Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Problem in the Church and The Pain of a Nation

Is there a problem in Christ’s Church today? No doubt there is discord in the visible church. There are many vacant Pastorates and congregations rife with split potential.

How completely different from the Scriptural mandates to love, serve, forgive, and bear with one another.

But on another level are we missing the Biblical message? What is the church? Or better yet, “WHO” is the church? The basic message of the New Testament is that God dwells no longer in buildings, but in His people.

II Peter 2 says, “1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Notice all the messages we miss:
Put away malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and ALL slander. To put it away admits that it is present. Churches today have many of these evils. Notice that these basically are a part of man to man problems.

I imagine that some of these congregations have good attendance, and good giving, and good worship and good preaching – but they tear each other apart.

“Like newborn infants” seems to refer back to our Lord admonishing us to become like children if we want to enter the kingdom. It speaks of our need for humility and dependence. It encourages us to almost be naïve in our ability to accept our brothers and sisters.

“Long for the pure spiritual milk” seems to speak of our need to thirst for Christ and His truth. We do not know it all. We need to hang on the preaching and be eager to do it.

“Living Stones”- I wonder if Peter flashes back to the Savior telling him that “on this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”? Christ is the builder, we are the stones- living stones. Sturdy and reliable.

We are poor building material today. We are soft and seem to crumble in adversity. Pain produces profundity. Trials temper steely character. We cry at the least discomfort.

Have you read lately some of the comments of our church fathers? Can you hear the strength of their character?

Martin Luther to Phillip Melancthon during a daily crisis: “You are worrying yourself sick because you cannot know how or where it will all end. But were you able to understand it all, then I would have nothing to do with this cause!”

John Calvin: “But when I remember that I am not my own, I offer up my heart, presented as a sacrifice to the Lord” (1541).

Have you become weary of the Church?

I challenge you to start today to become one living stone and let God build the church on you.

When Jesus promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail, do you understand that it is hell that is on the defense there? Gates were defensive. When the church puts away malice, becomes childlike, longs for spiritual truth and grows- it knocks the devils down flat.

Oh Lord Jesus Christ, build me into a battering ram TODAY! AMEN!

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