Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

My Photo
Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 66 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families) with a third girl on the way. I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

"I Will Build My Church" - Part 1

I woke up last Sunday morning with a little song/chorus in my head (sang and meditated on it all the while I was getting going). It goes like this, and it is from the words of Jesus: "I will build My church (I will build My church)-On the solid rock (On the solid rock)-And the gates of hell (And the gates of hell)-Shall not prevail (Shall not prevail)... ."

This got my attention, as one thing I have been thinking on lately is the church, the Body of Christ, God's people... . Call us whatever you want, but let's not miss the point that all who name the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and worship Him in spirit and truth are part of this living organism, no matter where we "gather together to forsake not the assembling," as good old King James puts it. The way Eph 4 describes things, we gather together and have over us those who are distinct representatives of the various aspects of Christ's earthly ministry. These "people gifts" to the church are responsible to God to help us mature into Christlikeness in thought, word and deed.

That's all well and good, but right now we, the church are in crisis. A lot of the old rules no longer seem effective, and the more mature we grow as Christians both individually and corporately, the more the old "rules and ways of doing church" seem like a playpen! After all, we are in high school at least, and hasn't anybody noticed?! Let me say that the "old ways" were effective--when we needed a playpen. Then the bars (or netting) were not a prison--but as we've been maturing those safeguards have turned on us and we're now imprisoned by the very ways that used to seem right and good.

What is the church to do? Rebel? Well, no, sorry, that's a little juvenile, not to mention sinful. -If we do, just maybe we're proving we're not so mature. Let's take a look at a few things here. Maybe we already have some clues as to where to go next.

In my first paragraph I mentioned that chorus which brought up a few thoughts. - Who will build whose church? That's Jesus speaking. It is His church, bought and paid for by His life's blood, death and resurrection. We, the church, are His new covenant people. He is our head, and He has set Eph 4 people ministry gifts over us to give us programs and other things to do that will keep us out of trouble. Those "people gifts" are called and salaried by us, and have to give us the kinds of things to do that will make us look good in the community. In addition, they are charged with growing the church. It is also their job to marry and bury, counsel and do hospital visitation, not to mention keeping the building program on track, because, after all, isn't this what we pay them for?--Whoops! Sorry. My mistake. That's not what Eph 4 says. -I also wanted to see if you were awake. So now that I have your attention, let me ask a question or two.

Since Eph 4 says these people gifts (expressions of various aspects of Jesus' earthly ministry) are commissioned by God to help mature the church into Christlikeness, why are we expecting them to fulfill all the things (and maybe more) mentioned in the last paragraph? Also, looking at the other side of the coin, why are those Eph 4 people gifts expecting those things of themselves? How is that job description causing the Body to mature? And (please forgive me for rocking the boat--I sort of feel like the kid who said the emperor didn't have any clothes on) why are these people gifts feeling like a failure if they can't be super-leaders and meet all those self and "church" imposed expectations?

If by any chance some actually become super-leaders, who is really building the church--Jesus or these people? Is the fruit created this way superficial smoke and mirrors--illusion so to speak, or the fruit that remains that Jesus promised if we do His will His way? That also brings up another question - does Jesus build His church if His people gifts are spending so much time and energy doing it in the above described way? It would seem His people gifts and the rest of us are so busy trying to do good things that we don't have time to listen to His direction, much less find out how to implement it.

I have heard it said that 'the seed of destruction is sown into the beginning of any new work.' As I think on that, I see that was already happening in the early church. That is why the apostles looked for godly people to manage practical responsibilities while they (the leaders) gave themselves to the Word and prayer. When they got their priorities right, God got a lot of "church work" done - He was building His church through divine direction as the leaders waited on Him - you know, "Send Paul and Barnabas... ."

As the early church leadership waited on God, they settled then-difficult doctrinal questions with the mind of Christ, they were directed to include Gentiles in this living entity called the church that the Lord was building by the Holy Spirit, and they were able to aid another part of the church going through famine by God's inspiration and direction. Also, they were able to deal with people who lied to the Holy Spirit (Ananias and Sapphira) and people who through the agency of demons were identifying and harassing them. They also were able to deal with occultic people who wanted to buy the gift of God. In addition, the Spirit of God through them healed people and delivered people. God's Spirit also told those early leaders and preachers where to go and where not to go at that time to carry His message.

In the early church there were plenty of people to willingly get God-given tasks accomplished. Leaders didn't pressure or talk people into or "guilt" people to do anything. It seems they really believed that Jesus would build His church, and trusting Him to do just that, they let the Holy Spirit show people what to do. Because the people heard God as a normal part of their lives, they obeyed with a glad heart, much as the Israelites did when bringing in offerings for the wilderness tabernacle.

About the not-pressuring-people issue--even as the people repent and free the leaders of wrong expectations, and as the leaders repent and let the Lord free them of wrong job descriptions and fleshly control, the Holy Spirit is able to get each member of the Body to take up his/her own responsibility in the unique way each was created to do so. Only when our expectations of ourselves and others in the Body, whether body member or leader member agree with God and stay on His altar can we hope to get on with the business of letting the Lord build His church in such a way that the gates of hell will not prevail against us.

0 Great Ideas:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Powered By Ringsurf