Thursday, June 04, 2009

Back to the Command at Hand

So you may all get sick of reading about this repentance issue before I'm done posting about it as I'm learning so much.

John the Baptist, Jesus our Lord, His disciples, Peter, Paul, they all went out and preached for people to repent and turn from their sins. Before they could start with the lessons on building a great Kingdom for God or doing good, they had to start with some clean up work.

How many churches to we have in America? In Siloam Springs alone? How many of those know there members well enough to practice the instructions in Titus to confront a man about needing to repent and turn from his sins? How often are their sermons on the seriousness for us to repent and clean up the body of Christ before moving ahead?

I read a great/difficult to swallow, article and the author was not listed otherwise I'd share their name. He stated that oftentimes in this generation we gage the health of our church by members. If attendance is high, we must be doing something right. If there are a lot of activities, if there is money in savings, if we have a big building we must have a successful ministry. But how does God tells us to measure our success?

Christ's last words to the church was to repent. He wanted us on fire for HIM and knew that couldn't be done if there was seperation between us and God. Gabby was taking a bath yesterday and was just disgusted because 1st of all Wyatt got in before her with grimy feet and there was dirt and grass in the water. 2nd of all it was lukewarm. She wanted to know how could she enjoy it and relax when it wasn't clean and hot water?! Exactly! God wants this in our lives. He wants our hearts and lives to be clean from sin and hot for Him. The lukewarm are like vinegar in His mouth and to the non-Christians alike.

Maybe this is part of the attraction of the Mega churches that we see now days. We've attended a mega church in previous towns and at the time loved it. The pride of being part of the biggest church in town, almost like we wanted a bumper sticker to advertise it. The free breakfast, the fun classes of many choices, the huge playland that our kids never wanted to leave. And we were either introduced as visitors in a Sunday school class that was as big as some churches (3 weeks in a row), or else no one said anything to us and us not to anyone else because who knew if they were new or if they had been there for years. The only couple we really knew was the one that invited us. There is a sense of safety by staying anonymous and blending into the crowd. No real accountability to someone specific. And definitely not to everyone in the church. Plenty of activities to fill our time with other Christians to make friends. Isn't that one of the instructions as well? Come together with other believers? Yes. And...more on that later too.

But just as a traitor in the front lines, kills the squad, the body of Christ is only as strong as is weakest link. We must uphold each other and live not as if it only affected us, but live as one accord and realize that whether we know it or even want it or not, by proclaiming we know HIM, others are watching us. We need to hold ourselves to the highest of standards.
Quoting the article: "Evangelical Christianity is strategically below the New Testament standard. We must have a better grade of Christians. Increased numbers of Christians hazy in their convictions and weak in their dedication is not enough. We must have a reformation. The first business of the church out not to evangelize, but to get ready to evangelize through repentance. We must improve the quality of our churches for converts tend to reproduce the quality of the church that converts them. The church today is rich and increased with goods, buildings and people, yet we forget that the goodness of God should lead us to repentance. We spend more on chewing gum and dog food than for foreign missions. Sometimes I think we have too much and know to much. We know what kind of revival we are going to have then invite God in to join us." Ouch.

We should desire greater depth in the church not just greater width. I truly believe there is a stirring in the church body right this moment. And that stirring is going to sweeten as we have allowed the sugar to settle to the bottom of the lemonade.

Our churches are so well organized with business meetings and committee chairs and officers and paid secretaries to keep tract of the unending events that is is difficult to allow any freedom. This is where I'm probably going to toe a line, but I personally believe we have as a whole have veered off course and lost the vision from what church was originally intended to be, starting as long ago as 300AD. And I'll be posting on this shortly regarding the early church. The devil isn't fighting church, he's joining it. He loves to see us Christians get so wrapped up in the church activities and plans that we aren't out in the rivers fishing for men.

When hubby goes fishing he chooses the right timing and place where he knows or at least hopes the fish will be running. He has never chosen to go to a muddy stagnant water hole and expected success. This article also asked, are we trying to only fish in our church building? How often do you have "prospects" of non-Christians walk thru your door? This is how we should measure the success of the church. If we are living lives that are desirable to non-Christians they will be coming to seek us out and to get to know our God. If the only new visitors you have are already Christians then it's just more social club members. So the article challenged us to not take this club lightly as our weekly get together. But to sharpen ourselves as iron sharpens iron. To not waste our time together by just attending and not delving deep into the hearts of each other as friends.

Are we clean? Are our lives representative at all times of the Christ we know? When they aren't are we quick to repent? Are we being fishers of men or are we just alumni?

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