Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Do you love the Church?

If we declare to others that we love God, if we then say that we love Christ and that He is our first love in everything, must we not love the things He loves?

Christ came and died for His church. The church is His bride. The Church is God the father’s gift to God the son. He has such a deep love for the church, must we not have that same love for the church?

If you love someone, do you not love the things he loves? We are part of the church, you are a member of the body of the church, must you not love yourself? The church is you brother and sisters in Christ, should you not love them? Is a Christian brother not closer to you than your brother in the flesh? Must the church not be your “friend-pool”?
If Christ so passionately loves the church why don’t we? If you love something do you not show it by the time you spend on it?

If Christ is our all then we must spend time with what He deems of uttermost importance.
Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5.

We must not lie to ourselves if we truly love Christ we will love what He loves. Our love for Christ is evident in our love for that which He loves.

Let us just be honest between friends. Loving the church is sometime not easy. Many times in fact it is difficult to show love for the church. Love without works is not love at all. Loving something without spending time with that object is not loving it.

It is hard, many times you simply feel like you don’t have the time or the energy, you think of your family,of your friends and how tired you are. Nobody said it would be easy. The funny old lady with the big hat in front of you sometimes becomes a bit much doesn’t she?

Get a grip people Christ love the church so should we. Nothing is easy or totally natural.
Cultivate your love for the church, tilt the soil, pull out the weeds that hinder the flow of love, put fertilizer in the ground, work it through and it will bring forth fruits, better than you can imagine.

The church is the place we grow, the place that we are fed. The emergency room we go to when need help.
How do we grow in our love for the church and sadly how do we rekindle the love if it burns no more?

We must elevate our love for the Church. (Remember if you are a Christian you are part of the church, in a roundabout way we are talking here about loving yourself, sort of)

So how do we revive our love for Church? Some may never have loved the Church, some might have fallen out of love for the church and some love the church like crazy.

If have love for the church how do we keep it alive?
As always we look to scripture as our authority, our instructor. The first question we could ask “Why did Paul love the Church?”

A second question which could be helpful is to look at why the Christians in the past loved the Church so much so that they were persecuted because of it.
The answer, I believe is to be found in their view of the purpose of the church.

Paul Washer explains it this way: “Purpose fuels passion.”

The foundational question we need answer is “Why is there a Church?”

Is it to run a soup kitchen? No, any welfare organisation can do that.
Is it to keep the youth out of trouble? Many sports and other clubs can also do that.

Is it a place where we meet friends? Many restaurants and clubs and societies can do that.

What makes the Church unique then?
If we are aware of our purpose we will be intensely passionate about it.

Like in all things the over arching purpose is the glorification of the triune God mainly by our witness to the world by our mere existence but, also proclaiming the word, demonstrating the Christian love and evangelizing our world.

Let me go into a side field for just as second.

The focus of scripture has always been the church, the group, the body not the individual as it is done today. Just do a simple exercise, read the Bible, how many times does it talk about a group of people and what they should do?
 If you read with that in the back of your mind you will see most of it is aimed at a group. Look at gospels written to specific groups, the books of acts talks of the churches mostly, yes they talk of individuals but, those individuals are doing everything in the context of the church. Look at the epistles to the churches, written to churches firstly. Look at the books to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, it carries the name of a single person but, in essence it is written to help the church.

We have been infiltrated by the individualistic worldly system, we have been pan-fried into thinking that the individual is the focus, while the Biblical focus is the collective church, the body, the bride of Christ.

The sufficient God who lacks nothing seeks worshippers. John 4
Glorifying God is our most distinctive trait that sets us apart from any other thing on earth. We exist for something else. For something outside ourselves.

Hebrews 10 show us that true worship can only come after salvation. Salvation causes pure worship.
After we have been saved, then can we only start worshipping God. Worshipping God is not just talking or witnessing about who He is and what He has done. We must not just bring offerings but obey Him. The only way we can get to know Him is by studying His word and through His word do we learn what He demands from us.

Now we must guard against worshipping the Bible, the Bible is the pointer, a divine one, but only the pointer, the only pointer, but just the pointer.

We are called to be one body. Being part of a body implies that everyone has a role no other can play but us. We cannot become a community if we only spend 2 hours together on a Sunday.

We must be a Church with a purpose, we must live with the intent of being the Church ourselves or no one will be. Plans must be made and sacrifices must be made in the act of being the church.

(Written after listening to Paul Washer)


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