Community Discussion

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The Unfinished Work (Chapter 1)

'It is finished' was the triumphant cry from the cross. The resurrection being God's affirmation that the Messiah sent from heaven had finished the work. That means grace - he has done it for us. But there is an ongoing work... the work for the significant other to complete.

The two 'works' relate to the two places - Jerusalem, centre for religion, and Rome, centre for the Imperial / political power. The two places were related in that Jerusalem was deeply compromised in its relationship with Rome. (Perhaps there is a Christendom relationship that continues today that hinders our task?)

The term 'church' ekklesia was used in common biblical language for the people of God who were listening to God and then acting on behalf of God; but perhaps more importantly used of the main city council in each of the Roman Empire centres.

That it is the core of the chapter, and is setting us up to consider that the church - what Paul was planting was an alternative to the ekklesia of Rome in each city. A little provocative and not simply an innocent private faith club!

Questions to consider:

  • How far removed do you consider that we are with our model of church on Sunday, worship, teaching etc., from that of Paul if he was indeed planting something that was an alternative to Rome.
  • In what ways do you consider that Christendom (marriage of state and church; church supports state - state gives church privileges - a post-Constantinian relationship) has continued, not just with the 'state church' (church of England etc.) but with Christians' expectation that the government will favour them? Do you think this might be detrimental?

Interesting stuff!

I think we are a long way from what Paul's model was. It has become institutionalised and far from what the man/ woman on the street is used to.  I think small groups meeting together for prayer and worship -  inviting in friends in for a meal is more appropriate and closer to that model - more human nature and less of an event, less of an occasion for religious consumption.

John... less of an event... relational... Brilliant. So necessary that we 'see' people for who they are. Your last phrase 'less of an occasion for religious consumption' really hits home.

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