Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Never Forget Whose Church It Truly Is
Isn't it wonderful how the love of God is displayed in the photo above?
Don't you just feel the forgiveness and grace spilling out over the couple as they both express their view points. If you listen closely, you can hear them calling each other by cute pet names they've given each other. Loving titles such as "Heretic"...."Blasphemer"...
"Unbeliever". You know, and I know, that I may have exaggerated this photo a bit, but the truth is such view and behavior does take place within churches today.
Divisions come up....
Factions take sides....
Churches split and make more churches filled with wounded people from the battle that ensued during the split. All the while, those outside of church stand and watch this behavior played out for everyone to see. No wonder we can't get folks to join the church. Why would they want to? You may think I am talking a bunch of hyperbole. I don't think I am. I think one of the major tools the enemy uses to stop the advancement of God's kingdom (the dynamic rule and reign in our time and space) is to get the focus off of God and onto the structure and program we call the church.
There is an unspoken ownership some have when it comes to church. They have invested themselves and their money into keeping the church afloat, there by buying them equity into any and all decisions made concerning the future (or lack there of) of the church. Never ever forget whose church it is. And the last time I checked, unless you personally hung on a cross and gave every ounce of your blood....then you really don't have a dog in this fight. It is the Risen, Glorified Jesus who claims ownership of the church.
He isn't real interested in our denominations or movements, as much as He is our obedience to the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 16:15-18 is the credentials that Jesus has to claim ownership to any and all churches. It reads as follows:
He (Jesus) said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I say that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates (or government) of Hell shall not prevail against it."
Did you catch that?
The church Jesus will build is founded on the understanding that He is the anointed of God. He is the only begotten Son of the living God. As such, nothing that the devil and his minions can throw at Jesus' church will prevail. That is a scriptural view that translates into we win in the end. Game, set, match...over!
I've been reading a book on the history of revival in the United States, and the one thing that keeps coming up over and over is the way revival's were stopped. Dissension among the leaders and the people of different denominations and different churches. Fight's would break out and names would be called...over the silliest of issues. One revival that was breaking out in the north was cut short because there was a disagreement over the definition of "Sanctification". People were dying and going to hell because two groups could not agree on what this term meant. Other issues included a fight over who would preach first......types and styles of music to be used in the service.....and on and on. All the while, the devil stands in the shadows just laughing himself to death. "How easy these humans are to manipulate and get off track."
For whatever reason, God has given me a simple theology. I guess because the people we have been called to minister to are in need of a simple message. Sin has warped and twisted us all.....God never intended for us to turn out this way, but Adam and Eve had a different take on things. Even with the mess that humanity made back in the garden, God sent Jesus to pay the sin/debt we owe. Because of His death and resurrection, the door has been opened for us to cross through and once again be able to have relationship with God. Everything else beyond that is gravy to me.
So I have taken a cue from the Apostle Paul in defining my theology.
I Corinthians 2:2 - For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. In other words, everything begins and ends at the cross and what Jesus accomplished. End of story. Like I said, all the other stuff is gravy.
God on you...
Matthew 2:1-2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerus...