Sunday, February 20, 2011

The question is not "where" do you "go to church" ....but who, and what, is the church

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. -Acts 2:42-47

As you "go to church" this Sunday, consider what you're doing there. Does your purpose there align with the church modeled in the New Testament? And the question should be asked... are you, by definition given in Scripture, a "Christ-follower"? Anything otherwise is a social-club membership. The book of Acts gives us the model of the "New Testament church." No question ....times have changed since the early church met together. We have different bents, different dependencies ....simply a different way of life. As an example... my wife and I traveled to Kenya in 2009-2010, and we saw, even in the poorest of circumstances, people living lives of much more attainable means than the early church had. Yet, in Kenya, we saw a level of poverty which we could not begin to appreciate or pretend to relate to. Culture is a wonderment, to be sure. We, especially blessed as we are in this country, have developed an attitude of entitlement and expectation. It is the bitter-sweet pill that, through the blood-stream of a people who's very right to be free is won, flows.

It seems that we are who we are. I am thankful for the freedoms I have. I don't know that I could revert to another way of living. Moreover, I don't know that I want to or necessarily "need" to in an extreme sense; lest the Lord demands it of me. Without question... the Lord shows me adjustments that can be made, in order to live with a lesser attitude of entitlement. We are "entitled" nothing other than that which we are endowed by our Creator. Yet, with each day's passing, each year's passing, we see a chasm develop in the lives of the people for whom Christ submitted; Christ-follower or not. Without making an absolute broad-stroke... even the average Christian doesn't know where he / she has come from. Dear friend ...this is a history lesson worth learning.

It is healthy that today's Christ-follower see, for him/herself, how the church that Jesus established, ebbed and flowed; what its purpose was, and how it acted out that purpose. Not that we should bar the doors on the "church-house" (...though this may be an appropriate move for some...) but are we breaking bread together in our "church-home"; that is, with the body of Christ. Are we fulfilling the role of what Christ commissioned? (Matt. 28:16-20) Whatever cultural environment you may be in (...and I am speaking, too, of church-culture...) ask yourself if you are modeling the church as it was established by Christ' immediate disciples. Are you a part of a true example of His church? It is time to get back to the basics, back to Scripture, back to the church, and its purpose, which Christ set forth. Him as the Head, we as the body.