The purpose of this study is to help us understand the romance and power of the Christian Life, which will culminate in our being seated on the Throne of God with our Savior, Lord, and Groom, ruling and reigning with Him. As we go through the course of this study, we will examine the ultimate goal of the universe, the purpose of the Church, the Gospel of the Kingdom, and the purpose of prayer and suffering.
The Church Is The Ultimate Goal Of The Universe
God (in Christ) created the universe (John 1:1-14), and He is the One who is in control (Acts 17:24-28).
Everything in the universe is for the development and benefit of the Church (1st Corinthians 3:16-23, Romans 8:28).
When we look at the end of this creation, we see that the only thing that will enter the kingdom of God is the Church (2nd Peter 3: 10-13, Revelation 21:1).
Since the Church is the only thing that will enter the Kingdom of God, it must be the focal point of this creation (John 17:17-23, 2nd Corinthians 8:9).
Why is the Church the focal point? Because God desired to create a Bride for His Son, The Groom (Genesis 2:18, Ephesians 5:25-32, Revelation 19:7-8).
God’s Purpose For The Church is For Her To Hold Supreme Rank In Creation
When we examine the ultimate role that redeemed humanity will play in eternity, we stand in awe at the fact that we will be elevated above all creation. The lowliest redeemed human will be closer to God than the mightiest of the angels or cherubim. The focal point of the universe, as discussed last week, is the creation of the Church, and the purpose of the Church is to hold supreme rank in creation.
Although we are currently lower than the angels in power and ability, see what God’s Word says about us. Read Psalm 8, Hebrews 2:5-16, John 17:19-26, Ephesians 5:25-30
The redeemed will embody a “new humanity” that will have authority and power in eternity as the Bride of the King. Read Ephesians 2:13-17, John 1:12-13, 1st Corinthians 6:2-3
The role that we will play is so glorious that human speech cannot fully describe it effectively. Read Ephesians 1:15-23
The Resurrection Body
When the Church begins its destined function of ruling and reigning with Christ, we will do so as His Bride. Just as Adams bride (Eve) was fashioned from himself, and was like him, so to the Church shall have a resurrection body that is like that of Christ Himself. What is the resurrection body like?
(1) it will be spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:44-54), i.e., a body adapted to the use of the soul in its glorified state, and to all the conditions of the heavenly state; glorious, incorruptible, and powerful;
(2) like the glorified body of Christ (Philippians 3:21);
(3) immortal (Revelation 21:4)
It will have the ability to enjoy physical pleasures, such as eating, but will not be subject to physical limitations. Read the following…… Luke 24:36-43, Isaiah 60:8, 19-22
Why Romans 8:28-30 Is So Important
28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
If God is truly Sovereign (and He is), then we need to look at the reason why Christians go through so much pain, suffering, and heartache in this life. God is our Father, He loves us, He has a plan for our life, and nothing touches us that He does not allow. So what possible purpose is their for the Christian to go through the various heartaches that we do? It is to shape us, and to develop in us those characteristics we will need to rule and reign in eternity.
Romans 5:1-5 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
See Romans 8:18-25, Romans 12:1-2, Galatians 5:22-26
Trials And Prayer Are Training Ground
We now come to the heart of this study. The process of preparing us to rule and reign is carried out in our lives (as Christians) by trials and prayer. Why does God choose to shape us in this manner? In His sovereign knowledge and wisdom, He uses these tools to take us out of a self-centered, sin-oriented, self-reliant life and lifestyle; and to move us into a God-centered, holy-living, Spirit-led and Christ-reliant life. These tools strengthen our faith, open our eyes to the spiritual reality that surrounds us, cause us to communicate often with our Lord, change our focus from ourselves to Him, gives more of a heart for others, and helps us to see others as He sees them. It is the key to the development of the Christ-like mindset and character, as seen below.
The conditions of prayer reflect the “transformed mind” and Christ-like character that God desires to shape us into:
- Purity of heart Psalm 66:18-19
- Faith Matt. 21:22
- In Jesus’ name John 14:13
- According to God’s will 1 John 5:14
- Forgiving spirit Matt. 6:14
- Humility and repentance Luke 18:10-14
- Unity of believers Matt. 18:19-20
- Tenacity Luke 18:1-8
- Persistence Luke 11:5-9
- Confident expectation Mark 11:24
- Without empty phrases Matt. 6:7
- Unceasingly 1 Thess. 5:17
The hindrances to prayer are the very characteristics that God is seeking to remove from our lives, mind, and character:
- Sin Ps. 66:18
- Selfishness James 4:3
- Doubt James 1:5-7
- Lawlessness Proverbs 28:9
- Inhumanity Proverbs 21:13
- Pride Luke 18:10-14
- Pretense Mark 12:40