Wednesday, February 15, 2012

She Is Radiant And I Will Defend Her To My Death

I have never kept secret my thoughts on the modern Church but I am also one of her greatest supporters. I think we have been messing around with God's design to make it more acceptable and understandable to society. We have recently been basing everything on a business design, including the way we market the Church. We are less demanding of people, watering down some of the gospel, removing hell and other things so we become more attractive. We have set up our own system of governing congregations, different from what Paul describes. We have allowed the Church to evolve into a charity, a place of good works and government subsidies. In some situations we have turned her into a harlot as she dances to the tune of those who provide her funding.

God designed the Church, the Body of Christ, to be a power house of righteousness, a place where mercy, grace and love are administered. She is a hospital, caring for the broken and battered. She is a house of prayer as her members release the power of God to effect change in people and the world. She is a house of warriors and a training ground for those who are new and old to the fight against the darkness. She is a place of the "all consuming flame" of God, where people learn what it means to be born again. She is a place of worship, celebration and support. She is family, where we encourage brothers and sisters to continue on, to press on, to go to the end of the matter. It is never about stars, spotlights, showcasing and always about moving forward in our fight against the enemy who just wants to destroy everything God loves. She is a place of redemption and infilling.

There is plenty of graffti that we have written all over this wonderful Bride of Christ but I believe the Holy Spirit can wash all of that away. I believe that as we seek God's face and call out for the Spirit to renew the Church, all the chains and shackles we have attached to this radiant Bride will be cast aside and she will rise up in the power Jesus has adorned her with. I am not of those who get disgusted with what they see and walk away. It is impossible to have life outside of the Bride. We have been joined to her, are members of her Body, responsible for her beauty and her care, receiving our sustenance through her. It's as is described in Paul's letter to Timothy:

If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)

How can anyone walk away from God's household, the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth? The Church is not an option that you can disassociate with just because you do not agree with something. The Church is not a lose association of like minded people who get together once a month to discuss a vague agenda. The Church is not a country club, a curling club, golf club or any other sort of club that you can just transfer your membership. The Church is the Body of Christ, which you automatically become part of when you accept Jesus Christ and are renewed in him. No options, it is automatic. If you are not part of the Church you are not part of him. That is God's design.

So those people who decide the Church is too full of unrighteous people and they no longer want to be part of it are too immature to know fact from fiction. Only the spiritually immature believe it is possible to have fellowship and growth in Jesus without the Body of Christ. They are self-delusional to think they do not need the "pillar and foundation of truth".

My eyes are wide open, I know there are problems and non-biblical practices. I know that I am also part of the problem and so are you. Our duplicitous lives, our corrupted thoughts, our selfish nature, our prideful thinking all contribute to the graffiti we paint on this beautiful Bride. But I also believe in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. I believe that God brings in correction. I believe the Church is the Bride of Jesus and the Groom is not going to allow his Bride to be tainted. I believe there will be a wave of holiness that will sweep through, a wave of correction that will spur on growth in righteousness. I believe it and I want to be part of it. It occupies my prayers and my actions. It is the desire of my heart that Jesus will once again be glorified to the nations through us, the Bride of Jesus. I trust it is so because that is what the Word of God says to me.

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