What Has Church Become?

November 28, 2014

1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

What Has Church Become?

Does our church, our gathering together in the name of Christ still resemble this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 14 or has it gotten swallowed up in the organization, the structure, the program and the one man headliner. Is it about a functioning body where different members are able to contribute as they are led of the Spirit or have we become dumbed down to depend only on the leadership to carry out the act of worship and give the Word. In many churches our services have been reduced to a series of rote mechanical functions that we have memorized and go through. That isn’t the church that Paul speaks about here. We have become accustomed to playing church rather than being the church. Our religion has separated us into clergy and laity. One performs and the other is the audience that listens. We wouldn’t know what to do if the Holy Spirit actually showed up in our service because He would throw the agenda on our bulletins all off and mess everything up. We would lose our order and our control and our smooth running programs. We have been so raised up in this organized church mentality it is really hard for some of us to conceive of something so different where we actually individually and corporately begin to operate in the gifting the Holy Spirit has for each member. Besides that it would most likely get out of our time limitations and constraints. Then we couldn’t beat crowds to the restaurant after the church and we might miss the football game.
Church has really ceased to be all about Him. It has become all about us. After all, we are doing God a favor just to show up on Sunday mornings, right? God forbid if someone or something should offend us. We’ll just take our attendance elsewhere where we are more appreciated and they sing our flavor of songs. What has the church become?
The truth is when we turn everything over to the Holy Spirit it can get out of our comfort zone. It can get messy and it certainly may not fit into our agenda. or box It doesn’t mean there isn’t leadership and there isn’t an order, but it is subject to the Holy Spirit and not to man. Let me tell you, when we allow and invite the Holy Spirit to show up we go home with more than just a self-righteous attitude. His presence touches our lives and changes us in ways that only He can. He doesn’t use just one man or a worship team to do it, He moves through His body and upon His body as His will dictates, when we allow His will to be done. Paul says here we have these different functions through the various members for the strengthening of the church. Something tells me that church might have looked a lot different back then than it does today. Today, our churches are built around our charismatic leaders, not our charismatic bodies. Isn’t it time we quit playing church and start being the church where each one of us functions in the calling and gifting upon our lives? It doesn’t have to be limited to the Sunday service. Your ministry and calling should spill out into your everyday life. You are not only for the edification of the church, but to edify, encourage and build up all who are in your presence. If we are in Christ and He is in us then we must become the daily expression of who He is and we need a place of worship where that is actually what we do, WORSHIP Him who is worthy until we enter into His presence and He is the headship and the direction of our service. I can tell you it won’t be the same thing every week. It will always be fresh and new. You will know that you have been with Him, not just heard about Him.
What has church become? How do we bring it back to what it should be? It is time we became activated and no longer stagnant, because the church that we have known isn’t what is lighting a fire in the midst of our unbelieving nation. They need to hear and see the reality of God’s presence just as we do, not just the rhetoric about who He was. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He hasn’t changed, we have. Church, wake up to who you are and come alive in your spirits so that you can be the expression of Christ in the midst of His body and in the earth today.

Blessings,
#kent

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John 14:6-7 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Knowing the Father is the Expression of Jesus

This is a passage of scripture that is familiar to many of us. As the Father droped it into my spirit this morning I sensed that He was showing me that God the Father is Spirit. We so often don’t fully understand Him or comprehend His ways, but He has never revealed Himself more clearly than He did through the life of Jesus. Jesus is not only the way, the truth and the life; He is the open door to look into Father’s heart. When we observe and study the life of Jesus we see and understand that He was the open conduit of the Father’s heart and love for us. Jesus was the Father’s human expression to touch and communicate with us on the level of our understanding and comprehension. I’ll never forget an illustration I heard many years ago that related it like this. There was once a man looking through his window and observing the birds on a bitter cold, wintry, snowy day. The birds were gathered on his patio foraging through the snow for some morsel to eat. The man’s heart was moved with compassion and he thought if only I could invite them into my warm home and then feed them and warm them till the storm is past. He knew that if he tried to present himself as he was and opened the door he would only frighten the birds and they would fly away because they wouldn’t understand his heart. He thought, if only there were a way that I could become a bird and communicate to them my love and concern for them, then perhaps they wouldn’t fear me and would be able receive all that I want to provide for them. This is what the Father did through Jesus Christ, this God-man, who revealed the Father’s heart, love and intent for us. He made us to know that the Father’s heart is not condemnation and judgement, even though that is what we now live under outside of Christ because of our sin and separation from Father. We know that it is just and what we deserve in the light of His holiness, but Father’s heart is love and reconciliation back into a relationship with Him that He first had with Adam before the fall. What we have recognized in Jesus is the heart of the Father for each one of us and for His creation. What Jesus further reveals to us in John 17:20- 23 is His plan and desire was, not just for His disciples to be one with Him, but for us to be one with Father who would hear and believe their message, even as He is one with the Father. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” What Father is wanting to express through us is what He expressed through Jesus, His heart of love and reconciliation. How can we truly know and understand the Father? By How we know and express Jesus. As He was the expression of God the Father in the earth, so He has called His believers to be also. Jesus completes His prayer in John 17:25-26 by saying, “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” What Jesus exemplified as one man that Father sent into the earth to reveal Himself through His Son, He now desires to do in a many membered body that functions as one man in Christ Jesus. Jesus, who is no longer the body, but the head of the body bringing us together in the unity of the Holy Spirit that has been given us that we might be corporately and individually the expressions of His love and truth. Jesus completed His course upon the earth. He gave Himself for us and for all of mankind to be the pure and holy lamb that sacrificed His life for our sins. Now He sits at the right Hand of the throne of God, ever making intercession for us that we, by His Spirit and life in us, might continue to be the expression of the way, the truth and the life. We know the Father, because we have first come to know Jesus. The more we know Him, the more we know the Father and the more we know the Father the more we can become the expression of the Father through His Spirit and life that dwells in us. To know Jesus is to know the Father, for they are one, even as we are being made one in them.

Blessings,

#kent

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