Christianity is not as dead as some may think
There are some who would say that Christianity is dead in America. However, all one has to do is visit a local New Testament Church, hopefully your church, to see that Christianity is alive and well in America. Cultural Christianity, on the other hand, may be on life support. The culture of Christianity is no longer in vogue.
The church has not lost its power; it still has the Word of God and the Spirit of God. However, it may have lost much of its influence on the culture.
How can this be? If the Church is alive and well, and we have the Spirit of God and His Word, how could the Church have lost the culture? If I were to share, in a word, the cause of this loss, that word would be, “Entropy.” The church has been turning-in, instead of going-out. It has lost its impact, not because it has lost its power, but because it has kept it under a proverbial bushel. It’s a matter of salt and light.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16.
Yes, the church is the Salt and Light of the world. However, have we lost our Saltiness? Is the Light dimming? If so, why? Maybe we’re keeping the power in our buildings, the salt in its box and the light under the bushel. The answer: it is up to the shepherds to get the church out of its comfort zone; open the box and kick over the bushel.
Churches like people have personalities. We all have at least two things in common: 1) Every church is different. 2) Every church is the same. Every church is unique, especially to its members. We see ourselves as different from other churches. We see ourselves as loving and close. We have our patriarchs and matriarchs, talented singers and an anointed preacher. Well, just about every church sees themselves that way. Thus, our perceived differences make us the same. The real unifying factor in the church is or should be, Christ Jesus.
Churches like families are often a bit dysfunctional. Churches are not programs, services and the like; they are people. Everything else, but the people and Christ, is a facade.
God has always intended His Church to grow. Acts 9:31, exemplifies the condition of a healthy church, “Then the churches had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” First, there is peace. Peace is a byproduct of love. A body governed by love will be at peace. The second condition is that of edification. People are encouraged and educated. The third indication is that the people reverence God. They live honorable lives accompanied by worship and praise. Then there is the assurance of the presence of the Lord, which is the comfort of the Holy Spirit. When these conditions are in place, the Church will multiply. Do these characteristics describe your church? Better yet, do they describe you? If there is one part of the body spiritually unhealthy, the whole body is infirmed. Your church will only be as healthy as you are. If there is sin in your life, there is sin in your church, because you are an intricate part of the body of Christ.
When the church is healthy, the culture is more apt to be healthy. The only hope for America and the world is the Church of Jesus Christ. Let the church be the Church, that the Church would be the culture..
Adapted from, Church by the Book, Tony Foglio
(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)