What is the Church? This is a discussion that many pastors and theologians have been deliberating over for decades. I intentionally did not entitle this article: “What is the Church?” Because writing an article about that would be an endeavor much bigger than what I am currently ready to undertake. In this article, I am not wanting to provide an all-sufficient definition of the Church, rather, I want to provide us with the story of the Church, as well as the implications thereof for you and I.
“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” That was a portion of our Lord’s prayer as written in Matthew 6:9-10. Our Father in heaven, is planning on bringing His Kingdom unto earth, where His name is being hallowed through the doing of His will. God’s Kingdom is where His will is being done. Ever since the beginning of creation, our Triune God has planned on displaying his Kingdom through His people’s obedience on earth, as a means to hallow His name.
God’s Kingdom is a place where His name is being hallowed by the doing of His will.
And the story goes…
It started with a man and a woman; Adam and Eve. God commanded Adam and Eve, who were His image bearers, to multiply and fill the earth with more of God’s obedient image bearers. Through their obedience, God will fill the earth with His image bringing a heavenly reality – where His will is being done perfectly, unto earth. But then, the fall. Adam decided to be His own God and brought sin upon the earth and the rest of mankind. God’s image marred, broken. However, in His sovereignty, God points to the one who is to come (Genesis 3:15), who will accomplish the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth through His perfect obedience.
Next, God chose a family, Abraham’s, to display His Kingdom on earth. Abraham is to leave his country and be a blessing to all the nations. God promised that in His offspring “shall all the nations of the earth be blessed…” Why? “…because you (Abraham) have obeyed my voice.” Through the obedience of Abraham and his offspring, God’s name is to be hallowed on earth, thus His Kingdom displayed on earth. Abraham’s offspring, interestingly points not only to Isaac, but mainly to the true Lamb of God, who is to truly usher God’s Kingdom unto earth (Genesis 22:7-8, Galatians 3:16).
First a man and a woman, then a family, and then a people; Israel. Israel is to be God’s people given the task to display a heavenly reality on earth. A reality where the Triune God is worshiped and obeyed. They are to worship God and to hallow His name in their obedience, displaying God’s will on earth, thus bringing His Kingdom unto earth through their obedience. They are to have no other gods than God, and to obey His commandments as presented to them on Sinai. Again, through the people of Israel, our God points to the true Israel, the one who is to come out of Egypt, to fulfill the prophecy and administer His Kingdom come (Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:14-15).
Adam & Eve (man & woman) – Abraham (family) – Israel (Nation) – the Church (people)
Now comes the time for the administration of the New Covenant, the King finally came to us in a manger, and He brought His Kingdom with Him. Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. He came to fulfill what a disobedient man, an imperfect family, and a rebellious nation could have never done. He is the one who came to bruise the serpents’ head, He is the promised offspring of Abraham, the true Israel; our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This King prays; “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” He then discharges this command to His people, the Church. “Make disciples…”, He said, teach them “to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20). The Church is entrusted with the task of displaying God’s Kingdom on earth, and through their obedience His name will be hallowed. Where His will is being done, His name is hallowed. Where His name is hallowed, there His Kingdom is.
The Church is entrusted with the task of displaying God’s Kingdom on earth, and through their obedience His name will be hallowed
In this story we hear the echos of a community today in communion with saints through out the ages. Called, through Gospel motivated obedience to display God’s Kingdom on earth thus hallowing His name here as it is being hallowed in heaven. The Church’s story dictates it’s purpose; to be obedient to God, bringing Gospel transformation in individual lives as well as whole cultures – that the earth below would reflect His Kingdom in heaven. That the city the Church is in will be a closer reflection of His heavenly city. Until the coming of His true eschatological Kingdom unto earth, where the Lord’s prayer will be fully realized and fulfilled.
This is the story of the Church, the Christian’s call. The joyful drama in which you are to called to immerse your story into.