The Synergistic Church: The Answer To Fulfilling the Great Commission
At the Synergize 2002 Conference (formerly called Beyond All Limits), we stated that the Church is moving past egos and logos to we go to finish the Great Commission. At the Synergize 2008 Conference, we articulated that a massive missional shift was underway throughout the Body of Christ. This missional shift was summarized with: It is no longer the West going to the Rest, but the Best around the World going to the Rest of the World.
When I read Dr. Stephen Covey’s book in 1996, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I was captivated by all seven habits. Yet, habit number six, synergize, so moved my heart and mind, I never returned to my old way of thinking about Christians in general and the Church in particular. As we will see below, synergy is a New Testament word and concept, but because the Church failed to incorporate it and use it, the Business community stole it. What you don’t use, you will ultimately lose.
Synergy In The Creator
In Jesus’ high priestly prayed, He said, I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one even as you, Father, are in Me and I in you, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent me (John 17:20-21).
When we carefully look at John 17:20-21, John is teaching that as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, so Believer should be “in each other” and not “at each other.” When Jesus prayed this prayer, he was not just praying for his current disciples but for those who would hear the Word of God over the last 2,000 years. He prayed that the Believers become one like the Trinity is one. There is synergy in the Trinity. There are three distinct persons in the Godhead and the sum of the whole is greater that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit just being separate identities.
Synergy For Christians
In Romans 8:28 we read, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This one verse will help us to go to sleep at night when nothing else will.
There are many things in this world that are not good. In and of themselves they are bad, even terrible. However, by the chemistry of the cross—God takes these things that in themselves are bad and God compounds them in the crucible of his omnipotence. He synergizes them with the hand of his love, and they become to us that which is good. They become to us flavors of life and they nourish us.
“Work together” comes from synergia, from which we have the term, synergy or synergize. This term is the genius of this magnificent promise. In His God-ness and goodness, God weaves all things together, for those who love Him, into a one-word conclusion: GOOD. Nothing can frustrate this, because no one and no thing has power beyond the One who created all things. They are under His feet. God synergizes all things together to accomplish His divine purpose in our lives. The sum of the whole is greater than its individual parts.
First, we learn the certainty of this divine synergy. Paul says, “And we know that all things work together.” This is not conjecture. This is not surmising. He says, “We know that it is true.” The promises of God are yea and amen in Jesus Christ.
Dr. F. B. Meyer said, “On an occasion, if any promise of God should fail, the Heaven would clothe themselves with sackcloth. The sun, the moon, and the stars would reel from their courses. The universe would rock. And, a hollow wind would moan through a ruined creation the awful message that God can lie. But, thank God, while many may lie, God cannot lie. He abides faithful.”
We should take our eyes off the waves of life and place our eyes on God’s mighty tide. The same God that programmed the planets to draw that tide back and forth is the God that controls our lives. He is the same God that controls this universe.
Next, we understand the completeness of this divine synergy. Paul writes, “And we know that all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). Not some things, not a few things, and not most things. There is nothing that is outside the realm of this promise. He says all things work together for good.
We know that the sweet things work together for good. Thank God for the kiss of a baby, for the love of a wife, for friendship, for health, for happiness, for the local church, for joy and for music. God takes these things and God uses them for good even when we’re not good. The Bible says, “…the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
What about the sorrowful things? They work together for good also. In Jeremiah 24:5, we can see how God dealt with his ancient people, Judah. We read, “Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.”
What about the sinister things in life? In Genesis 50, Joseph is front and center of God’s divine plan. A person would find it difficult to find anything bad said about Joseph. I know he was a sinner like the rest of us, but how he was mistreated. If you would read the story of Joseph, you would find that he was betrayed by his brethren. He was put into a pit and left for dead. And, then brought out of that pit and sold into slavery. After he was sold into slavery, he was cast into prison. He was maligned and ridiculed. But, in Genesis 5:20, he said, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.”
Even the satanic things God works together for our good. God allowed the devil to buffet Job in the Old Testament. Yet, Job said, “My faith became like pure gold” (Job 23:10).
Furthermore, our God takes the simple things in life and synergizes them together for our good. Did you know that the very hairs of your head are numbered? Did you know not a blade of grass moves without God’s permission?
Third, we know the cause of this divine synergy. Why does it happen this way? Paul says, “and we know that God works all things together for good.” Things in themselves don’t work together. Where God does not rule, God overrules. God is the one who brings order out of confusion and harmony out of discord. It is not that things that work together for good. The good is the result of God synergizing them together it.
What is this divine synergy? God takes the evil that assaults us and combines it with His working, His weaving, His divinely manipulating hand, joining them together in such ways that the end result is good.
Fourth, there is a condition for this divine synergy. It’s not just automatic. The Bible says. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28).
So, for those who are loving God and are called according to His purpose, He synergizes multiple forces—good and evil, light and dark—and brings them to a beneficial result for us. He does NOT say that all things are good in the believer’s life. He does not say that He is the cause of all things. He cannot be, because He is not the author of evil, and He should never be accused of such. However, we can rest of the biblical reality, for those who love God, He miraculously synergizes together all things for our good.
Last, we know the consequences of this divine synergy. How do all things work together for good? For us to be wealthy? No. For us to be healthy? Not necessarily. That we will be happy. Perhaps, but not necessarily. What are the consequences? We read, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
What is His purpose? We read, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren…” (Romans 8:29). What is the ultimate outcome of this supernatural synergy? The consequence of it, is that we will be like Jesus.
A lot of people have the wrong idea regarding why God works together all things for our good. They think, everything is working together for good. Imagine a man driving down the road. While he is driving down the road, one of his tires blow out and he says, “Oh well, praise God, all things work together for the good, there is a sale on tires somewhere.” Yet, this is not what Romans 8:28 means.
God may arrange a sale on tires out of mercy and I think frequently He does. Yet, God’s plan for you is not necessarily that you have new tires on your tires. God’s plan for you is that you are like Jesus and that you will be conformed to the image of His Son.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:29-31).
God is leading somewhere for those who follow Him. He has called them out on purpose, and nothing will thwart His ultimate agenda. He is making us like His Son and chipping away everything that does not look like Him. This world is the oven where this baking occurs … the melting pot where the dross is sloughed off and the sanctifying happens. And God causes all things to accomplish this glorious result.
Even death does not interrupt this process, but rather, completes it! It is the ultimate fear of most people, but the ultimate good for the Believer. He sheds the sin-weakened earth-suit and takes on the glories of heaven, soon to get a completely glorified body, impervious to sin and decay and death. Nothing can overcome us; nothing can stop us. Why? God is with us, and His divine synergy is at work in all things for our good.
Christians around the world are being tortured and killed for their faith in Christ. More are being martyred for Christ today than ever before. If seen only from the world’s viewpoint, we see that this divine synergy does not seem to work for good in their lives. Nevertheless, God’s sovereign synergy is at work in their lives. It is beyond our mental comprehension, but God takes the worst evil we can imagine, and weaves it with His promise and reality of eternal life and rewards.
What is the end result? What men meant for evil, God joined with His goodness. These faithful martyrs enter instantly into the presence of God and receive the highest rewards for all of eternity in heaven. The devil’s supposed outward victory becomes the believers’ assured and glorious victory. Oh grave where is your victory? Oh death where is your sting?
Synergy For The Church
In 1 Corinthians 3:9, we learn through the Apostle Paul, “We are fellow-workers with God.” Fellow-workers is derived from, “syergoi,” and denotes a synergy between each other and with God. When we synergize our talents and skills together under the divine direction of God, mighty power is the result.
As we synergize and mobilize in order to finalize the Great Commission, we need to remember that each of us have a role in the goal and part in God’s heart. The Apostle Paul states, “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ . . .But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body” (1 Corinthians 12:14-31).
What is the answer to finalizing the Great Commission? A synergistic Church. I realize there are thousands of different denominations and fellowships, but there is only one body, the Church. Over the centuries, scores of denominations have said that they will complete the Great Commission but so far, not one single denomination or fellowship has done so.
With eight billion people on the planet with projections to surpass nine billion in ten years, it is far too late in the day to argue over the incidentals and neglect the fundamentals. It is far too late in the day to only focus only on growing our respective organizations, without focusing on how we will finish the Great Commission. For far too long we have chosen the wrong measurement to ascertain our level of success.
For Eleazer in Genesis 24, success for him was “I found a bride for Isaac.” In fact, he said, “Since you can see that God has made my path successful.” Success for him was when he found Rebecka and took her to Isaac. And, so it is for us. We are commissioned to find the Bride for Christ and to bring her to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
It is the synergistic church that will afford us the opportunity to complete the Great Commission our lifetime.
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