I have been learning of a principle in the Kingdom of God called Fullness and Fulfillment.
This principle is taught and demonstrated all over the Bible but let me emphasize two places specifically.
The first is in 1 Samuel 16:1 when God said to his prophet Samuel, “fill your horn with oil, and be on your way”.
Fill your horn with oil- Fullness of the Holy Spirit
Be on your way- Fulfillment of God’s Mission
Second, I see this principle taught by Jesus as recorded in Acts 1:8:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you- Fullness of the Holy Spirit
Be my witnesses to the ends of the earth- Fulfillment of God’s Mission
The only way the Kingdom of God is built, per this principle, is for both fullness and fulfillment to be repeatedly happening, and in that order. Jesus’ whole life and ministry flowed from this principle.
We, as his followers (who have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior), must both individually (during alone times in God’s word and prayer) and corporately (in worship gatherings of the church) be spending time “filling our horns with the oil of the Holy Spirit. We must receive power when Jesus fills us with the Holy Spirit.
Then we must go “on our way” and “be witnesses to the ends of the earth”, giving all that oil away to a hurting world.
Rinse and repeat…
Unless we are full of the Holy Spirit we do not have the power and truth to help anybody and vice versa; if we are out trying to help anybody without being full of the Holy Spirit’s power what we are trying to fulfill will not make any lasting difference.
Why do I bring this up?
I am witnessing a lot of anger and tension growing among those who call themselves believers in Jesus, especially in America, and it needs to be addressed if Jesus’ prayer of unity among His followers is to happen. I believe that the body of Christ, which I will refer to as the church, is currently split into three segments.
First, I see a segment of the Christian church that has gotten stuck in fullness.
They meet regularly and get filled and filled and filled. They love the comfort of being full. Every Sunday, Wednesday and maybe even Saturdays they pride themselves on being in church, they have a full well and guard it mercilessly. They may use the oil they get filled with inside the church to heal each other, but unless the hurting world comes through their doors they don’t get to benefit from their any of their fullness.
Their philosophy seems to be: let’s get filled up on loving each other and talk about Jesus while we wait to go to heaven together, and oh, if anyone wants to join us they can come to us. All the while offering a form of godliness without any power.
I believe Jesus referred to this fullness segment as “Luke-warm”
They have missed the entire message Jesus taught that they are to seek as a group an encounter with God’s manifest presence, be filled by His Spirit which empowers them to go with Jesus out of the church building and “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons in His name” no matter their ethnic background, religious affiliations or personal choices.
For freely they have received; freely it should be given.” (my paraphrase of Matthew 10:8)
Because this segment of the church is not circulating this “oil” properly it has started to lose its ability to produce any light and people, especially of the younger generation are fleeing from it like a sinking ship; for some very good reasons. God never meant his representation on earth, the body of Christ, to be one dimensional.
The problem is that there are some of those fleeing who seem to have; to use an idiom from my generation, “thrown out the baby with the bath water”.
That segment has now become the ones who strongly desire to take on the missing part, that of fulfillment, and “are on their way” serving and serving and serving. Yet, this fulfillment segment has so rejected the concept of church that the fullness segment has taught them(the bath water)that they have turned away from the idea of meeting together as a body to seek God’s presence(the baby), and their lamps have run out of oil making them unable to give the light that the world truly needs.
And worse, the world sits back and witnesses these two segments interacting by throwing stones at each other.
The fullness segment judges the fulfillment segment for not being in church inferring that they, therefore, can’t really be saved. The fulfillment segment hurls judgment stones right back inferring that the fullness segment must not truly be followers of Jesus because they are not feeding the poor and reaching out to the outcasts.
All the while the world turns their head in disgust, God grieves and Satan sits back and smiles.
Thankfully I see a third segment of the church very much alive in the world.
I refer to this as the Church on Fire.
A segment where, just like the disciples in the upper room, are following God’s command to meet regularly to pray (spend time in God’s manifest presence) and encourage (build up)and care for one another until they get completely filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit for their lamps.
Then they walk out as one, shining brightly, to give all of the oil away to a lost and dying world.
They are the ones fulfilling the commission Jesus gave them to “make disciples of all nations”. And when their lights dim, these humble servants head back together; daily or weekly to be freely given more oil from the Holy Spirit. As they are refilled they head out again, freely giving it all away to hurting people who desperately need Jesus, His love and his true kingdom.
This is the segment making lasting change, a segment that Satan is warring to stop.
A segment that is “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8,9).
A segment that is calling to the other two segments to join them.
So together we will be the Christ exalting, God encountering, neighbor loving, nation reaching, God’s kingdom building church God is calling us to be
When these segments finally unify to become the beautiful bride of Christ they are supposed to be, they will hasten the coming of the bridegroom, Jesus’ and His kingdom on earth.
And together with people from every tribe, tongue and nation, with lamps lit brightly by the oil we have filled them with, go together into the wedding feast being prepared for all on the great and awesome day of Jesus’ return.