As We Enter the Fullness of Times

By Francis Frangipane

I love the word of God. I have a burning passion that my words might be drawn from that holy river that flows, "clear as crystal," from God's throne (Rev 21:1). At the same time, however, I had spent far too much time preparing this sermon. Suddenly, the Lord interrupted my prolonged study and set my eyes upon the greater picture.

He said, "I have called you, not merely to prepare sermons, but to prepare people."

Yes, there is a difference between preparing a message about God and preparing a people for God. Obviously, sermon preparation is very important, but it is not an end in itself. The goal is to equip and train people to represent Christ.

As we approach the end of this age, I believe the Father's heart is fervently working to train people who will represent Him prior to the worldwide tribulation period. Thus, as no other time in history, we must become people who truly and accurately reveal Jesus Christ. We must know not only that He heals, but who He wants to heal. We must possess His wisdom as well as His power; His meekness along with His authority; His love and His judgment. It is time for the church to "grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ" (Eph 4:15).

The Purpose of Leadership
The primary reason the Lord provides ministers in the church is for training and equipping. As Paul wrote, ministers are given by Christ, "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph 4:12 KJV). It is one thing to deliver a person from oppression; another thing altogether to train the delivered to become deliverers themselves. Indeed, it is important to lead people to Christ, but how much more important to teach others to lead multitudes to Christ.

We have made "salvation" an end-all experience. Salvation is a beginning, a first step toward attaining "the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-13). This verse, which speaks of our transformation, is not given as a hope of an afterlife with Jesus, but attaining the present life of Jesus. Consider it deeply, for there is no truth more profound than this: God's expressed will for us is nothing short of the fullness of Christ! All that Jesus did, all that Jesus was in His earthly character, and all that Jesus purchased--Christ in divine fullness--is the mandate spoken by God for the church.

As He Is

As pastors, we feel successful if people under our charge are nice. However, God did not create us to reveal the "fullness of nice," but the fullness of Christ. Our task, as ministers, is not merely to keep the church from sin, but to labor to conform the church to Him. At the core of our destiny is one source of fulfillment and power: Christ in us. Regardless of the task given us--whether we are in leadership or support, whether we are evangelistic or intercessory in assignment--we all draw our life from Christ. The task is not the issue; conformity to Christ's nature is the goal.

John confirms this when he says, "As He is, so also are we in this world" (1 John 4:17). And again, "By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked" (1 Jn 2:5c-6). Jesus Himself said that we were to be students whose goal is to be "fully trained," until we become "like [our] teacher" (Lk 6:40).

To the testimony of the Scriptures, I add with full authority: there is no lasting fulfillment in life apart from Christlike transformation; no success will ever truly satisfy, no personal attainment will find permanent satisfaction. David said, "I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake" (Ps 17:15).

In whatever study or course of training you embark upon in your spiritual life, ask yourself one question: Will I become more Christlike in the process? This is the goal of our In Christ's Image Training program: to present the singular source of our destiny: Christlikeness. God's goal with us is not merely that we prepare anointed teachings, but anointed people--disciples who shall reveal the fullness of Christ as we enter the fullness of time. 


For more information about the In Christ's Image Training course visit www.icitc.org.