The Desire of the Lord

Back to the Goodnews

by David A. DePra


In the first two chapters, we have seen a description of the ministry according to Jesus, and a description of the ministry of Paul.  This lays the groundwork for what should likewise be the ministry of the Body of Christ: 


Christ in you, the hope of glory.    Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which work in me mightily.  (Col. 1:27-29)


Here we see that, “Christ in you,” is not only the core reality of Christianity, but the presence of Jesus Christ within the believer is supposed to have an IMPACT.  That impact is that each believer ought to mature in Christ Jesus.  This, Paul says, is the goal of true ministry.


You will note that Paul says that maturity in Christ for others is not only the goal of ministry, but that it is the outcome of God working IN HIM. 


Herein we see a principle that governs all ministry that is of God:  All true ministry begins with the work of God IN the minister.  Then, through the work of God in that minister, God can work THROUGH that person unto the maturity of others.


Paul’s Heart Cry


There are numerous places in the NT where Paul declares his heart cry for the Body of Christ.  But since these passages are part of the inspired Word of God, we can be sure that the heart cry of Paul represents the heart cry of God Himself.  We find one of them in Galatians:

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. (Gal 4:19)

This declaration by Paul certainly agrees with his statement to the Colossians – shown at the beginning of this chapter.  God reveals through Paul that it is His desire that Christ be, “formed,” in believers.  The Greek word translated, “formed,” means, “to be inwardly realized and expressed.”  This is God’s desire, and it is the purpose of all ministry – to bring believers into an inward realization and expression of Christ.  To the degree that this happens, it will result in Christian maturity.


In Ephesians 1, we find another heart cry of Paul, which is actually his prayer – and as such, represents the desire of God for believers:


 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may KNOW….(Eph. 1:15-18)


This epistle of Paul to the Ephesians is filled with doctrinal teaching and exhortation.  But what does Paul say is his prayer?  That the Ephesians come to know his doctrine?  That they memorize and parrot the teaching?  No – despite the fact that what Paul wrote is the Word of God.  Rather, Paul wants them to have a living experience if the One about Whom his doctrine teaches:  Jesus Christ.  Paul wants them to come into an inward realization and expression of Jesus Christ; to have the, “eyes of their understanding enlightened,” that they might know HIM – and His eternal purpose. 


This was the heart cry of Paul throughout his ministry.  But that being the case, it brings us face to face with this question:  Is it OUR heart cry?  Is it OUR prayer?  This heart cry of Paul represents the heart cry of Jesus Christ.  Thus, it is the mind of Christ.  Is it OUR mind?  And if not, then why not?


Do we seriously believe that we can dismiss what God has clearly expressed as HIS desire for His people?  Or should it not convict us, and open our eyes, to the fact that we may have been blind to the Person of Jesus Christ; blind to His plan and purpose for the church?


Blinded to Christ


This great mystery of CHRIST IN YOU – which fulfills the Word of God – the mystery that was hidden from generations past, but NOW is revealed – this was Paul’s passion.  But Paul was not merely passionate about it as a message.  Rather, Paul was passionate about the PERSON.  God desires that all believers know His Son – realize His Son – and that Jesus Christ becomes the very LIFE of the church.


Christ is preached in God’s church as Savior.  He is usually preached as the One in Whom we must trust.  But where do we hear that believers are actually one with Jesus Christ in resurrection union – and that He is ALL to each of us?  More importantly, where is this actually experienced?


I would submit that most believers are BLIND to this great Truth.  Instead, we have a Christianity that is focused on other matters.  Today, we are more preoccupied with SELF than we are preoccupied with Christ.  We want to feel good about ourselves – or to make sure that God feels good about us.  We want to figure out how to get God to give us what we what out of life.  The Christian world is littered with teaching as to how to garner the blessing of God.


Many believers spend their lives serving at church or in ministry.  Their focus is to get others into church.  Others simply follow along in a belief system, equipped with a statement of faith and rules to follow – thinking that this is Christianity. Others spend their lives seeking emotional experiences that they think are the Holy Spirit.  Still others live in an intellectual world of Christian philosophy and reasoning. Churches have become social clubs.  They have become religious centers.  Where is the Living Christ?


The church today has simply continued on the same course that the church has followed for the last two thousand years – to one extent or another.  The church is more and more a religious expression of the world – the spirit of the world continues to govern the church.  Christ has been compromised in favor of what is socially acceptable; in favor of what will fill the pews and offering plates.  Money governs so much.  Churches today have normalized sexual perversion.  The doctrine that ought to point us to Christ has been discarded for the sake of, “love and tolerance.”  The list could go on. 


What is the solution?  The solution is NOT a new statement of faith, or a new strategy for saving the lost, or to pray that God will act upon churches and revive them.  That is NOT how God works.  The problem with the body of Christ is within the hearts of individuals that constitute the body of Christ.  The problem with within the hearts of LEADERSHIP.  Thus, God must deal with INDIVIDUALS.  Individuals must be broken and convicted.  Individuals must SEE that they have been BLIND to Christ – and must open their hearts for the Truth – no matter what it takes. 


The Need for a Great Shaking


Read again the prayers of Paul – read again the desire of Paul for the body of Christ.  That represents the desire of God.  There is simply no other purpose that God has, or that God is going to bring to pass:  That people might come into an inward realization and knowledge of His Son – and become governed by Him; that believers might come to experience Jesus Christ as ALL.


Believers must ask God to bring this to pass no matter what it takes.  But ask:  What WILL it take?  Well, you can see that it will take drastic upheaval.  It will take a great shaking.  It will take a great exposure of the present church system as being a religious façade.  But alongside of that, it will take a crisis that will press believers to Jesus Christ.  It will take a crisis that will open the eyes of believers to the reality of Jesus Christ IN THEM – to the reality that Jesus Christ is their LIFE. 


Such a crisis is going to come upon the body of Christ – thank God.  We read of it in Hebrews:


See that ye refuse not him that speaks. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more [shall not] we [escape], if we turn away from him that [speaks] from heaven:  Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.  And this [word], Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God [is] a consuming fire.


God promised that He is going to shake the HEAVENLY realm – the spiritual realm.  He promises that by the time He is finished that only that which is of Jesus Christ will remain.


What will cause this shaking?  Initially a great revelation of Christ – a manifestation of Christ against which all that is religious cannot stand as before.  Oh, there will be people who will prop it up – there always are – but in the end, only the Truth will stand in Christ.


Can we see a separation between that which is of Christ, and that which is of religious man?  Truth in Christ will always divide and shake -- and human beings will have the opportunity to choose.


There are some that might suggest that this has already happened.  But while there is certainly a sense in which this shaking is always going on – God is always shaking individuals – what is spoken in this passage CANNOT have already happened on a corporate scale?  Why?  Because the end result that is promised in this passage has not yet happened.  God promises that only that which is of Christ will remain.  Today we see anything BUT that which is of Christ.  Thus, we can look to God and rejoice in what He has promised will yet come to pass.


The Ministry of the Church


The ministry of the apostle Paul is the ministry of the church.  And so we repeat what Paul said was His ministry:


Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.    Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which work in me mightily.  (Col. 1:27-29)


There is no other ministry.  It is therefore God’s will that all of His people turn away from religious flesh and turn TO His Son – no matter what it takes.


Back to the Goodnews