Church: Living Entity
I mentioned in yesterday’s blog how I preferred the term “member” rather than “part” in describing committed church congregants. I said it ”sounds more like what the true Church is, a family… the family of God — not a business, an organization, or a mechanical device.”
Sadly however many folk outside the church think of the church in these business, or organizational, or mechanical terms. Sadder still is that a good number of “churches” do in fact operate as such. We find descriptive warnings to some of these in the book of Revelation, chapters two and three. These seven churches may well name seven existing assemblies contemporary to John’s time, but their warnings, consequences and sometimes good examples* serve also as timeless types to churches of all generations.
- Ephesus, the church that had left its first love for Christ.
- Smyrna,* the persecuted yet faithful church.
- Pergamum, the worldly tolerant church.
- Thyatira, the church with impure doctrine, idolatry, sexual sin and pagan traditions.
- Sardis, the spiritually dead church.
- Philadelphia,* the spiritually alive church.
- Laodicea, the lukewarm church.
A new believer must weigh carefully the beliefs, teachings and practices of any church against the truth of God’s Word. He must foster an attentiveness to the guiding Voice of the Holy Spirit now dwelling within him and about Whom Jesus said “…He will guide you into all the truth… He will glorify me… will receive from me… will make known to you.” (John 16:13-15).
The Church Christ is building is the Church Christ is building. Any time fallen humankind tries to add something to it to enhance it, to make it more attractive, he in some way damages it. Man likes to build edifices, organizations, businesses and bureaucracies. He likes to seek out “professionals,” plan great projects, use the best materials, the most skilled personnel. He likes to do something BIG — something BIG for God!
But God cares for none of these things. He wants the man himself. He builds His Church with “living stones” (1 Pet. 2:5), everyday people, unlikely people… fishermen, tax collectors, rebels and doubters. God chooses “foolish things… weak things… lowly things… despised things… things that are not” Why? “so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).
God chooses You!