Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Church, Who Is She?
In a recent blog comment, I was asked a fantastic question. Without their knowing it, they asked me to address the exact purpose that I feel like I exist in this hour. The question was, “What would (should) the ‘church’ look like, if it were doing what it is supposed to be doing?” I immediately knew that it would not be a short response and this article is the result.
First of all, the definition of who “the church” actually is, is where the problem begins. The Body of Christ is the Church - the called out assembly (Greek: ekklesia). What is commonly referred to as the church is, generically speaking, just people gathering in buildings made with human hands to carry out mostly human endeavors. Christianity, in its current state, is all about the Christian, and little, if any, about the Christ. Herein lies the crack in the foundation or the hole in the bottom of the pool, if you will. The Church can never be what it is to be as long as its eyes are not on Jesus Christ. Organized religion is so hung up on positions, programs, sermon series and events that the whole system is just not set up to worship God in spirit and in truth. The goal of the church was never meant to cater to Believers, or even to reach the lost, it was to worship and magnify the LORD. The Church must first understand who She and what She exists for before She can ever move into what She is to do.
Let me inject a more personal experience or two, if I may. Whenever I ask people what it is that they like about their specific church, the answers are always the same. “I just love our pastor!” “We have amazing praise and worship!” “Our children’s ministry is so exciting.” “We’re looking at a new building because we’re growing so fast.” “It’s just full of great people.” “The preaching is so good” “We’re doing what no one else is doing.” (You get the idea.)
My point? I have never heard anyone, in response to that question, ever say, “I love my church because we live and breathe to honor and worship the Lord in that place. He is glorified in my church and that’s all that matters.” I will resound this until the day I’m no longer breathing, the Church will never be the Church that God desires it to be until the Church gathers together to soley worship and honor the LORD alone – period. We will never see lasting, Kingdom fruit until the true Kingdom, as the Bible defines it to be, is preached. The average positional church preaches political agendas, financial gain, false discipleship, fuzzy feel-good messages, you, you, you - me, me, me… it is all about itself. Again I say, church as we know it is all about the Christians and not about The Christ. No one seems to ever talk about what God wants. What does He desire? What does He require of us? What does He want to see in our worship, in our teachings, in our gathering together? I look at churches all over the world and I see one thing that is common with nearly all that I see – the majority cater to the created instead of the Creator. This has got to change! We, the Body of Christ must pursue what God desires of us above all else!
So with this established, the Church, in my opinion, is simply not positioned to “do what it is supposed to be doing”. So let’s examine for a moment what I believe we’d see if the Body of Christ woke up and realized who they really are and why they exist. Much is from the Word and some is from what I’ve personally seen in my journey alongside a handful of others over the last three years or so. Most of it is drastically different than what is seen now within the Body. So what would the Church, the true Body of Christ, look like? What would She be doing? How would She act?
She would not need t-shirts, bumper stickers and Christian propaganda to promote a message for Her or declare Her identity. She would be the message. She would be the sign pointing to Jesus.
She would be an imitator of God, not of men. She would only do what She sees Her Father doing and say what She hears Her Father say. Her opinions and personal interests would have no importance and would never override Her Father’s agenda, no matter how it looks or sounds.
She would embrace the fact that to live is Christ and to die is gain. She would consider Herself of no value and impotent aside from Christ that is Her life. Her entire identity would be found in Him.
She would be moved by the Spirit. She would not be self-motivated and self-sustaining in any way. Her Father would be Her only Source and Strength. Without His supply, She would have no life or existence of Her own.
She would seek wisdom. She would not be satisfied with consuming only milk, but would be continually maturing and growing, desiring solid spiritual food.
She would embrace the lowly as She embraces the great. She would not be swayed by giftings and abilities within Her Body. She would see all as ministers and necessary parts of Herself.
She would be creative and flowing with ideas and revelation that originate at the throne of the Father. She would not need to mimic the world in order to be relevant. Her irrelevance would be Her namesake, for She is living in and for a Kingdom which is not seen nor understood from a worldly perspective.
She would love Her Husband above all others. No other lovers would be tolerated. All idols would be torn down by Her and the name of Jesus Christ would be lifted high.
She would stand out. She would be noticed as different and would be seen as the new creation that She is. Her Light would shine and been seen by others.
She would have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying in this hour. She would not be caught off guard or be found ignorant in any matter. She would consist of many watchman on the walls.
She would be moved by love and not personal interests or emotions. She would overlook wrongs and hurts in order to establish a greater purpose, the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
She would stand with great confidence and strength against the devices of the enemy. She would be unwavering as she declares the Word of the LORD without hesitancy or fear.
She would be vibrant, full of life and hope. She would not look deficient and sickly, incapable of offering any assistance to others.
When others look at Her, they would see Christ and not Her. Her actions and motives are rooted in Him and She is continually being conformed into His image.
She would be spiritually balanced, not focusing only on what She prefers or agrees with. She would allow the Word alone to define Her every goal, purpose and reason for existence.
She would willingly step out of Her comfort levels and embrace humility. She would lay Herself low in the eyes of all men in order for God to be exalted. Pride and position would have no place within Her Body.
She would be armed and ready for battle. She would not be fearful and afraid when storms come. She would stand united and unshakeable. The fears and tremblings of this world would not phase her, for Her hope is in Her God alone.
She would boldly stand up and be a Light in the darkness. She would not need to make Herself look more presentable to the world in order to draw them to the Father. Her great Light, which is Christ, would be sufficient.
She would live a life that is all about what She can do for Her LORD rather than what Her LORD can do for Her.
She would walk as an overcomer in this world. She would not worry about being infected by the sin and iniquities of this world because She is not of it. She would be more than a conqueror and go forth on the offensive.
She would love others more than Herself. She would share all that She has with others, with nothing expected in return. Her supply comes from Her LORD.
She wouldn’t care about how you look, who you are or what you can do for Her. All would have value because all are created in God’s image, and that is enough. She is accepting.
She is not subject to the government of this world, for She is not of it. She is an Ambassador of Christ, a representative of a Kingdom that is yet unseen.
She would be unified under the authority of the LORD, with no interest or desire to hold any positions or titles that belong to Christ alone, for He alone is the Head of the Body.
She would be infatuated with the Word of God. She would have no use for worldly status and recognition, for knowing who She is according to the Word would be sufficient.
She would lift high the name of Jesus Christ as LORD. She would have no interest in any glory for Herself – all would be about Him alone. When She gathers together, all would be about His greatness and all would bow in awe of His magnificence. No programs, no buildings, no classes, no memberships – no thing and no one would be placed above Him, for Christ alone would be Her absolute everything.
This is what I long to see. This is the manifested sons of the Living God that the entire earth is groaning for. This, my friend, is The Church. We’ve taken a living, glorious, powerful and magnificent organism and reduced it down to regurgitated services and programs that are all about meeting our needs and maintaining – the church is on life support and is dying for all of the world to see. We have failed for far too long. Who will stand up and stand out? Who will proclaim that it is time to build the LORD a house that is not built with human hands? Who will establish a Kingdom that is not of this world? Who will have the courage to go against the accepted norm and press on into becoming the Biblical Body? Who will stand up against the ”self-appointed spiritual authorities” of this age and say “What are we doing?”
Will you? Will I? Where do we even start? With ourselves. I must first confront and assess my own personal life before I can even consider approaching such issues within others. I’m not attempting to gather hordes of people to go raid church services all across the nation. My desire is for you - one person - to sit down and address if you even know who you really are. My desire is to see the Body of Christ, one by one, awaken and stand tall as bright and beautiful as She truly is. This is where we start my friend – within each one of us. It is time. It literally could be now or never for the Little Flock to arise and shine before Her Shepherd. Will you ask Him to reveal Who His true Church is, no matter whether you like His response or not? Will you be willing to be mocked and ridiculed if what you’re called to do goes against all that you know and all that those around you embrace? It is decision time for us all. Who will we follow? Who will we be? As for me and my house, we will serve and be a dwelling place for the LORD.
LORD, show us patience and continue to pour out your mercy. We are a people in need of unveiled eyes in order to see who we truly are. I thank You that You are slow to anger and abounding in perfect love. Draw men unto Yourself and call forth Your Church, Your Bride. I will no longer be satisfied with any substitute and form of Christianity – I will be the Ambassador that You desire me to be – may all else fall away and die.