From the Pulpit: Let the Church be the Church
There is nothing on the earth like the church. We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world; that we would be holy and blameless before Him in love. We are the Body of Christ – a supernatural spiritual organism in the world but not of it. Purchased by the precious blood of Jesus, birthed from the empty tomb, empowered in the upper room, the church is the visible expression of God’s kingdom on earth. We are not better than anyone else; we are just redeemed like nobody else.
The church exists and functions in the realm of extreme tension between the insidious powers of darkness and the overcoming powers of light. As the pillar and support of the truth, the church is strong and effective by its nature not by its human genius or craftiness. The church need be just that – the church. The less like the world the church remains, the more successful it will be in heralding the gospel and bringing the lost all the way to the saving power of the cross.
The church is the church of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is Lord of the church. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the church may go many places and do many things – but it exists primarily for the praise of His glorious grace and the proclamation of His powerful gospel which is the “power of God unto salvation.” The church is not a humanly conceived, naturally governed organization of humans who lend God a hand in doing His work – we are His work. What the church does must never supersede in importance what the church is. And the church must be true to its redeemed nature accurately representing the grace within to those without. The church displays, declares, and delivers the grace of God to a world lost in the blindness of sin but loved with Calvary’s love. God loves through the church.
If we offer programs to replace the anointing, entertainment to replace pure worship, anything else to replace prayer, giveaways to replace the gospel, easy “believism” to replace discipleship, emotional release to replace true conversion, or compromise to replace conviction, nothing the church produces will endure or bear the lasting fruit of the divine intervention. We will have lost our “saltiness” and our light will have been extinguished. When we attempt to be savvy like the world, we are more like a decaying cadaver than the living body of Christ. We have nothing in ourselves to save man, forgive sin, deliver from bondage or build a church. It has never been by the human intellect, power, or charisma and it never will be. Often those things we wish to employ for ministry or offer to God for His use are the very things for which He died to forgive and actively seeks to destroy in us.
Too frequently we are so mesmerized by and infatuated with the ways of the world that the good ideas they inspire in us are fraught with flesh and devoid of the Spirit. The lost of this generation are enamored in a trap from which they cannot escape and we have been entrusted with the key to set them free. Our joy must draw them, the righteous of Christ in us must inspire them and His spirit working through us must turn their eyes upon Jesus. As we remain submitted to and in awe of the One on the middle cross, reserved by reservation power, and faithful to His word, we can fearlessly engage in the battle for the souls of men and women. Our very existence is a reminder of the clashing of opposing kingdoms. Darkness hates us just as it did our Redeemer. The world and its system along with the howling imps of hell despise us and attack us openly – but they cannot prevail. We are the church and we do what we do neither out of fear nor in an effort to impress the world. We are compelled only to honor Christ and proclaim Him as Lord of all. Let the church be the church.
(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)