When God created man he had a vision and purpose.
28 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them RULE over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
29 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and SUBDUE it. RULE over………..Gen: 1
God meant to have a regent on the earth. One who oversees his creation - the earth - and makes sure there is no insurgence from anywhere on earth; whether spiritual or physical. In case of any, he was to SUBDUE such. This regent was to be man. Because he had God’s likeness he would reflect God’s likeness and purpose on the earth.
The sad story is that man failed God by disobeying him and obeyed Satan. Therefore, man lost the authority and power to occupy his rightful place.
God did not destroy him; he still had the likeness but have lost the nature. He then chose and called a man named Abram, whom he later named Abraham. He planned to raise a people from this man who would fit into what the first man failed to do. Through him he raised the Hebrew race. To these people God said,
You will be for me a kingdom of priest and a holy nation. Exodus 19:6
But to these people God said after many years.
4 What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
7 The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. Isaiah 5
And Jesus agrees:-
“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken from you (the Jewish Nation) and given to a people who will produce its fruit” Matt 21:43
We see again that the natural descendants of Abraham failed God again. They were supposed to be light for the gentiles, and subdue and rule over all the earth through the law of God handed to them through Moses. This they did not do but saw God as only their God and even in their behavior did not reflect God’s character.
We see that now sin reigns over man and hence over all Gods creation (Rom 5:12) and man haven lost his authority and so can not sway dominion over Satan and his demons.
The Jewish nation turned to idolatry and so can no longer be priests of God and a holy nation. God was again forced to intervene into the affairs of man and the earth through prophets and messengers.
The task remained before God. To reclaim man and all creation and two, to have a regent here on earth who would sway authority and reflect the divine life style.
This task was what Jesus came to accomplish. In talking about Jesus Christ the bible says,
You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood purchased men for God from every tribe, language, people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priest to serve our God and they will reign on the earth. (Rev. 5:9-10)
So what Adam failed to do and the Jewish nation also failed to achieve, God wishes to accomplish through the church Viz-
i) To rule as kings on the earth and God’s creation.
ii) To increase and fill the earth with people with God’s image and likeness that carry on God’s purpose.
iii) To subdue the earth and any insurgence from the devil’s camp.
To this bible concurs-
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him, who called you out of darkness into his wondrous light. 11 Peter 2:9
His intent was that now, through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. Eph 3:10
These are the principal reasons God planted the church of Jesus Christ on the earth.
How is the church to carry on this agenda?
a) The Holy Spirit:-
I am going to send you what my father promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. Luke 24: 49
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8
But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26
The vehicle for the church to fulfill the three assignments is the person of the Holy Spirit. God does not intend that the church labor without the Holy Spirit
b) Influence: Unlike Adam the church by the power of the Holy Spirit will not have to bear biological children to fill the earth but will influence the earth and those who live on the earth and make them Disciples of Christ. Christ Jesus said of the church-
You are the salt of the earth…..
You are the light of the world. Matt 5:13-14
i) The influence of the church on the earth full of sin and controlled by Satan is supposed to be same for the domestic influence of salt in the kitchen.
Salt is a germ killer- I have seen my wife drop some salt in dirty water and tell me after to use it for my bathe. By implication the salt after a short time would have killed all the germs in the water. So that even if I drank it, it will do me no harm. There is a complex salt called “alum”, if it is dropped into dirty water it will not only kill the germs but will separate them to the bottom of the container, so that one can separate good drinkable water from the once poisonous one.
This is the mind of Christ. The church should be a sin killer. Christ planted the church to attack evil anywhere she sees one. Christ did not plan to have the church co-habit with sin in less as salt will co-habit with germ.
Salt is a preservative- My wife will put some quantity of salt into some fresh fish, meat or any thing that could suffer decay. The salt will now preserve it. Good parts of the world still use this method in absence of refrigerators.
Christ intends that the church should preserve the good in every culture and person. In any person in whom there is some good, the church is to preserve it. My wife and I, as missionaries, have been in some areas where Christ is not known but have noticed some persons with some good virtues which could benefit them and the church, and have helped to preserve it and stopped Satan from attacking them.
At times there are those who repented under some one else’s ministry, through encouragement, care we preserve them. At times it’s a young man trying to go into the ministry, by God’s special grace; we try to preserve him from the enemy’s attack.
Salt is a flavour- I have heard some people talk of their best food and have wondered what that favourite food would be like without the salt. Christ intends that the church should make life worth living for people. Houses, cars, women, children, husband, wife and everything that man could ever accumulate is actually worthless without the peace and joy that Christ gives. Here on earth, I have walked into some fenced mansions to see its occupants gasping for breathe of life. Jesus asks-
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Matt 16: 26
When the role call is over and all have been concluded on this earth, many will discover the folly in accumulating this world’s treasure without bothering about the life after. How sorrow will fill many hearts to see that education and political office is worth nothing but vanity. The bible says, it is a chasing after the wind
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But who will let the world know and give them a taste of the real life that is in Christ Jesus if the church does not do it?
ii) Influence of the light- Jesus also describes the influence the church should affect on the earth as that of light. Without the church the whole world is full of darkness. Whatever knowledge men posses today and call light is actually gross darkness (Luke 11:35). The church is the light for the world to see this natural life and the life after for what it really is. Our opinion of things may be bent without the church.
Light exposes- How often one has discovered he was walking towards danger and light is flashed. A driver whose headlight had problem suddenly jolted when it flashed and he saw how close he was to a gulf.
Colours are concealed in darkness. Light exposes the position of objects. We may hear the smell of food but only light will help us find it.
So Christ wishes that where the church is people will receive knowledge of what is right and wrong. Sin will be seen as sin and men can turn from the impending danger of hell fire.
How is this possible? The Bible in talking about Jesus said, “In him was life and the life was the light of men”. The way of life of Jesus was what told men what is the right way to live.
By implication, when Christ said that the church is the light of the world, the world should look at the church and know how to live.
The light gives direction- Finding ones direction will be difficult without light. Some drivers have run their cars into bridges or standing electric poles. Some roads looked alike in partial darkness but the difference cleared in daylight. The church is to show the world the right way to find God.
Most religions in the world today claim to be preaching the same God the Christians preach. Ecumenism is calling for a one world religion where Christians, Moslem, Buddhists, Hindus, Traditionalists, the Spiritists, Acupuncturists etc. will come under one umbrella and worship one God.
The truth is that whoever proposes such view is not a follower of Christ. Christ never identified with any other religion. Even people who showed partial submission to his God, he disowned. He says,
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” John 14:6
“All whoever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them”. John 10:8
Even among his so called followers Christ Jesus warned there will be false prophets. It is the duty of the church to expose them. The bible says, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness but rather expose them.” Eph 5:11
We expose errors and sin, so shall we expose ways or directions that will lead to death. Often brethren have condemned me for this act of exposing what I know as evil. Some have sent thugs to beat me up and others threatened court action. That is okay. But as the light I should give men direction.
Light gives life- Many who wake every morning to do their business do not know that if the sun does not shine for a month they, as well as plants and animal life will suffer; even with electric light. Christ expects that contact between the world and the church will produce a life effect on the former. Whether they accept the gospel or not it is needful that we stay in their midst, less they be destroyed. For God would have spared all the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if ten men were found righteous.
We have been trying to find out why God planted the church in this world.
c) Priestly duty-
1. Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent
them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
2. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since
he himself is subject to weakness.
3. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of
the people. (Heb 5)
The church as priests represents men before God and represents God before men. When God looks down and feels he should wipe out the human race the church will stand and ask for more time. And in seeing the church actively working, he will stay his hand. The church in turn will not rest in her effort to let man know the shortness of time with God’s judgment. Pleading with them now compelling them to make peace with God while there is time. Offering to God the sacrifice of praise and worship, burning unto him the incense of prayers.
d) To disciple the nations- As the church influence the world as salt and the light and carry on her priestly function, the world is therefore, attracted to this holy people of God, drawn ever closer to the chosen generation, and finally is attracted to identify. When this happens, we say a soul has been won.
e) Rule and subdue- The above four can not be carried out without resistance. There is a spirit called the god of the world, the prince of darkness, the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the god of this age, the antichrist (Eph 2:2, 11 Cor. 4:4, John 12:31). He is Satan, the devil, the fallen angel Lucifer. He has a lot of evil spirits who obey him and his bidding. As he is called the antichrist he stands against anything that reflects the purpose of God in salvation, as enshrined in the Christ- Messiah. He tries to resist the reign of Christ. In fact when Christ was here on this earth he told him that the whole world have been given to him and he will give it to whom he wishes (Luke 4 :6-7). He tries to fight and pervert the ways of the Lord.
9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said
10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right? You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?
11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking some one to lead him by the hand.
In proclaiming the gospel such battles are fought in the spiritual as well as the physical. God did not leave the church unarmed as they forward his kingdom. Just as every governor has armies to work with, God gave us angels.
In God’s program everything should be under the control and influence of the church. The church represents God’s government and kingdom on earth.
The government of health, peace, joy, security, harmony, love, prosperity and comfort. This is why God planted the church.