Some Thoughts on “church”
Alice and I have belonged to many e-mail talk lists through the years (in fact that is where we met). Many were/are Christian lists that explore Christianity from different perspectives ( a very healthy exercise). A few years ago I found myself on one such list that was trying to “restore” the church back to it’s original (scriptural) example – noble concept indeed! Problem: it was based upon their interpretation and understanding of scriptures from their particular (denominated) Christian persuasion. Alice and I once aligned ourselves with this same persuasion.
Below are some of my thoughts at the time as I jotted them down (with a few new ones added recently). There may be some folks today at this very juncture in life. I offers these “disjointed thoughts” on their behalf and also for my review as I reflect from time to time on this again.
It's not about how we can improve or restore things back to the way they were in the first century. It's about how can we emulate God's life and love so that He can live His life and heart's desire through us to touch others as He chooses. I think *THAT* is the church Christ is building. It’s NOT a physical building but a building not made with human hands, a building of “living stones” who are being fitted together as we interrelate with one another in our normal day to day lives.
It's not based on whether it matches verses we can pull out of the Bible. It’s about whether it matches God's heart! If it matches God's heart, it will not go against the Bible, but it may go against OUR concept of what the Bible is saying or we may misinterpret the application. That's why we need His Spirit, so we can discern spiritual things by spiritual means (I Cor. 2:12-14).
Jesus came to show us the Father (Jn 14:9-11). He came to
not just show, but to live out as an example the Father's
love by His life and works. It went right "flap" against all
that the religious folks of that day thought, preached, and practiced.
Can you imagine? To the religious Jew, what could be
more pure and direct - straight from God, than the Jewish religion and Law?
How dare this "yayhoo" low-life carpenter's son, whose very birth is
somewhat "shady," (and from
Here’s what I think God is after, based on Jesus as our pattern and Christ being the image of the invisible God, He wants people after His own heart! Not people who get the structure/organization scripturally correct. Man focuses on the outward but God sees the heart. God’s plan is not about going to “church” or being scripturally accurate, or the closest Christian group to “the truth.”
If God wanted a perfect pattern and “church,” don't you think that “the image of the invisible God, Jesus, the Messiah, while He was here on earth in the flesh, would have emphasized that in His ministry? Where does He lay out a description, pattern or specific example of church as we see it today (on almost every street corner)? The Gospel of Matthew is the only book of the four Gospels in which Jesus even mentions “church” and even then it is never described, detailed, or given a “how to” reference. Jesus gathered together 12 men and many disciples followed Him around for 3 ½ years, but what did they do? They went to where the needy people were. They didn't expect the people to come to “their building” or tent to receive help. They went to homes, pools, rivers, lakes, beaches, porches, mounts, hills, etc. It is true that some came to Jesus, but it was usually while He was traveling through. I believe Jesus was teaching His followers to care for people and to reveal His Father’s heart and love in a very real and practical way to all who sought after Him.
Look at David; what did God say about him? "A man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.” David was greatly used by God eventually to bring about some monumental changes by revealing God’s true heart concerning our fellowship and worship toward God. He used David even though he violated the Sabbath and ate the show bread. David was caring for his men and meeting a very practical need...EATING, lest they die! The point is that he didn't let his "religious hang ups" bring detrimental repercussions to himself and his faithful mighty men and I believe that David knew God's heart on that matter. Jesus did not condemn him either (Mk. 2:25-27).
It was David who went after the ark of the Lord, and eventually after costing
the life of Uzzah, placed the ark in a simple tent in
I do believe that there is so much being done in our “churches” today that was never intended by God nor entered into the heart of God. If God had more “David’s” on the earth today, can you imagine the changes that could be wrought, and how gloriously we could be displaying and learning better how to express the heart of God to others?
It seems to me that we have sinned, that is, grossly missed the mark when it
comes to seeking after and following God’s heart. It reminds
me of the verse in Rev. 2 where Jesus says, “you have left your first love,”
which is God Himself. In the previous verses He had
Charlie and Alice