A Returning Remnant
The third main group of people who are purposefully and decidedly outside of the institutional church are what may be called a returning remnant. This may be the smallest of the three groups, and yet is the most significant.
So what distinguishes this group from the others?
This returning remnant is marked by two primary characteristics that make it stand out from the other two groups.
The returning remnant is, first of all…
Governed by a Positive Heavenly Vision
In contrast to the refugees, this remnant is primarily running to something, rather than running from something. They have had a glimpse of God’s transcendent eternal purpose in Christ and it has “ruined” them for anything less. Their deepest convictions are shaped by a positive response to a positive, heavenly reality, rather than a negative response to a negative, earthly reality. Their vision is a double positive one, therefore, rather than a double negative one, as is the case of the refugees. It is heavenly in its origin rather than earthly, and its effect is to bring an “on earth as it is in heaven” expression of the Kingdom of God to this earth in and through the Church.
So what is the content of this vision?
This positive, heavenly vision is of God’s eternal purpose in Christ, and of Christ’s preeminent place and purpose in it in relation to the Church.
- Christ is seen as the Center of the eternal purpose, and so He is sought as the center of the Church in its practical expression. He is the gathering point. He is the focus. He is the source and substance of every aspect of its life and function. He is the end towards which all things are moving. All individual truths, doctrines, emphases, visions, experiences, traditions, practices, ministries, positions, people and gifts bow the knee to the exaltation of Christ alone, as central and supreme in all things. The returning remnant is seeking an expression of the Ekklesia formed around Christ alone as its unrivaled Center.
- Christ is seen as the only Foundation of the Church in the eternal purpose, and so He is sought as the only foundation of the Church in its practical expression. He alone establishes the Church unshakable against all carnal, worldly and satanic onslaughts, unifies it as one indivisible building, and defines it as to its inclusive and exclusive “footprint”. This Foundation is God-given, heavenly, spiritual, living, unshakable and indivisible in nature. All man-made, earthly, religious, dead, shakable, sectarian foundations utterly fail in fully and rightly establishing, unifying and defining the Church. They are rejected, therefore. The returning remnant is seeking an expression of the Ekklesia established, unified and defined by Christ alone as its only Foundation.
- Christ is seen as the supreme Identity of the Church in the eternal purpose, and so He is sought as the supreme identity of the Church in its practical expression. His Name is the identity into which the Church has been baptized; the Name above every name. His Name alone has all authority. His Name alone has all fullness. His Name alone unifies the Church. All man-made, sectarian, religious names, denoms, labels and identities, in effect, diminish and destroy the Church’s authority, fullness and unity. They are, therefore, rejected. The returning remnant is seeking an expression of the Church that has Christ Himself, and His consummate Name, as its supreme identity.
- Christ is seen as the Head of the Church in the eternal purpose, and so He is sought as the head of the Church in its practical expression. He is the kingly Head of all principalities and powers. He is the corporate Head of His Body. He is the conjugal Head of His Bride and Family. The Church, therefore submits to Christ in His governmental authority, His functional authority and His familial authority. This brings about an expression of the Church that is a manifestation of His Kingdom, His Body, His Bride and His Family, according to God’s eternal purpose. All earthly leaders, therefore, that “lord over” the church, monopolize and control the full functioning of the Body, and act as mediators between the Bride and the Bridegroom are rejected. The returning remnant is seeking an expression of the church that exalts Christ Himself as the uncontested governing, functional, loving Head of the Ekklesia.
This four-fold revelation of Christ in relation to the practical expression of the Church as unrivaled Center, sole Foundation, consummate Identity and uncontested Head comprises the essence of the returning remnant’s heavenly vision that governs them. Everything else that they are and do springs from these core convictions being established in their daily lives, relationships and corporate gatherings.
This also naturally and of necessity moves them beyond an expression of the church that is established on partial, imbalanced emphases, man-made institutional foundations, carnal, sectarian designations and human, hierarchical control. This positive, heavenly vision motivates them to pursue a Christ-centered, Christ-established, Christ-designated, Christ-led, organic expression of the Church that answers to God’s eternal purpose. This is what they are pressing towards. This is what they are governed by. This is what they are willing to give their all for.
Being governed by a positive, heavenly vision, then, is the first characteristic that marks this returning remnant.
~ ~ ~Continued here: “Rebels, Refugees and a Returning Remnant – Part 3”