Mysteries of the Kingdom

                                                  photo by Karin Beate Nosterud, cc-by-sa-2.5, wikimedia commons


    Jesus built His church. He built it not on what a lot of evangelicals call the gospel, but on what He called the gospel: the good news of His kingdom. When Peter said, "You are the [King], the Son of the Living God,"* Jesus told Peter to keep that a secret. He also told Peter, " is on this rock that I will build my congregation, and the powers of hell will not conquer it." The ISV literally translates one particular word in this verse as "congregation" where many other translations use the odd word "church" which has become just a religious word, devoid of true meaning to modern readers. Jesus did not build His Sunday morning religious activity, much less His religious building; He built His gang, His congregation or gathering of people. Jesus built His gang on the solid rock that Peter had just stated: that Jesus is the Christ, the ultimate King.

    When King Jesus said He would build His gathering/congregation/gang, He meant *His* more strongly than we realize. Throughout the New Testament, we read that His gang is actually the "body" of King Jesus. He did not promise to build individuals who live independently. He promised to build a gathering or a gang of people intensely connected to one another. The Apostle Paul used the word "body" to describe the gang of Jesus, calling individual believers "organs" or "body parts." Our modern translations often use the word "members" which is technically correct since our organs are "members" of our bodies, but culturally we think of members in terms of "membership" to a club.
    When a Christian says, "I'm a member of So-and-So Church," it often only means something dangerously close to "I am in the So-and-So Christian club." Next time someone says they are a church member, we might inquire, "Which kind of body part are you?"
    "For the body does not consist of only one part, but of many. If the foot says, 'Since I'm not a hand, I'm not part of the body,' that does not make it any less a part of the body, does it? And if the ear says, 'Since I'm not an eye, I'm not part of the body,' that does not make it any less a part of the body, does it?  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has arranged the parts, every one of them, in the body according to his plan." (1Co12:14-18)

photo of serious gangsters doing gang stuff

    Since everyone in the Jesus Gang is an organ of the King's body, everyone is important. Many of the organs in a human body can be removed without causing death, but organ removal is painful and not the preferred way of life. Most of our organs make us stronger, more productive, and more able to adapt to our environment. So it is with the body of King Jesus. He built His gang as body-parts to rely on each other, supply each other and work together.
    A Christian trying to live without the Jesus-gang is like an organ trying to live without all the other organs of its body. Any organ all by itself is repulsive, gross, lifeless, ineffective, and dying. If you believe Jesus is the King, the Son of God, then believe that He made you an organ. Get attached to His body or be gross - your choice, you organ you.

    At the end of the first chapter of his letter to Ephesus, Paul called the us not only the "body" of Jesus, but even "the fullness" of Jesus. Instead of asking, "What would Jesus do," we might ask, "What *is* Jesus doing?"
    Right now, gangs of people who believe Jesus is King are working together as interdependent organs under the leading of King Jesus in the anointing of His Holy Spirit. Today countless gangs of Jesus are operating as His body, working miracles on earth.
    Gangs of Jesus are feeding the hungry, praying fervently, sharing truth, hugging the lonely, rebuilding people out of addictions, weeping with the mournful, literally casting out demons, shining the light of hope into darkness, rescuing broken families, building hospitals, giving to the poor, repairing the homes of widows, adopting orphans, helping women in crisis pregnancies... The list does not end, and these are more than charitable acts. When Jesus-gangs do these things, they have the capability of the Holy Spirit of God to do them with supernatural truth, with miracle answers to prayer, with authority over demons, with the good news of the unique King, and with eternal results.
    We are not the club of do-gooders. Scripture plainly says we are the fullness of King Jesus. It does not say any one of us is the fullness of Jesus, but that the gang is the fullness of Him. An organ by itself is just gross, but every organ which operates humbly in the body of King Jesus is engaged within the "the fullness" of earth's true King! Get in the gang, and learn how the King taught His gang to fight.

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*NASB with "the King" substituted where NASB reads "Christ". For explanation of such substitution, click here.

"The Gang of Jesus" by Matthew Bryan was first published at March 11th, 2013. All rights are reserved. Except where otherwise noted, scripture taken from the Holy Bible: International Standard Version. Copyright 1996-2013 by The ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission.