by Dr. John Yates
In my last teaching I related what the Holy Spirit was saying about bringing the resurrection presence of Christ into every sector of society. This word moves on in both depth and breadth.1)According to the principle, “What goes deepest to the conscience goes widest to the world” [P.T.Forsyth] Drawn from experiences in prayer for Perth, the essential principles can however be applied to any situation.
Some years ago I predicted a time would come when the presence of God would be so strong in Western Australia that whatever the original nationality of Christian immigrants2)Australia is often said to be the second most multicultural nation in the world [after Israel]. all would come to identify Western Australia as their spiritual home. Some years later I saw multi –coloured streams of people flowing out from Perth into the world. This represented multi – racial outreach teams taking the gospel back to the nations. Only in the last few weeks do I believe God has been giving me keys as to how he will accomplish this.
Resurrection and Fatherhood
A saying of Jesus recently grasped my attention, “v35 those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead … v36 cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:35-36). The central point is that resurrected saints and angels are essentially united because both are “sons of God”.3)Angels are called “sons of God” in Gen 6:1-4; Job 1:6; Ps 89:6; Dan 3:25. Christ’s followers and angels have a common Father, a reality that has been accomplished for us by Jesus own resurrection.
Paul preaches the resurrection as Jesus “adoption” as Son. “this he (God) has fulfilled …by raising Jesus, as also it is written…”You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’” (Acts 13:33). His teaching in Romans refines this. “(Jesus) was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom 1:4).
Through resurrection Christ became Son of God in power, for it was in being raised into an immortal life that he passed beyond influence of sin, Satan and death. No longer could he be weakened, tempted or feel separation from his Father.4)Mark 15:34 is the key text, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Having returned to the glory of the Trinity (John 17:5), his humanity shares in the eternity of God. In such a state the human and divine S/sonship of Jesus reached complete unity. Jesus connection to Adam as the fallen first father of all humanity is now ended.5)Some argue that Jesus virginal conception severed the Adamic line of original sin. I believe Jesus fully transformed a fallen nature [received from Mary] through his sinless life, death and resurrection. A new creation has come. This has vast implications. For those in Christ, divine Fatherhood supersedes human parentage and creates a supernatural unity of races.
Our first birth ties us to “the man of dust” (1 Cor 15:47-48) whose destiny is to return to the dust (Gen 3:19) i.e. to die. In the Adamic state, differences in race, language and culture were inevitably experienced as alienating.6)Nations are part of the old Adamic order of creation, “he [God] made from one man [Adam] every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,” [Acts 17:26]. In Christ however, “he who sanctifies (Jesus) and those who are sanctified (Christians) all have one source.” (Heb 2:10-11 ESV).7)The context relates to God’s “bringing many sons to glory”. Glory relates to resurrection, e.g. “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. ..43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory.”[1 Cor 15:42-43] The Greek for “all have one source” is literally “all are of one”. In context, translations such as, “are of the same family” (NIV), “all have the same Father” (GNB) or “all have one Father” (NRSV) catch the sense well.
Since the Father of the risen Christ is our Father, we have been severed from the destructive and alienating divisions inherited from Adam. Our second birth is from heaven by resurrection power and points us to a heavenly destiny (1 Pet 1:3; 1 Cor 15:48-49). Now, “there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Col 3:11).
A Unique Mission Move of God
This supernatural unity is the basis for a cross – racial cooperation in mission that can astound our divided world. Never before in the history of humanity have the peoples of the globe been brought together into the same living space in multicultural countries like Australia. This is all part of God’s end time plan so that his coming move will be unique in scale.8)We see the pattern already in the New Testament. E.g. the reversal of Babel at Pentecost and the multiracial unity in Acts 13:1, “Simeon who was called Niger” is black, whilst the others named are Jews.
God’s purpose is that the giftings and graces of the various people groups flow as one :Australian mateship, African jubilation, Chinese business acumen, Vietnamese discipline, Latino passion, the spiritual sensitivity of indigenous peoples etc. All are to come together in united mission teams. Multi – coloured teams spearheaded by the natives to the world’s cultures and languages are to be sent into the corners of the globe.
If this is God’s purpose, why hasn’t it happened yet? Why do we have churches so often separated on the grounds of nationhood and race? It is because we await an outpouring of resurrection power. But in God’s order first comes the stripping work of the cross.
The preparation – stripping
I was speaking to a Chinese pastor recently who is deeply committed to mission to the nations. I had a clear but unusual sense that he was being “skinned” by God.9)Skin colour is the most obvious marker of difference between people groups. I sensed the Holy Spirit was pruning away even something as deep as his racial consciousness,10)As a source of personal identity in itself. bringing him to a place where he could lead believers from a host of races in the common cause of Christ.
This is an example of the stripping away of all earthly pride we must endure. The cross must kill all our titles, traditions, positions, gifts, and anything else that is mortal, including national and racial pride. Then the Spirit of Jesus can be poured out imparting that sense of eternal sonship creating functional church unity in vigorous mission.
Living in the Eternal
An outstanding historical prototype of what the Lord is seeking to release in our midst is the Moravians. In the 1720’s the pious Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf established a community for refugees from religious persecution; Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists and Catholics were all present. For three years there was struggle and argument, during which time Zinzendorf set up the famous 24/7 prayer watch that was to continue for 100 consecutive years. In August 1727 the community experienced a “baptism of the Holy Spirit” that immersed them in forgiving love. The result was the first large scale Protestant missionary movement. Hundreds went to remote and difficult realms, including the Caribbean, North and South America, the Arctic, Africa, and the Far East. They were also the first to send unordained “lay” people, the first Protestant denomination to go to slaves, and the first in many countries of the world.
When the Holy Spirit is poured out so a community diverse in race, culture and beliefs is impacted by resurrection power, believers know in an immediate way that God is their Father. Race, education, finance, gender, position and so on cease to be sources of personal identity and righteousness. Baptised into the nature of God (John 17:20-26; 2 Pet 1:4) the community knows that the Trinitarian life they share is essentially communicable.11)Angels as “sons of God” also know this and seek to help in the missions enterprise cf. Mark 13:27 etc. Or, to put the same thing in a less theological way, the human community senses that the divine community is essentially a family that desires to embrace more and more people. This revelation is at the heart of the passion of the renewed church for mission. In such an atmosphere the resistance of evil powers begins to fold.
One of the most important texts for out time is Ephesians 3:10, “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” In context, Paul is relating how the inclusion of the Gentiles (Greek ethnoi = “nations”) in the people of God breaks the hold of evil demonic forces. How this happens is explained a little later.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named(Eph 3:14-15). The angel family in heaven and the believing human family on earth have a common Father. When the human and angelic sons of God unite in the cause of the gospel spanning heaven and earth dramatic spiritual breakthrough always follows. Under these conditions the principalities in heavenly places become painfully aware that they lack the one true source of universal authority, a heavenly Father. Ashamed and disempowered, inescapably aware that their “father” (Satan) is fallen and judged12)John 8:44; John 12:31; Rev 12:7-12. they plunge into disarray.
The centrality of the revelation of God as universal Father is critically important to the sustainability of any renewing of the church for mission. Separating our experience of resurrection power from the foundation of sonship is disastrous. A primary focus on signs, wonders, miracles, manifestations, growth etc. will see God himself allow Satan to attack a proud church (James 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5) so the collapse of the revival movement is inevitable.
God is preparing his people for a global missions movement that will exceed in scope and diversity anything before it. Central to this move is the oneness of the people groups of the world under the Lordship of Christ united in the heavenly Father. Those released in global evangelisation will be characterised by an extraordinary fearlessness.13)“Give me one hundred men who love God with all their hearts and who fear no one but God and who hate nothing but sin, and I will change the world” [John Wesley]. This is because they will know that to be immediately related to the eternal God as Father is to have the sure promise of immortality.
Wisdom dictates that in response to the measure of revelation contained in this article we pray not only for reviving resurrection power, but that it come forth in the way Jesus always intended it to be manifested, as the creation of sons of God.14)A deep connection is outlined by Paul in Romans 8:18-25 between resurrection, sonship and the renewal of the whole cosmos. My prayer for the church in Perth, and beyond, is that God grant us the maturity to understand that to “make disciples of all nations” is to disciple them to the ONE Father.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||According to the principle, “What goes deepest to the conscience goes widest to the world” [P.T.Forsyth]|
|2.||↑||Australia is often said to be the second most multicultural nation in the world [after Israel].|
|3.||↑||Angels are called “sons of God” in Gen 6:1-4; Job 1:6; Ps 89:6; Dan 3:25.|
|4.||↑||Mark 15:34 is the key text, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”|
|5.||↑||Some argue that Jesus virginal conception severed the Adamic line of original sin. I believe Jesus fully transformed a fallen nature [received from Mary] through his sinless life, death and resurrection.|
|6.||↑||Nations are part of the old Adamic order of creation, “he [God] made from one man [Adam] every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,” [Acts 17:26].|
|7.||↑||The context relates to God’s “bringing many sons to glory”. Glory relates to resurrection, e.g. “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. ..43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory.”[1 Cor 15:42-43]|
|8.||↑||We see the pattern already in the New Testament. E.g. the reversal of Babel at Pentecost and the multiracial unity in Acts 13:1, “Simeon who was called Niger” is black, whilst the others named are Jews.|
|9.||↑||Skin colour is the most obvious marker of difference between people groups.|
|10.||↑||As a source of personal identity in itself.|
|11.||↑||Angels as “sons of God” also know this and seek to help in the missions enterprise cf. Mark 13:27 etc.|
|12.||↑||John 8:44; John 12:31; Rev 12:7-12.|
|13.||↑||“Give me one hundred men who love God with all their hearts and who fear no one but God and who hate nothing but sin, and I will change the world” [John Wesley].|
|14.||↑||A deep connection is outlined by Paul in Romans 8:18-25 between resurrection, sonship and the renewal of the whole cosmos.|