The very title of this article may cause some to become upset, others giggle and yet others clap for joy. So let me explain and do some sharing with you for a moment. Before you throw down the newspaper or newsletter, I would like you to ask yourself a serious question and then answer in an honest way. Only you and God will know the answer. God knows your thoughts and attitude, so there is no real lying here.
When you look at churches, across denominations, affiliations and associations, across the nation and in our local community, do you see the heart of God or do you see institutions at work? Who really is making the decisions in the church, the hierarchy or are people actively involved in the ministry, mission and decision making of the church? Those making the decisions, are the decisions based in prayer, scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit?
Wow, have I opened a can of worms, but isn’t this the problem. The church, the true church is the fullness of Christ expressed in the members of the body of Christ, as Christ works through us to do His will in our midst as we are obedient to His call, His mission, His needs and His ministry. Jesus speaks to the woman at the well in John chapter 4, an obvious outcast of the community. Notice these words, “23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
The fact is Christ did come and He did explain it to us. Note the verses of John chapter 15: “5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
So, when we look at the church today, do we see fruit bearing Christians, living, acting and being the disciples of Christ? Do we worship Christ with all of our heart, soul, mind and spirit but yet, fail to do the real work of producing fruit as a Christian? Worship is important, but so is being a laborer in the world for the Kingdom of God. What I want to encourage you to be is better. I am not pointing to the failings and saying to abandon ship, but rather the exact opposite, pray, seek God’s face, seek revival in the Church, the local body of believers and get back to the true love of God that consumes us to want to tell other the truth about Jesus. He forgave my sins, and He wants to forgive your sins as well. Jesus, gave me hope and purpose and He wants to give you the same thing. God has called every believer to be a disciple of Christ, to learn from Him, grow in Him and become a teacher to others of His grace, mercy and love. Don’t stop short of the goal and only intake the glory of God, share it, and share the glory of God to this world in need. If you don’t like the world you see, know that Christ isn’t please either and together we can change it. We can call for a revival in the churches to restore themselves to being the true church – the mirror of Christ to the world. Remember, we are the church, together, not alone or isolated, but together.
The writer is the pastor of Immanuel Church of Kettlersville and St. Peter’s Church in New Bremen.