On January 1, 2012 I launched this blog, Christ-Centered Christianity. The motivation for starting it, and its name, sprang from a writing endeavor I had begun a few months earlier of a book manuscript with a working title of none other than, Christ-Centered Christianity. That wasn’t the beginning, however, for the motivation for the book came out of an intensive, five-session seminar I taught two years prior to that called, you guessed it, Christ-Centered Christianity. This seminar was the culmination and condensation of over thirty years of the Lord’s teaching in my life concerning His (Christ-centered) eternal purpose and how it spiritually and practically relates to the Church.
In this and the next two posts, I’d like to go back to that seminar, recorded in our home in 2009 with about twenty brothers and sisters present, and share the audio of Session 1. The theme of the initial session was, “The Eternal Purpose of God and the Church”. It consisted of an introduction followed by six main aspects of teaching. This post covers the first four parts of the teaching which include a look at four essential attributes of the eternal purpose, an anatomy of the word “purpose”, the place of the Father in relation to the eternal purpose, and three reasons why we should study it. (I’ve edited out the introduction for time’s sake in this post.)
The two posts that will follow will contain the fifth and sixth parts of the teaching which are concerning the place of the Son and of the Church, respectively, in the eternal purpose. This entire first session of the seminar contained nearly two hours of teaching and so in these posts I am breaking it down into more manageable pieces. (Within each post I’m also breaking it down further into three or four sub-sections and compiling them into playlists which will play the sections contiguously, or separately, depending on your preference.) There is a lot to chew on here!
As a final introduction to this teaching, I’ve included below the short piece that I wrote for the brochure that we sent out to invite people to this seminar. This writing very concisely expresses the essence of not only the seminar, but also of my primary spiritual burden, and all things “CCC” that have followed after it!
I pray that you are encouraged and edified by this foundational teaching.
(Note: This seminar was initially planned as a four-part series, but we added an extra session as it was unfolding to provide more time to cover the material of part three.)
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Ever since the early apostolic days the Church has subtly, yet significantly, drifted from her First Love and centered her affections and focus upon things which are secondary rather than on the One who alone is primary. God’s eternal purpose for the universe, and especially for His Church, is that His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, would hold the unrivaled place of centrality and supremacy in all things. (See Col.1:18) All of the weakness, failure, deception, division, deadness, bondage, legalism, religiosity, and worldliness that have plagued the Church for 2000 years can be traced to one simple universal truth: In one way or another, some one or some thing has taken the place of preeminence and centrality that belongs solely to the Lord Jesus Christ in relation to the Church. This insidious and persistent tendency has re-shaped and re-fashioned the Church over the ages into something that God never intended her to be. Her fallen, misshapen forms have been accepted as normal and great spiritual diminishment and disillusionment has ensued. Most significantly, God’s radiant testimony to His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus has been all but lost in and through the corporate expression of His Church.
Both the Old and New Testaments bear witness to the fact, however, that no matter how far from God’s original intent and purpose His people may fall in any dispensation, He always raises up an overcoming remnant who bear the light of His full testimony in the earth. This overcoming vessel is the primary instrument He uses to close out one age and to usher in the next. To obtain this vessel is the great passion and pursuit of God’s heart in this hour as we near the closing out of the Church age and the coming in of the age of the Kingdom.
We invite you to join us for a four-part teaching series that will examine these truths in a more thorough manner. The schedule is as follows:
1. The Eternal Purpose of God and the Church – An overview of God’s Eternal Purpose and the place and calling of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Church within it.
2. “Eccentricity”: The Root of all Apostasy – An examination of the process and development of the Church when Christ is supplanted from His unrivaled place of centrality and supremacy in all things.
3. A History of Eccentricity – An overview of the major movements through Church history tracing the development of apostasy as well as the restoration purpose of God at the end of the age to His full purpose.
4. Foundations for the Restoration of God’s House – The eternal principles that govern the (remnant) Church as it returns to God’s original desire and purpose.
We encourage you to set aside these four Sundays and to purposefully commit to the full teaching of this series. This is the culmination and distillation of over 30 years of specific burden from the Lord concerning His original and end-time purpose concerning Christ and His Church.
We look forward to sharing these times with you and trust that the Lord will have His way as we gather.
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And now, without further ado, here is the first installment of Session 1:
The Eternal Purpose of God and the Church – Part 1 – mp3 complete (right click and select “Save Link As…” to download)
Related posts and page:
The Heart of the Matter (“Christ the Center” series revisited – Part 3)
Unlocking God’s Eternal Purpose (“Christ the Center” series revisited – Part 4)
Shaped by God’s Eternal Purpose
Our Deepest Convictions