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4D Church

4D Church

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Being a Design Engineer by profession, I work with technical drawings all the time. The purpose of a technical drawing is to dimension and define a particular part, giving instruction as to what it should look like and what size it should be.

It seems to me that throughout scripture God is interested in measuring things. Think of all the Old Testament records that numbered each person, in each family, in each tribe of the Israelites. Think of the instructions that God gave for the Tabernacle, which were incredibly detailed and specific.

So how would God measure us? How does God measure his church?

Revelation 21:15-17 “The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick.”

Here in Revelation, John has a vision of the New Jerusalem in all of its glory. He notices that the angel with him takes a rod of gold and measures the length, width, height and depth of the city. The length, width and height were all equal (making the city a cube) to denote the perfection and completeness of God’s Kingdom. But what do these dimensions mean? What significance do they hold?

Well, interestingly enough, when Paul talks about the love of Christ in his letter to the Ephesians, he uses exactly the same terminology to describe Christ’s love! So to get an idea of what significance these dimensions could have, let’s have a look at how Paul uses them in Ephesians:

Ephesians 3:17b-19 “…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”

Missionally Wide {Loving Sinners}

The Greek word for ‘wide’ here is ‘platos’ which means ‘a broad plane/street’. Christ’s love is broad enough that it reaches all people of all nations, cultures, ages, backgrounds, sins and successes. Christ’s love is wide enough that it would invite the lame and crippled from the streets to a banquet in heaven (Luke 14). Christ’s love is wide enough that he would cross a lake and endure a storm, just to heal one demon possessed man (two in Matthew’s gospel), then travel back across the lake (Mark 5)!

The church should be missionally wide, with its goal to reach the lost being its primary focus. Simply put, the work of the church is mission and it’s goal is to love sinners. A church that is not reaching its community/city is not wide enough. Christ’s love is an ‘arms wide open’ kind of love, and so should ours be!

Are you missionally wide? Do you see and meet the needs of people around you? Do you make an effort to share your faith with others and invite them to know more about the gospel? Are you truly inclusive of all people, or do you exclude others because you prefer the company of your close friends?

Relationally Long {Loving Saints}

The Greek word for ‘long’ here is ‘mekos’ which means ‘long duration, distant,’. Christ’s love is long in terms of its eternal time limit. Psalm 103:17  says “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him…”. Christ always has and always will love us. He said “surely I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), and he meant it!

The church should be relationally long, forming genuine and sincere friendships with each other. Church is about becoming brothers and sisters, becoming the family of God and doing life together. It’s about committing to see each other grow and pursue God with a greater passion and eagerness than ever before. John 13:35 says “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”.

Are you relationally long? Do you allow people to know you deeply, to challenge and correct you when you are wrong? Or do you hold people at arm’s length, because you have let people get too close before and were hurt? Do you encourage and spur each other on in your faith, or is your conversation no better than crude banter?

Spiritually High {Loving the Spirit}

The Greek word for ‘high’ here is ‘upsos’ which means ‘heaven, dignity or eminence’. Christ’s love is high in that it lifts us and exalts us to greater spiritual realities. Ephesians 2:6 says “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”.

The church should be spiritually high, in that it is sensitive and active in how the Holy Spirit is moving. A church that is spiritually high is active in spiritual gifts, and is sensitive to the presence of God. It is a church that is soaked in prayer, with engaging and heartfelt worship.

Are you spiritually high? Are you sensitive to the Spirit’s prompting and leading? Or are you afraid of experiencing spiritual gifts because you don’t understand them and they seem a bit wacky? Are you committed to regular prayer and even fasting to grow more in tune with the Holy Spirit?

Scripturally Deep {Loving Scripture}

The Greek word for ‘deep’ here is ‘bathos’ which means ‘fullness, immensity, profundities, deep-laid plans’. Christ love is deep in that the cross was God’s ‘deep-laid plan’ since the creation of the world. When Jesus said he had come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, he meant that all that the Law and Prophets had said pointed to him. The Gospel is not just in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but rather displayed throughout all of scripture.

A church which is scripturally deep loves digging into and expounding the scriptures. If deep roots are the strength of a tree, then deep biblical understanding is the strength of the believer. We should hunger and yearn to know and understand more about God, which means making the study of scripture a regular activity.

Are you scripturally deep? Do you commit yourself to reading the Bible regularly? Or does scripture seem outdated and irrelevant to you? Are you part of a church small-group where you can study Bible together? Or do you not like reading about things that make you feel convicted?

4D Church

I think these 4 dimensions characterize what we should be as a church and therefore as believers also. Don’t just take my word for it though, read about the start of the early church and see if these 4 dimensions are present:

Acts 2:42-47 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Were the Missionally Wide? – They gave to anyone who had need and people were getting saved everyday.

Were they Relationally Long? – All the believers were together and had everything in common. They ate together in their homes with glad and sincere hearts, enjoying the favour of all the people.

Were they Spiritually High? – Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.

Were they Scripturally Deep? – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.

The early church was active and growing in all 4 of these dimensions…Which dimension do you need to most grow in?

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