A Foundational Text: Jesus brings those on the “outside” to “the inside”.
“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Eph 2:11-22)
Some things I believe the Spirit is saying to the Angel/Church in Belmont
A: A Basic Structure
1. Creation and Fall
- Review of last Fraternal Devotion: the church in a city living under the one Fatherhood of God sets the disparate demonic host into disarray, leading to transformation at all levels of human cultural and social existence
““For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Eph 3:14ff.)
- Deuteronomy 32:8 “When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders/territories of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” The “sons of God” here are the angels (see also Genesis 6:4; Job 1-2; 38:7). (compare, Acts 17:26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”)
- This must be post-Fall, as nations did not exist in Eden.
- There is a correspondence between national boundaries and angelic representation.
- Wherever there is territorial limitation, competition for limited resources, lack of unity etc. occurs.
2. The New order in Christ
- The new creation that has come in Christ means the abolition of the old territorial relationship between angelic beings and nations. Through Jesus, the sons of God in heaven and the sons of God on earth have one Father. e.g. “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source.” (Heb 2:10-11)
- All are now immersed in the inheritance of the glory of the Father, without any division/territoriality etc. In Christ, all is now unified, to live and communicate this is to manifest the wisdom of God.
- “and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 3:9-10)
- To think this way is healing to all competitiveness. Pride in race, culture, creed, class (as superiority) is simply inverted shame, shame at the loss of “all things” originally given to Adam/humanity to govern.
- Freed from fallen “angelic thinking” we have the mind of Christ to see the essential oneness of everything as created. ““For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)
B: Spiritual warfare and the Indigenous Population of Belmont
- Sense that indigenous people are a major key to long term spiritual transformation in Australia/Belmont
- God placed the Aboriginal peoples in Australia to have dominion over the land.
- In the order of God (Gen 1:26ff.), the dominion of the land would impart a sense of royal sonship; encompassing dignity, integrity and identity.
- This was possessed (in part only, due to the Fall) by aboriginal peoples in their traditional cultural setting.
- White settlement of the continent made those who had been created by God to be “insiders” to feel “outsiders” by involuntary dispossession. (Loss of language, place, custom, ritual etc. the dominion given the first peoples by God was invalidated by the new waves of settlers.)
- The indigenous peoples entered into a state of feeling “without hope”, as if they had been abandoned by God (Eph 2:12).
- Why is it that this state of affairs has been aided, tolerated or unhealed by the church in Australia?
- Racial superiority, at least in earlier forms, no longer so broadly exists, what then is the problem?
- Phone conversation, Andrew Forrest breakfast, Australians are whingers and cynics e.g. about authority. Cynicism is a natural part of mainstream society. Cynicism is the direct opposite of hope, it breeds hopelessness!
- This is particular true with respect to the future of Aboriginal people. Wider Australian society and the church possesses large scale unbelief that this race of people can have a different future.
- This implies that transformation is racially or culturally dependent.
- This is an implicit denial that there is another future and hope than “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col 1:27)
- Paul however ties hope to God alone, “4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call” (Eph 4:4)
- To think cynically about aboriginal people e.g. as “no-hopers”, “dole-bludgers” is to be captured by a spiritual stronghold (2 Cor 10:3-4) that belongs to an era before the new creation that has come in Christ.
- In Christ, a new hope is opened up for all humanity, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Eph 1:18)
- This hope, the one hope of all nations (= people groups) is to share together in the inheritance of the Father in reigning on earth. cf. ““Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they reign on the earth.”” (Rev 5:9-10).
- Under the one Fatherhood, we should understand that angels cannot be set over nations/peoples/territories any longer. In the new covenant period, heavenly powers, under the sole Lordship of Christ, are set only in relation to churches in a geographical location (e.g. Rome, Ephesus, Smyrna, Belmont). This is why the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3all begin with, “To the angel of the church in city x” . There can no longer be an angel of Australia, Israel, America etc, or a Chinese, aboriginal, European etc. division of angelic powers.
- In Christ, we are all “insiders” together. Paul expounds the fundamental principles of gospel restoration in Galatians, “Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one…. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:19-20, 25-27) Cf. Col 3:10-11, “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
- The ultimate insiders in the reign of God that imparts dignity, integrity and identity to all peoples and cultures are the sons of God. This should lead, in the Spirit, to maximum mutual cooperation and unity.
- This unity is to be displayed, through the nations, by the proclamation to the nations cf. Matt 28, Rom 16, of the gospel. In the revelation of the unity of the entire family through the one Father, the powers of evil recognise they have no ultimate authority in the universe, for they lack a true Creator-Father.
- As believers together of all races unite, as sons of God through Christ, in the one hope of the Father, they are aided by the heavenly “sons of God” in bringing the power of the kingdom of God to the earth.
- In Belmont, this will involve renewed relationships/partnering with indigenous folk, being involved in equipping them for ruling, not merely in a spiritual sense, but in everyday work, and a broad sense of family in God.
- The church in this way images the “one hope” of the heavenly future to which all nations are called, sharing together the inheritance of the Father.
- The demonic powers, already conscious that they lack true fathering, become even more conscious that they have failed to fulfil their Creator-father’s will, their condition is experienced as “hopeless” and they progressively lose their authority.
- In this way spiritual transformation comes to a city.