This is the next article in an on-going series we are doing on the PIH statement of faith. We are reviewing and teaching on our statement of faith in light of the need for solid doctrinal foundation.
WE BELIEVE in the divinity of Jesus Christ the Son, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His death for us on the cross, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the Father, and His personal, physical return to rule the earth in power and love. (John 1:14-18, 1 Thess. 4:16-18)
In ‘river church’ circles where we have rediscovered the magnificent revelation of the Father heart of God, there is a temptation to speak more like dualists rather than trinitarian. Our Holy Spirit encounters have brought incredible freedom and release, we have embraced the lavish love of the Father, but have we run the risk of marginalizing or even ignoring the central character of Jesus?
In traditional church buildings like the wonderful Cathedrals we have in the UK you are confronted in the architecture with a massive cross in the centre of building. It is impossible to escape the centrality of the death, resurrection and return of Jesus, the central figure in history, the ‘God made man’ figure that, in the words of the Message, ‘sorts the sin problem out’.
Jesus the ‘sent one’ of the Father, the apostolic delegate of God, left the security and serenety of heaven to make a Kingdom of Heaven foothold on earth. Which we the current body of Jesus get to multiply and multiply! The ‘sent one’ of Jesus is the Holy Spirit, who in turn sends us! The apostolic nature of God is sending the fullness of heaven to earth, and right in the middle of it all is Jesus.
In Jesus we have a tangible, visible and very human expression of the eternal invisible God. If we want to know the Father then we need to know Jesus. It is totally impossible to relate to a Father in Heaven without relating to a Jesus on earth. The very comfort and relationship we have with Father God is filtered through the heavenly rule of Jesus, enabled and motivated by the Holy Spirit. These three work in complete interwoven joined-ness. The Celtic Christians showed this by the eternal knot, where a 3-leaf clover style design showed the 3 distinct branches and yet if you follow the line it is never ending.
John 1:16 talks about Jesus coming to earth on the divine mission. We have all received ‘grace upon grace’. Too right! Jesus took on a grace mission, a lavish mercy love assignment to punch a permanent hole between heaven and earth. He lived with people like you and me to show us what the culture of heaven was all about, demonstrating a way of living which fulfills the legal requirements of holiness, called grace. Then even more amazing grace, he pays the ultimate, life itself. We get to operate our lives in the lavish grace of God, coming under His rule, allowing our attitudes and judgements to be grace changed. Transforming our actions to reflect the fullness of the divine temperament, grace!
Our talk of Father must lead us to talk of the Son which must lead us to talk of the Spirit… and so the loop continues. But the only reason we today experience the lavish overflow of the heavenly blessing of Father through the Spirit is the decisive central figure of Jesus. Jesus, grace upon grace.
Stewart Keiller is the Leader of Bath City Church and is married to Deborah and they have 4 daughters. He is the author of 2 books, “Pursuing a Heavenly Vision” and “Pearl Hunters”.