We need to let the church be the church

What is the church supposed to look like? How can we tell the difference between the world and the church? The answers to these questions are in some ways complex — but in other ways very simple. I would like to focus on two (of the many), identifying markers of the church. In doing so I am approaching the answers with this premise in mind: I believe that God started the Church the way He wanted it; and He wants it to be the way He started it.

I begin by emphatically declaring what I am NOT SAYING! I am not saying that we are not to use every legitimate tool available to win people to Christ and bring them to maturity in Christ. I am not saying that God cannot use creative, and performing arts, or the individual talents of His people in the work of the Kingdom of God. I am not saying that technology should not be used to spread the gospel and assist in shepherding the flock of God.

I am simply stating that along with everything else the church is and does; there are two essential spiritual markers that distinguish God’s people. These two markers have always been fundamental, essential, and obvious components of the people of God — both in the Old Testament nation of Israel, and in the New Testament Church. Recognizing, and safe-guarding these make for a healthy church.

The church of Jesus Christ must experience and minister in the glory, majesty and wonder of: The Presence of God and The Power of God. Even a basic Sunday School knowledge of the Old Testament convinces us that Israel was unique on the earth because of God’s presence among them, and His power through them, and on their behalf. It was His presence in the Garden of Eden, in Noah’s Ark, in the Holy of Holies, on Mt. Sinai, in the Cloud of Fire and the Pillar of Fire, and in Solomon’s Temple — that boldly declared, “These are My people, and I am with them!” It was His presence in the upper room and the power of the Holy Spirit that catapulted the New Testament church into world shaking ministry.

An excellent goal for every minister in these last days should be, to be able to say as did the Apostle Paul: “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND OF POWER, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” Just before Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, He admonished His disciples: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” The church ought to be so filled with the presence of God, and the power of God that it demands a supernatural explanation.

The church is to be ministered to by ministry gifts who have been given by Jesus Christ for the two-fold purpose of preaching the gospel to the lost, and bringing saints into the maturity of Christ. This cannot happen to the praise of His glorious grace, without the presence of God among them, and the power of God working in and through them. Rather than being clever, and crafty while trying to apply carnal strategies — perhaps we should revisit the upper room; and tarry until the presence, and power of the Holy Spirit fall fresh on us again. Then we can walk in holiness and humility as, “…a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:90) Let the church BE THE CHURCH!

(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)