Church Wanted: Conclusion??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 20 No.01
As we have looked at issues relating to the condition of the Church–The Bride of Jesus Christ–I would like us to examine the church from a different perspective. We so often get caught up in the building or the denomination, or the doctrinal differences, and while buildings are nice, they are not the church. While denominations come from differences of beliefs and understandings of scripture, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for what we believe is important, but what we have often forgotten is that the church isn’t any of these things–the church is an organism, the living, breathing, bride of Jesus Christ, not just an organization.
Organism: a form of life composed of mutually interdependent parts that maintain various vital processes…
Organization: something that is organized; the state or manner of being organized…
This organism is alive by the power, grace, and redemption of The Lord Jesus Christ.
“Jesus saith unto him,
and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.” John 14:6
Paul makes it clear that we have life from, in, with, and through Jesus Christ, The Lamb of God, by whose blood we are made alive (quickened means to be made alive).
hath he quickened,
who were dead
in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked
according to the course of this world,
according to the prince
of the power of the air,
the spirit that now worketh
in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also
we all had our conversation
in times past
in the lusts of our flesh,
the desires of the flesh
and of the mind;
and were by nature
the children of wrath,
even as others.
4 But God,
who is rich in mercy,
for his great love
wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins,
hath quickened us
together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up
and made us sit
together in heavenly places
in Christ Jesus:” Ephesians 2:1-6
Let’s walk through this together, Jesus makes it clear that HE IS “life”; Paul goes on to paint a picture of this “life”. He says that we are “dead in sins”, “children of wrath”, and “children of disobedience” without Jesus! Not a pleasant picture, but a true one! Yet verse 4 is one of my favorite phrases in all of scripture, “BUT GOD”! But God made a way for us to become HIS children, by the blood of The Lamb of God, Jesus, who came to save us by taking care of our sin problem–he gave HIS life to pay our sin debt at Calvary!
“He was in the world,
and the world was made by him,
and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own,
and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him,
to them gave he power
to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born,
not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.” John 1:10-13
Even as John the Baptizer proclaimed:
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him,
Behold the Lamb of God,
which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29
Even as Jesus told Nicodemus, on the night he came seeking answers. And HE is still answering questions today–yours and mine–for HE is the answer to our every need! (I encourage you to read all of John chapter 3 today–it is so amazing!)
“Jesus answered and said unto him,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him,
How can a man be born when he is old?
can he enter the second time
into his mother’s womb,
and be born?
5 Jesus answered,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born
and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter
into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh
and that which is born of the Spirit
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee,
Ye must be born again.” John 3:3-7
Even as Jesus shared with the Samaritan woman at the well:
“10 Jesus answered and said unto her,
If thou knewest the gift of God,
and who it is that saith to thee,
Give me to drink;
thou wouldest have asked of him,
and he would have given thee
….14 But whosoever drinketh
of the water that I shall give him
shall never thirst;
but the water that I shall give him
shall be in him a well of water
into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him,
Sir, give me this water,
that I thirst not,
neither come hither to draw…
….23 But the hour cometh, and now is,
when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father
and in truth:
for the Father seeketh such
to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit:
and they that worship him
must worship him
in spirit and in truth.
25 The woman saith unto him,
I know that Messias cometh,
which is called Christ:
when he is come,
he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus saith unto her,
I that speak unto thee
am he.” Portions of John 4:10-26
Not only did Jesus reveal Himself to a Samaritan, but a Samaritan ‘woman’! Something unheard of in that day and time, but Jesus wants us to know that He came for all who would repent, receive, and believe in this same revelation that HE made to this woman, who received the message that HE IS the Messiah for all, and then spread it abroad!
“I tell you, Nay:
but, except ye repent,
ye shall all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen,
upon whom the tower in Siloam fell,
and slew them,
think ye that they were sinners
above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, Nay:
but, except ye repent,
ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3-5
Salvation is available to all who will come to Jesus in repentance and faith in HIS substitutionary, atoning sacrifice which HE made at Calvary! Friends, all who will receive HIM and be born again ARE the church! A part of the “body of Christ”(the church in its entirety), yet we are also to be a part of a local body of believers for sustenance, spiritual growth, fellowship, service, and ministry both individually and corporately, as needs warrant, and as our gifts supply. WE ARE THE BODY–and while I won’t take time to cover all that Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12-14, I do want to call us to take heed to the things that Paul wrote about “the body” –here’s Blanche’s paraphrase: our parts don’t walk around independently–I can’t imagine a funnier and scary sight–but that is how many churches function today! But God calls us to pursue HIM, not self, and when we do, unity can and should prevail, for our gifts are given by God, and God holds us accountable to use them according to HIS WORD with selfless love of God and others–both the saved and the lost.
“And he gave some,
and some, prophets;
and some, evangelists;
and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints,
for the work of the ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith,
and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
unto a perfect man,
unto the measure
of the stature
of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth
be no more children,
tossed to and fro,
and carried about
with every wind of doctrine,
by the sleight of men,
and cunning craftiness,
whereby they lie in wait
15 But speaking the truth in love,
may grow up into him in all things,
which is the head,
16 From whom the whole body
fitly joined together
by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working
in the measure of every part,
maketh increase of the body
unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16
And Paul’s message to the Corinthian believers was a call to serve in humility and recognition that our gifts are given by God–not by the will of man for self-exaltation. And I believe when you are gifted by God, and submit to His will for your life, HE will direct your ways to fulfill your calling and edify others. Even as Jeremiah said of his calling, and I know that many share his declaration of the burning of God in our heart!
“Then I said,
I will not make mention of him,
nor speak any more in his name.
But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I was weary with forbearing,
and I could not stay.” Jeremiah 20:9’
“Now there are diversities of gifts,
but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations,
but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations,
but it is the same God
which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit
is given to every man
to profit withal.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Peter gives a most concise summary of how we are to use our giftings–for God, as good stewards of God’s provision, and to GOD’s glory not our own!
“As every man hath received the gift,
even so minister the same
one to another,
as good stewards
of the manifold grace of God.
11 If any man speak,
let him speak as the oracles of God;
if any man minister,
let him do it as of the ability
which God giveth:
that God in all things
may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom be praise
for ever and ever.
Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11
So, my questions about the church are for you and me: “Am I being “the church” to God’s glory?” “Have I been born again, and received a gifting that I am not using for God’s glory?” “Is my life outside of the corporate church building a shining light for Jesus, or a shame to HIS name?” “Am I yielded to God’s work in me, or going my own way; then showing up on Sunday for HIS blessings on my disobedience and sin?” Please know that I am not throwing rocks, just asking us to consider if we are part of the problem or part of the solution! May we love, care and yield ourselves to our King–caring and praying, not gossiping!
Many years ago, God gave me a way to stop being a conduit for “gossip” presented in the form of a “prayer request”; when someone called or asked me about something in this vein, I started stopping them before they began to “share” something that “I needed to know”, I would ask simply and kindly, “Are YOU a part of the problem?” (and the answer was almost always, NO!). “Are YOU part of the solution?” (and the answer was always, NO!). So I would tell them, ‘then you don’t need to be repeating this to me or anyone else’! At first when I would do this, I’d get the stammers and stutters of “but…but…but” to which I would reiterate, I don’t need to hear it if you’re not a part of the problem or the solution–just pray to God who knows “who is who” and “what is what”! Let’s walk in unity, love, and as one of my favorite reminders says:
“If it be possible,
as much as lieth in you,
with all men.” Romans 12:18
Please know that I’m praying for each of us who belong to Jesus to seek HIS face, and walk accordingly, that the church can once again BE the church, and “withstand in the evil day”!
And my friend, if you don’t know Jesus, you can come to HIM today!
“For all have sinned,
and come short
of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin
but the gift of God
is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
I stand at the door,
if any man hear my voice,
and open the door,
I will come in to him,
and will sup with him,
and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
Church let’s BE the church–today…and today…and today! Until our Lord calls us to Himself or will “Revive US Again”! Even so Lord Jesus!!!
Amen and Amen!!!