I apologize for not being more productive in this past month or so, I have been thinking and seeking the Lord for ‘stuff’… But I’m back.
I have been thinking a lot about “The Church” and what it is supposed to be like for Christ-followers (Christians). There is a proliferation, today, of materials on the Missional calling of the Church, some good, some OK, but all challenging to those of us who sincerely desire to be and do all that God has called us to be and do in this world today.
Some say that we are called to worship God and reach out to and save the lost. Some say that we are called to expand the Church through church planting. Some say that we are to build up the Church so that we can carry on the Great Commission that Jesus gave to us at the time of His ascension. Then there are those who say we are to love God and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Many today are seeking to do these things by revival, power and authority, spiritual warfare and intercession, the understanding of the hidden things of eschatology, correct doctrine, even becoming more spiritual and Christ-like through performing the disciplines of the Christian life…These are all good and Scriptural things for us to do… but… what is God’s mission and purpose for His church in the world??? What we as westerners sometimes miss is that the Church is a corporate organism, like a family or a body – not a bunch of individuals organized together that are trying to do something for God.
As we read and study the Scriptures there are a few reoccurring pictures that we find: the Bride, the Wife, the Family, the Community, the Dwelling Place, the Body, the Head. I am coming to believe that God’s mission and purpose for His Church are hidden in these relational terms.
Each of these pictures are presented in relationship to Father God and Jesus Christ, It seems obvious, to me at least, that God’s purpose and mission for creating humans is so that He would have an extended family to love, dwell in, and to reveal Himself through them to principalities and powers… when we read Genesis we see this even before mans fall into sin indicating that this was God’s intention from eternity past, and not part of the redemption plan to rescue people from the devils bondage, rule, and destruction. It is obvious to me, also, that the devil knew God’s plan and that’s why he stepped in, to ruin it by tempting and deceiving Eve and Adam to disobey God and sin.
You may be asking yourself, ‘so what Jim?’ where are you going with this? Well… many are saying today that the Church is ineffective and becoming more so as time goes on. The Church is shrinking and we are struggling to understand why. Some think that the Church has outlived its effectiveness has become archaic and is no longer needed in our modern times. Let’s face it Christians are not very committed to the Church, we allow almost anything to keep us from attending even though the Word instructs us to not allow anything to keep us from assembling together;
Heb 10:19-25 NLT
19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
So why do you think the Church is becoming ineffective in society today?
I’m wondering if it’s because we are not the Church that God has envisioned us to be…
- Perhaps we are too organized and not ‘organic’ enough…
- Could it be that we are not really a close knit family unit that really longs to meet together as they did in the book of Acts???
- Do we really expect Jesus to be in our midst – His ‘real’ presence …
- After all, He said that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name He would be in their midst, and
- That if 2 or 3 agreed on anything as concerning Him He would do it for us…
- Could it be that Jesus is not really our center???
Do we really believe and practice that kind of meeting together?
If we did what would that produce in our meetings… in the world???
Please let me know what you think…