I read the book of Acts and I love the church. I look around me at what the church has become in our land and, to be completely honest, I don’t. Those are hard words and hard to say words, but they’re absolutely honest. Those who are supposed to be Christ’s body surely don’t act as if they are. They’ve tried to be relevant, and change with the times, meeting changing needs, and all the while dishonoring the One they are to love supremely. This group has been legalistic, adding laws upon laws, and knowing little or nothing of grace. That group has been all about “Christian liberty”, liberty that, as they define it, isn’t found anywhere in Scripture. Even those who have the truth usually end up becoming more about business, more about a few families in their congregation, or more about how to pay the bills, than they are about Christ. So, no, I don’t love what we, as the body of Christ, have become. But I do love the church, as it is meant to be, as God’s holy Word lays it out.
We just can’t do church anymore, at least not the way we’ve done it for so long. We’ve discarded what is good, and true, and perfect, for that which changes with the tides. We’ve thrown away truth in an attempt to be relevant. We’ve hunkered down and, in an attempt to protect the truth that we claim to love, we’ve turned it into something ugly and hateful. Something that doesn’t reflect or honor the Lord of glory.
It’s heartbreaking. And if it breaks our hearts, you know it has to be breaking His. There is a remedy and it’s this, I believe: Stop doing church and become the church that Christ died for. Stop seeking after man’s applause and live for the glory, and delight, of One. Stop checking what’s popular and simply do and teach what’s right. Stop sending kids off on a mature Christian’s mission–no more teen mission groups, not unless those teens are truly saved, and truly mature in the faith, and, in today’s churchanity, how many do you know that are? Stop catering to the whims of teens, to the pressures of parents (who don’t have the time, the know how, or, sadly, sometimes even the desire, to teach their own children and thus push it off on youth pastors) and teach those kids the truth of God’s Word: no more games, no more fun trips here and there, get them in the Word, teach and memorize the Word, and prepare them to serve. Give them a snow shovel up North and a lawnmower down South, or put a paintbrush or a broom in their hands, and teach them how to do for others–for the glory of Christ.
Teach those things that have been long ignored: That there really is a difference in men and women, and there are ways to live out our roles, ways prescribed in Scripture, but, in doing so, steer clear of the dangers of patriarchal teaching. The man can be, and should be, the head of the home, without being elevated to ungodly positions. Teach men and women, boys and girls, about modesty, about how to reflect God’s glory through our choices of words, actions, and, yes, clothes. Teach them that there are right ways, and wrong ways, to be modest, but that the purpose of it all is to honor the Lord–not to draw attention to themselves, and not to feel somehow holier than others. Teach new Christians, and our youth, how to study the Bible, and why they ought to believe the Words of the Bible–that it and it alone, is truth. Teach them how to seek after knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Teach that Christians are to be light and salt–and how. Teach how to be good stewards of our time, of our money, of our talents. Teach us how to be wise, how to be discerning, about what we read, watch, how we entertain ourselves (and why too much entertainment, too much fun, is detrimental to the soul). Teach us that this world is not our home, prepare us for persecution, and help us to live in a way to deserve it. Prepare us for our real Home. Help us to long for God, to thirst after Him and His Word.
None of this will matter if we do it because we ought to, or because someone expects us to. We must do it for Christ, for Him who died for us. We need to learn to love Him, to obey Him, and to lay down our lives daily. We can’t do church anymore because we’re simply not ready to. We’re weak, and we need real food, no more milk of the Word, give us the meat of the Word. And teach us that doing for Christ isn’t as important as simply obeying Him. The doing must flow out of the being or we’ll just mess it up again–just like we’ve messed it up so far.
Moms, Dads, Pastors, you’ve got a tremendously difficult job ahead of you. I’m a Mom, and what I see when I read the Word of God vs. what I see when I look at the church, breaks my heart. It ought to break my heart. My own complicity, my own sin, ought to, and does, break my heart. Join me in repenting, and seeking God’s mercy and grace so that we may obey Him, so that we may truly love Him, and that we may, as the Body of Christ, be completely and utterly pleasing to Him.
Soli Deo gloria!