The Glory of Christ and His Church—Destined for Greatness
God has given the Church a great call, and therefore it takes humble, yet confident people in Christ to accomplish it. If we fail to see the greatness of Jesus in us, we will fall short of our call.
The last few months, I’ve been examining the book of Ephesians. It could be argued that the book of Ephesians is a “high water mark” in understanding the glory, majesty, and authority of both Christ and His Church.
I finished chapter five last week, looking at the mystery of Christ and His Church relative to the metaphor of a husband and wife. Last week, in addition to discussing Christ’s enthroning, I shared about love and marriage. Today, I’ll discuss in greater detail how the glory of Christ fills His Church with His authority and power. He has destined us for greater things!
Paul unveils the “mystery” of the Church as no other letter does. God’s intention for the Church is revealed in Ephesians. Consider:
Through Christ, God has revealed the mystery of His will (Eph. 1:9-10) to gather all things together in Christ—in Heaven and on Earth. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, God’s enemies have been defeated. Christ is victorious over the powers of darkness. He is supreme, and so is the Church.
Jesus has assured His Church ultimate victory; He stated, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church” (Matt. 16:18 NKJV). We are on the offensive, not the defensive! The powers of darkness simply cannot stop the advancement of God’s Church and His Kingdom, for Jesus is the Victor!
In Ephesians 1, Paul states:
Foremost, Christ’s authority is supreme in the universe over all powers. Secondly, the same power that raised Christ to His position of authority now works also “in us who believe.” As I shared last week, you have resurrection life and Christ’s authority within!
God’s intent to form the “body of Christ” is to express the fullness of Christ on earth; “…His body, the Church, is the fullness of Christ, who fills everything in every way” (Eph. 1:22-23 CEB).
The mystery of Christ is two-fold. First, that the Gentiles (or non-Jewish people) would be partakers of God’s promises to His covenant people. Secondly, that the Bride of Christ would reign presently and in eternity with Christ.
The essence of our new life in Christ is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In fact, it was the Spirit who places us into the body of Christ at new birth. Paul writes that we are “…baptized by one Spirit into one body…” (1 Cor. 12:13 NKJV).
The precious blood of Christ pays the price for our sin and reconciles (or justifies) us with a Holy God. We are loved, forgiven, accepted, and adopted into God’s family. Such marvelous grace! But God has accomplished more than reconciling us through Christ. The Father has restored our ability to live in Him through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. From our new life in Christ through the Spirit, we can learn to commune with God, live righteously, be empowered to operate in the gifts of the Spirit, and have power to be witnesses for Jesus.
Consider the power of this statement by Paul:
“God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 3:10 NLT)
Every person we lead to Christ, every person we pray for who is healed or delivered… it’s a declaration by God to evil powers of the wisdom and glory of God! We reign with Christ through faith, understanding our position, and exercising His authority through both the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.
The Bride of Christ is the Fullness of Christ. She radiates His Glory and Presence. The effort to make her glorious is upon Jesus:
“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” (Eph. 5:25-27 NLT)
Again, notice the initiative is upon Jesus to purify and perfect us, but we cooperate with God’s Word and the Holy Spirit; that requires effort on our part. God’s grace works with our surrender and effort.
A Church filled with glory! A Church without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish. God intends to fill His Church with glory, to walk in His victory, and then return and present her to Himself.
When Jesus was talking with His disciples on the road to Emmaus, He said to them, “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” His resurrection and enthronement are described as entering His glory.
Is it possible that the Lord intends us to also enter His glory at His right hand and manifest His authority in the earth to bring in the final harvest? Yes! Through our spiritual authority in intercession and demonstration of God’s power, we manifest His glory in the earth.
While preparing for a meeting in Brazil once, the Lord spoke to me that afternoon, “If you see yourself as merely human, you will function as merely human. But if you see yourself as a supernatural being, you will function as a supernatural being.”
I shared this with the team I took to the church that night. Everyone was expectant and believed God could work through them for His purposes. Many were healed that night and touched by God’s power.
The pastor said to me he never had a meeting like this in his church before. It’s Christ in us, the Greater One!
You were not created to live a mediocre life!
God has put Himself within you and me; we were recreated in His image.
God’s intent through new birth is to be reconciled with a Holy God by the atoning work of the blood of Christ on the cross AND to now be filled with Him (Spirit) to return to humanity’s original call—which is to walk with, commune with, and abide in God!
“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you [Greek is plural—corporate], the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27 NKJV)
Christ in you, He’s the hope of glory! But also, Church, “Christ in you!” (plural… all of you!)
God wants us to be ready, full of Jesus, full of His hope and glory to reveal to a lost and hopeless world. If you are empty, He will fill you afresh; however, the greater One is already in you through New Birth!
“Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!” (1 John 4:4 NKJV)
Because Christ lives in us, greatness resides in the heart of a believer. We are recreated in Him for something beyond mediocrity. We are not perfect. We can be tempted and we can sin, but what Jesus has done for us invites us to live out of this new creation reality. He took the initiative; we are becoming what He has already accomplished.
As believers, we are made righteous through Jesus’ death and resurrection, but we also are encouraged to live from His righteousness.
In Revelation 1, Jesus, the burning one in the midst of His Church, calls us to holiness and righteousness. In Revelation 2 & 3, Jesus challenges seven churches to live in His holiness and righteousness. Five of the seven, He admonishes and tells them to “repent” and return to first works. Again, Jesus took the initiative to make His Church pure, spotless, and glorious, but we must live in His righteousness.
We are to be holy as He is holy! Sin hinders God’s grace from working fully in our lives. A compromised Church will not stand confidently in a corrupt world.
Throughout the Bible and history, God has demonstrated that He will elevate people to places of prominence and position for His purposes.
Why? So that His purposes on the earth will be accomplished and His name will be exalted and made great. But stay humble! If God elevates you, recognize, like Paul, “but for the grace of God I would also sin.”
The Lord told David, “I took you from the sheepfold… and have made your name great!” (2 Sam. 7:8-9). Was David perfect? No, but he was greatly used by God!
Joseph was destined to be the governor of Egypt and to preserve a “posterity” for Israel (Gen. 45:7). His elevation wasn’t about him, but about God’s purpose for future generations.
God never reminds us of our shortcomings when He calls us to mission with Him. Instead, He calls us to courage by proclaiming something over us like:
“You’re a mighty warrior.”
“A father of many nations.”
“You’re the one all of Israel is waiting on!”
Remember Gideon in Judges? An angel appears and says to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior”(Judges 6:11-16). Gideon was a young man who was destined to change the course of history. But Gideon, like many of us, was affected by his low self-esteem and family lineage which created a false humility in him that reduced his life to simply making a living and succumbing to the oppression of the enemy.
Identity is foundational to the Christian life. God is inside of you through faith in Christ. Changed people change the world!
The angel knows that Israel’s deliverance rests on his ability to impact Gideon’s self-esteem.
Many of us are like Gideon. We are fed up with the evil that surrounds us, yet it hasn’t occurred to us that the miracle we are praying for already lies within us. Remember what Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20, “now to Him who is able … according to the power that works in us.” God’s power—Christ within—is working within us!
It may have appeared that the Midianites were Israel’s enemies, but the real bondage was within Gideon. “Is not my family the least in Manasseh and am I not the youngest?” The problem isn’t that the enemy is so big, but rather HE FEELS SO SMALL! Think about this, at this moment, God is choosing to work through a reluctant young man with identity issues!
Have you ever felt “small”, overwhelmed by the enemies we face? Maybe it’s a job or business situation, perhaps something in ministry God is calling you to… Remember, it’s Christ in you!
When God called Gideon a valiant warrior, he was able to step into an identity that allowed him to bring about the justice for which he yearned.
Because Gideon rose to be the leader God destined him to be, the people were loyal both to God and Gideon. They shouted, “the sword of the Lord and Gideon!” God brought the victory, and the nation returned to righteous living and worship of God.
God has destined you to walk with Him in His fullness beyond mediocre living. The Greater One lives within you, and He takes delight in you. He wants to bless and prosper you, give you everything you need to be a success in this life, and accomplish the assignment for which He created you.
The Church is called to be a glorious bride, a great Church subduing the kingdoms of darkness for Christ. Church, are you ready to embrace the fullness of Christ in our midst and not settle for just “existing?” It’s time for the saints of God to arise to their destiny–revival–worldwide harvest–nations saved!
What has God spoken over your life? What Godly identity has He given you? Do you see yourself small and insignificant, or do you agree with God’s identity in your life?
Remember, it’s Christ in you, the hope of Glory – He is great within you!
We have been called to teach the nations how to stop giants, prosper in famines, rebuild cities, and restore families ravaged by the devil. God is looking for someone who will align themselves with Heaven—just one—that’s all it takes for Him to invade. What about a Church full!!? It starts with surrender to God… loving Jesus, then others.
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Destined for Greatness”: