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Introduction


Disclosing the Divine Story

Frank Viola      

"In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets.   - Ephesians 3:4-5"


From Eternity to Here

 

What I will share in the pages that follow are three narratives which, when woven together, tell the epic story of God's ageless purpose.  All three narratives are solidly grounded in Scripture.  In fact, they embody the whole story of Scripture, streaming through it like a constant current.

The first is the story of a God who is an ageless romantic, driven by one consuming pursuit.  The second is about a God who has sought since eternity to have a resting place, a habitation, a home.  And the third reveals a God from another realm who visits planet earth to establish a heavenly colony that will give Him visible expression.

In the economy of Scripture, 1 + 1 + 1 does not equal 3, but 1.  The story of God's ageless purpose is one grand drama.

Woven together, these three narratives embody "God's story," the sweeping drama of God's timeless plan in the earth, the great interpretive narrative by which we may better understand the Bible, the Christian life, and our world.

For most of us, life spins on with few breaks or transitions.  This book is designed to help put on the brakes and navigate you through a terribly important question:  What is my purpose and my passion?  And how does it map to God's?

From the book of Ephesians, we know that the triune God is chiefly occupied with the following:

  •   a house and a family for God the Father (Eph. 2:19-22).
  •   a bride and a body for God the Son (Eph. 5:25-32; 1:22-23; 2:15-16; 3:6).

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (John 15:26).  As such, He is the life of God Himself (Rom. 8:2, 9).  More precisely, the Spirit is the bond of love that flows like liquid passion within the communion of the triune God (Rom. 5:5; 15:30; 2 Cor. 13:14).  Consequently, the Spirit shares the house, the family, the bride, and the body along with the Father and the Son.

Part 1 of this book is dedicated to presenting the bride.  Part 2 is dedicated to presenting the house.  Part 3 is dedicated to presenting the body and the family.  Interestingly, all of these images are different aspects of one reality.  Taken together, they embody God's grand mission in the earth.

This progression is also rooted in Scripture.  And it is the heart of the biblical story, the metanarrative (overarching story) of holy writ.  The Father obtains a bride for His Son by the Spirit.  He then builds a house in which He, the Son, and the bride dwell together in the Spirit.  The Father, the Son and the bride live in that house as an extended household and they have offspring by the Spirit.  The offspring constitutes a family, a new humanity called "the body of Christ."

If you have been a Christian for any length of time, terms like "bride of Christ," "body of Christ," "house of God," and "family of God" are all too familiar to you.  They may even be worn out and tiresome.  It's not an overstatement to say that our wearied familiarity with these words has blunted their edge and diluted their impact.

Christians have been given a steady diet of biblical terminology.  We speak it fluently because it's the tribal language.  But the reality and the power behind our terminology has largely been lost.

My hope, therefore, is that as you read this book, new life will be breathed into these familiar terms.  I pray that the Holy Spirit would fill them with their original beauty and awe to this end:  That you would be given a dramatically new, if not a staggering look at the ageless purpose that drives your God.  For that purpose is the very reason you exist.

 

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More Good Stuff:

Church Practice and God's Eternal Purpose — From the beginning, God wanted a bride to marry, a house to dwell in, a family to enjoy, and a visible body through which to express Himself.  This, and not simply weekly meetings, is what the church is all about.

Pagan Christianity? — Most of what present-day Christians do in church each Sunday is rooted in pagan culture and rituals developed long after the death of the apostles.

Reimagining Church — The model of church community envisioned in the New Testament has been abandoned in America and replaced with corporate structure.  This is an effort to regain what has been lost.

Rethinking the Will of God: A New Look at an Old Question — God has a moral will for us and gives us room to roam within the boundaries of His Kingdom.  This book explores the Biblical priorities that will help you make optimal decisions.

So You Want To Start A House Church? — This is a seminal discussion on church formation and the nature of apostolic ministry, built on practical experience as well as a thorough examination of the New Testament.

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