God in the church.

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3 Comments

Filed under Church Planting, Lectures, Sermons, The Church

3 responses to “Off the Map! – The Character of God and the Cosmic Scope of the Church

  1. “Legalistic churches obscure the wisdom of God’s grace.” I’m definitely going to use that. What royalties do you want for every time I use that in a conversation? 🙂 This is a sweet post!

    -Peter from The Bridge

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