"Yes" the Kingdom of God expressed here on earth should be the church, the living, vital, functioning body of Christ where His rule and reign is acknowledged, celebrated and followed. But I have to ask myself a serious question regarding the church: "Have I ever seen or been a member of a church like this?"
Unfortunately, most of the churches I have been a part of through the years have been somewhat less of the image of the invisible God in both word and deed. Granted, I'm a part of that problem so I'm not laying the blame anywhere else except squarely on my own shoulders. I remember one time on a "visitation" call to the home of a non-believer, I was privileged to discuss with him matters of salvation and to my joy, he decided during that visit to become a follower of Jesus Christ. During further discussion, I encouraged him to become a member of a local church to help him grow in his new faith and invited him to my group which was just a block away from his house. His whole countenance changed and he said, "Why would I want to go there? I've heard about your church and I've got enough problems of my own."
Another friend of mine once told me that the problem with the church today is that it is supposed to be a perfect institution but is in reality made up of fallen beings. So there's the catch: God's chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God but yet at best, sinners saved by grace.
I know that this may be a bit extreme example/idea, but it also is an all to common happening as well. Yet when I read the Bible and see the model of the New Testament church, my soul wants to scream, "I know that God's Kingdom on earth is supposed to look like God's Kingdom in heaven!" But where is it?
I have found that there are, as far as I can tell, six models of God's plan for His community in the Bible of which His church is one. I would like to discuss these over the next couple of blog posts. Until then....