REAPING WHAT YOU SOW
Pragmatism bears little fruit in the Kingdom of God. The new creation expands when we live in the simplicity of Christ in us. The Plan, as Paul calls it is amazingly simple and enormously profound. ‘Christ in you’ means the trinity in us. Thus as individuals and the church we are not only the company of God but the manifestation of God in His daughters and sons.
Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.20 NIV. What does it means to love Jesus? It means to agree with Him that He loves us so much that He has become our life.
This is the basis of Kingdom fruitfulness. It is the soil in the field in which the Spirit of Jesus prompts fruitful outreach and ensures healed lives. The parable of the Sower is not a tale about rooting our sinful habits. This is a story about abandoning ‘try harder gospels’ and law-based living in exchange for the incarnation: The Spirit of Christ not only in you but manifesting as Bob and Jill.
As important as being ‘Spirit-filled’ is, this is not the basis of Kingdom fruitfulness. It is the effect of our new covenant union with God in which we live interwoven into the trinity as the sons and daughters of God who we are. The Spirit and the gifts are the fruit of this Vine who joins us to the life-hub of the universe: The Holy Trinity. In this mindset and operating in this truth we are sons of God in in spirit and in truth and channels of living water of the kind Jesus replenished souls with: Spirit and life.
Holy Spirit and the gifts are not a method or a key to fruitfulness on their own. They are never an independent entity. Pentecost comes after the cross because the separation of Adam is undone and the union of Jesus with the trinity becomes ours. Unless we are living in a new covenant mindset we do not participate in new covenant glory. Add holy spirit to the law and the old covenant separated humanity and we see green shoots for a season. Then a fade out like wheat that has been planted in wet cotton wool in a saucer. When Paul talks of Christ our life, he means Christ our participation in the life of the Holy Family. Just as Jesus and Father were one so are we. Live in this reality and not in lies and negations of Christ’s achievements for you.
There is mighty fruitfulness in the reality of our interwoveness with the Holy Family. “Once a congregation gets to the point where they realize they are a missionary outpost, and that the Spirit of the living God has been given to them, to mold them into a community with such authenticity and integrity and love and fellowship that people want to join, once they begin to get that kind of vision of what Christian faith and Christian community is all about, then almost any program they use is effective. But until they get to that point where they entrust themselves to the raw power of the gospel, oftentimes it’s a form – it’s Pelagianism [self-effort], it’s an ecclesiological attempt to save ourselves by developing some new slick program that will bring a few more people into the church and keep them here. God simply doesn’t seem to bless that kind of programming.” (1)
‘Holy Spirit and the gifts’ is not a program slick enough to single-handedly turn water into wine. Unless we are in step with the Spirit of Christ and have followed Him into union with God we will do water, but not much wine. In Jesus we are received into the Family of God. We belong. We are saved, we are daughters and sons and we are alive with spirit and life – prior to the baptism of the Spirit. The latter is real, necessary and powerful when grounded in new covenant reality and union with God fertility.
(1) Anderson, Ray; Colyer, Elmer; Dawson, Gerrit; Deddo, Gary; Kettler, Christian; Kruger, Baxter; McKenna, John; McSwain, Jeff; Newell, Roger; Young, Paul. Trinitarian Conversations, Volume 1: Interviews With Ten Theologians (You're Included) (pp. 32-33). Grace Communion International. Kindle Edition.