I write a lot about the church and often you will notice I use the phrase "an organic expression of Christ" to describe our goal as a body of believers. In this post I will open up that term in an effort to define what I mean by that.
I use the word organic very purposefully. What I'm hoping to convey is the fact that life comes from within. Therefore growth and fruit comes from within and proceeds outward. As new creations in Christ, He has given us the same life that He and the Father shared before creation. This life He has placed within us. By His life we are changed from the inside out. This is what I mean when I use the term organic especially as it pertains to our lives as individuals.
This organic life that comes from within must be expressed. We simply cannot be filled with divine life from Christ and not overflow like a fountain of living water. The more we partake of Christ by eating His flesh and drinking His blood the more we share in His life. As we share in His life we pour His life back out onto others. Similar to the way the Father pours His Divine love into the Son and the son reciprocates by pouring back into the Father via the Spirit. This abounding and overflowing of Divine life in the Godhead is the community we have been grafted into. A pouring out of ourselves toward one another is the way we build one another up. All fifty-some one anothers in Scripture are lived out in this type of community. Such is the nature of the family of God. When I use the words "organic expression of Christ" to describe the Church all these thoughts and more are wrapped up in those words. A new nature within that is fed with Christ's life which proceeds outward to one another and ultimately in abundant praise to God for His glory.
These thoughts and definitions are not simply rhetoric or lofty dreams of an ideallistic fellowship. Living by and sharing in the Divine life of the Godhead by partaking of Christ is very practical. The problem is that defining it practically and giving instructions as to how to live it out fall short because giving specific instructions go against the very heart and purpose of organic church life. In order to live out organic church life we must be submitted to the Spirit and His leading as we share our lives together throughout the week and then come together as a corporate body and share what the Spirit has revealled of Christ to each member while we were apart. This can (and likely will) look different from week to week. I simply cannot express what an organic expression of Christ will look like other than by saying that at the end of the gathering Christ will have been seen more in His fullness through every member's participation and it will be very orderly because He is the true Head and He is in charge. It will be the kind of gathering that would convince an unbeliever that God is real and that He is in your midst.
The difficulty lies in the fact that I am trying to express spiritual matters with human language. In spiritual matters, words will always fall short because the things of the Spirit transcend word and thought. Yet, I trust that if you know anything of the power of God and the fellowship of the Spirit, if you have had a revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, then these words will be seen and heard in a way that speaks volumes more than the words that are written here. Spiritual things are discerned spiritually. Every person has a desire to be in fellowship with one another and with our Triune God. It is why we were created. I believe that we can experience it today with the same fervor and power that we see in the New Testament if only we would abandon all things (including good things we have built for Him) for the person of Christ. We must go to Him, sup with Him, eat of Him, drink of Him, abide in Him, and carry our cross with Him everyday and then come together and share the life we have received from Him with one another.
The ultimate goal of the assembly of the church is to be built into Christ. This is why the organic expression of Christ is so necessary. As we abide in Christ, each branch bears fruit that builds up the body. This order is reversed by most Christian gatherings today. Any habits, forms, liturgies, or other types of organized patterns that the gathering is expected to follow get in the way of the free flowing organic expression of Christ through His body. This could be due to either a stronghold from the leadership that keeps these patterns in place, a lack of vital nutrients for the members that come from a daily communion with our indwelling Lord, or a combination of both. If each of us are partaking of the life of Christ regularly then there is no need for these forms, patterns and systems. His Life will pour forth from each one and we will grow up in every way into Him who is the Head.
Rather, speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,
when each part is working properly,
makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Eph 4:15-16