Ephesians 1:22,23--And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.
It seems to me that we live in a time when the church in our nation is suffering a significant identity crisis. Oswald Chambers wrote in Approved Unto God, “The Church does not lead the world nor echo it; she confronts it. Her note is a supernatural note.” It is this supernatural note of grace that transforms sinful lives into righteous ones that I believe we must regain if we are to effectively serve as Christ’s ambassadors.
There is a wide scale movement among many Christians to shape the politics of our land. Jesus was not a politician. He came to seek and to save the lost. His disciple making strategy, as recorded in Scripture, did not consist in training His followers to reshape Rome or Jerusalem’s policies. He challenged them to go out into the world and proclaim the gospel. Whenever the church wraps itself around political issues, it must ensure that the Holy Spirit is the promoter of such action and she must understand for how long the season should last! Otherwise, she may find her heart more moved by legislation than by love for her Heavenly Father. How many people are turned off to the gospel because their perception of Christians is framed by what we fight for instead of who we live for?
A second common movement among believers is to identify with the pagan so as to be able to share Christ. Again, the Holy Spirit must be the promoter of what we do or don’t do. Relevancy is all well and good so long as the truth is not compromised for the technique. Satan is no idiot. When we adopt the behavior, dress, or style of those around us, it is a fair question to ask, “Who is really influencing who?” Furthermore, relevancy taken too far leaves the nonbeliever asking, “Why should I become a Christian if Christians are so eager to act like me?
The confronting church cannot be defined by buildings or possessions. It is not framed by organization or denomination. Heaven will not be subdivided into Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, or Pentecostal regions. Letters of membership will not be forwarded through pearly gates. Her foundation is not tradition, vision or creed. Nor is Sunday morning attendance what distinguishes her identity. The church is God’s people, the priesthood of believers, gathered to love Him and to serve His will. She builds upon Jesus and her worth comes in knowing and obediently following Him. When this occurs, the world has to take notice because God’s message is dynamic, absolute and invaluable. Therefore, the church’s main concern is not whether the lost like or dislike her. Her member’s mission is threefold: self-denial, daily cross-bearing and vigilant following (Luke 9:23). As she does this, God will enable her to love her neighbors, to suffer for Him under the hands of those who reject His call, and to shine in a sin-darkened planet. This is what the church is and should be about.
God help us to set aside what divides, to be humble that we might come together in sincerity of heart to worship Him! We have brothers and sisters around the world who risk their lives just to own a Bible, just to meet in fellowship, just to share their faith. What hurt they would feel if they ever saw how spoiled and weak and self-preoccupied we have become. More then ever, they need us to pray for them. They need us to listen to whatever the Holy Spirit prompts us to sacrifice for the furtherance of His kingdom. If not today, when? If not you, who?
©2001 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)