In Revelation 7:9 we see the Church gathered before the throne in heaven, a multitude from “every tribe, tongue, nation and people,” proclaiming that “salvation belongs to our God, and to the Lamb.”
Jesus taught us to pray in Mt. 6:10, “Father your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
What if local churches on earth became microcosms of Church in heaven (every tribe, tongue, nation) in so far as their community’s demographics allowed?
Another prayer Jesus prayed found in John 17:21-24 explains how church like heaven is connected to the Great Commission, “Father, I have given them glory as you gave me, that they may be one…. Then the world will know that you sent me….”
Is the unity that the Gospel produces across deep human barriers of racism, culture, class and ethnicity the missing apologetic in the American Church? Is this what the world is waiting for in order to believe Jesus is the messiah?
Paul writes in Ephesians that the “mystery of the Gospel is this, that the ethne (Gentiles) are fellow heirs, members of the same body….”
The book of Romans is predicated on this same vision, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile” (Romans 3:22). As if to really drive the point home Paul adds in 3:29, “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too?”
So what will happen when the Church becomes united on earth as in heaven, every tribe, tongue, nation and people? The world will begin to believe.
The Antioch church leadership team in Acts 13:1 demonstrates what can happen: Barnabas and Paul (Saul) were Jews, the rest were Gentiles. They were Simeon called Niger (a sub-Saharan African), Lucius of Cyrene (North Africa) and Manaen (a Gentile raised wealthy). The diversity of this team is remarkable. It was fruit of a many nations church. It is this church and this leadership steam that launches the New Testament missionary movement.
Azusa Street in 1906 catalyzed this same possibility. We have this in our DNA.
The world wants to believe; they are waiting to see church like heaven on earth.
original post: January 11, 2013