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2: The Fullness Focus

   

"Moving from sinful chaos to godly shalom through Christ"

 

 
 

Introduction

Kairos and the Fullness of Christ Vision

It is a commonplace among Christians that “these are the last days,” so we should expect things to get worse and worse as time draws to a culmination. For instance, that is how we often understand Jesus’ words:

You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth-pains. [Matt 24:6 – 8.]

But, that is not the whole story! For, not only does Jesus tell us not to become alarmed, but also he gives the true sign of the end at hand: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” [Matt 24:14, emphasis added.]

In short, we need to be busy about, not the Father’s business, but rather our own. For, as Jesus replied to his disciples after the Resurrection, when they asked “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” – an Old Testament sign of the end of days:

It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem . . . to the ends of the earth. [Cf. Acts 1:6 – 8.]

Indeed, in the very first public Christian sermon, preached in Jerusalem ten days later, Peter would say:

This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people . . . And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [Cf. Acts 2:17 – 21.]

Clearly, the Last Days are a time in which God is acting globally, pouring out his Spirit, empowering us and sending us out with the gospel to the nations across the world. Moreover, in speaking to the Athenian leaders on Mars Hill, the Apostle Paul pointed out how God uses the crises caused by the sin and wickedness of men to open hearts to the gospel:

From one man [God] made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times [kairous] and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ [Acts 17:24 – 28.]

For, God so orders the flow of history that the peoples of the world are brought to moments and seasons of crisis, forcing us to grope for our Creator, however blindly. So, in his love, he sends to us his messengers in these times, so that through the gospel we may receive the Christ and find a welcome in the arms of our common Father.

Thus, we come to God’s underlying purpose and strategy:

( . . . [Jesus] who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe [panta – all things].) It was he who gave some to be apostles . . . prophets . . . evangelists . . . pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ [“the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” 1:22 – 23] may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. [Eph. 4:9 – 13.]

In love, God sent his Son into the world, descending, serving, healing, dying for sins and rising triumphant over death and sin, so that he might fill all things. He therefore sent out his messengers, to call out and equip the people of God, so that we would be able to work out that fullness of Christ in all areas of life and community.

So, when a community receives the gospel and undergoes renewal of its ways of thought and life through discipleship, it is reformed and filled with the grace, glory, blessing and order of Christ: shalom – true peace.

Therefore, in the Caribbean in our time, as our peoples grope about blindly in wave after wave of crisis, there is a way to godly harmonious, blessed, peaceful – even, prosperous [cf. Deut. 8:1 – 20!] order: seek the fullness of Christ.

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