What was the purpose of the Jerusalem Council at the commencing of the Early Church? In short, it allowed for the discussion and addressing of the Jewish and Gentile cultural divide that proved a hindrance to kingdom advancement. It’s important for us to consider carefully what was at stake.
The Gospel message was gaining traction, yet the Church was now confronting a moment of crisis. The decisions taken would determine whether this movement would be taken to the next level. Is there a message for us at Cornerstone and the Church at large?
These thoughts are fresh in my mind in reflecting upon the Kingdom Wealth Conference of this past week. There’s so much to digest as a result of these meetings. The parallels between the Jerusalem Council and the modern Church are strikingly real. We’ve enjoyed God’s blessing and favour, but clearly the call is to come higher in God. What does this mean and how do we go about getting there?
There was much discussion concerning the characteristics of marketplace ministers and the work of the Church. The topic of “Kings and Priests” were often heard as well. As the meetings progressed, I began to see similar Jewish/Gentile differences in our understanding of the above topics. I also began to sense a fresh appreciation for what God is doing in all spheres of ministry and I was not alone.
One of the featured speakers who moves in very high circles of influence discovered an ability to receive Words of Knowledge and names of people as he prayed. This was new to him and as a result was more inclined to continue praying for people. It was not uncommon to hear of new platforms and opportunities being opened up for those who already function in high levels of effective ministry. These are leaders who either know or who’ve helped US presidents, presidents of other nations, the Pope and heads of the biggest Fortune 500 companies. It’d be easy to dismiss the conference as being simply a wealth conference for similarly minded high-flyers of business. Such sentiments would miss the mark.
The Jewish/Gentile divide of the early Church exists in its modern-day variant. I personally feel this past week has gone a long way in helping to bridge that gap. It has to be bridged if we’re all to fulfill our God-given mandate. There’s a kingdom mindset that must be appropriated and understood at all levels. It’s not solely meant for those already functioning in that arena.
It’s difficult to put into words, but there was a dynamic at work throughout the three days of meetings. It was the bringing together of kings and priests in a way I’ve not observed before. The danger is seeing the king and priest as mutually exclusive. Can you see the implications of such a scenario, especially in light of the issues surrounding the Jerusalem Council? It’s no exaggeration to state that we’re in a defining moment. So then, how best can we bridge the gap between the Church and marketplace or the king and priest mentality?
There was a recognisable display of humility these past few days which I feel helps put all of these into proper perspective. Men and women of known stature (kings) shared openly and freely from their experiences in true love and compassion as priests. This had a profound effect upon the delegates.
At a personal level there was a recognised need for humility to deal with areas of hidden pride that only serves to hinder growth to the next level. I know many others felt the same way. It’s important that we recognise and appropriate the visitations of the Lord when they occur (Luke 19:44). This will require an ability to intentionally reflect and digest what the Spirit of the Lord is speaking to Cornerstone and to each of us as individuals.
The immediate implications of the Jerusalem Council were the establishment and eventual formation of the Philippian Church (Acts 16). Paul learned to adjust to the move of the Spirit as he heard the Macedonian Call (Acts 16:9). What about us; is there an ability to have our agendas and paradigms changed? This clearly was the case when the saints gathered at Jerusalem. This momentous event accelerated the Church to greater heights. It’s time we hear and respond to what the Spirit is saying unto the Church; to reign as true kings and priests. The day and hour demands it!
Pastor Tim O’Connell