Monday, March 2, 2009

To the church

Tommy Wilson needs a men's home.

Living Free serves a lot of people who are coming out of prison or coming back fom a long stay at a rehab who need a place to stay until they can get their wheels under them. Nelson Hight wants to have a women's shelter. Crosswind and other charities are trying to figure out how to help the homeless community. These things seem easy on the surface. $50K here, $150k there and we could really upgrade the "urgent care" infrastructure of our community. But how come we can't pull it off?

The word "church" means "the called out ones". It is the people who are God's kids, who have recieved "the adoption as sons". It is the "bride of Christ". It's us. Christians. We are the church.

God used the word church 77 times in the New Testament. My favorite use of the word was this... "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours 1 Cor 1:2 That's us! The church of God which is at Corinth! God was writing to all the believers in Corinth. The City Church. Most of the New Testament was written to the City Church. The letters to the Churches were to all the believers in cities: Corinth, Colosse, the region of Galatia, Thessalonica, Rome... you get the picture. The local church was City Church. A time or three God mentions a gathering of believers who met at a home, but at least 70 of the 77 mentions of his Church, he mentions it in the 'Big C' not the 'little c' (local fellowship).

2000 years later... how we have switched that all around! We hardly ever talk about the 'Big C' anymore. You know "the church of God in Corinth." We say we have 200 plus churches in Corinth and stuff like that. But I'm as sure as I'm sittin' here, if God wrote us a letter he'd address it just like he did in the verse above. To City Church. As a matter of fact, we use the word in ways God never used it at all. We say 'let's go to church'. Hmmmm... is that like saying "let's go to Christian?" We say we are going to go to 'leave the church'. Hmmmmm... does that mean leave Jesus? I can't 'go to church', I am the church, along with all of you. How did we get the terminology drift where we don't see talk church like the Bible talks it hardly at all? I mean, you know, we talk about it. Everybody could pass the Sunday School quiz on "Who are the church?" But we sure don't function that way, do we?

Whenever God’s kids gather and throw their hats and hearts and checkbooks together to grow in faith and in love and use their connectedness as a strategic launching point for action and outreach, I say bravo... that's 'little c' in it's best sense of the word.

But to demand an isolationist allegiance to a local Christian fellowship in exclusion to The Church, isolating The Church from its brothers and sisters and keeping The Church from practical love and fellowship, practical unity, practical partnership is missing the mark of The Church set forth by our Lord in the New Testament.

God has cast the vision for his children, and his vision includes that we (all of us) are one, that we are members of one another, that we love one another, that we care for one another, that we put up with one another, that we forgive one another.

Yet practically, we organize ourselves where we are members of some, we love some, we serve some, we put up with some; and those some are... the ones who believe my doctrinal statement, are faithful to my schedule, do my programs, give to my missionaries, look like me, make the same income as I do, etc.

Listen, I just want to get Tommy and Nelson their buildings built. And I think 'little c' keeps 'Big C' from letting that happen. What if we were the Church at Corinth? What if WE addressed homelessness, single moms, drugs, teen pregnancy, addiction, unchurched, lost, poverty, joblessness together, as one, one big bride, one big happy family... one big church.

What if WE did it? ...the church of God which is at Corinth.


3 - read/write comments:

Bubba McQueen said...

Amen. I think "little c" (local church) is crucial but sometimes we get sucked into traditions that hinder the "big C" "(THE church of God). We must be externally focused and use the local church as a diving board into the world together for the sake of Christ. Only when we dive in and "make waves" in those hearts "outside" our church walls are we fulfilling the great commission. That's the DNA of the new testament church (big C). We must be careful not to create "closed" environments where we build big "spiritual" muscles...but rarely get the opportunity to use them.

Bobby Roach said...

I say we can, and must do just that!!!!!! Might not be easy, probably won't be...........but nevertheless, it's needed and necessary. I hope WE all get it soon!!!!!!! O God, please open our hearts and minds to Your purposes and Your will for our lives and THE Church. If this were to happen, this world would never be the same. Whooooooo!!!!! I'm looking forward to that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Wilbanks said...

Hey Bobby, I read your blog. Great job! I wrote an article about the local church as well. Each Church has a vision and we must be focused on that vision. God wants to see the Church produce. I believe each local church can help build the CHURCH. We must get focused. Unity is the key. I have been around the country at different events. Each one talked about the power of the local Church. Fellowship Church, Willow Creek, New Birth, Potters House. Each one stressed that the local church must get busy to do what God has called them to do. Way to go Bobby John Wilbanks

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