By Pastor Lee Hemen
May 13, 2008
Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. (1 Timothy 5:7)
Church for many in our day and age has just become a place they go to “worship God” on Sunday mornings. But what does that really mean? It is where they enjoy a good “talk”, great music, and the ability to get away from the kids for a time to relax and take pleasure in feeling, well, you know – kind of godly. Sounds good, huh? Yet did you know that much of that picture is not only unbiblical, it is leading many away from what the church is to really be about. The church, as defined by Jesus and the rest of the new Testament authors, takes its name from the word ekklēsia, pronounced “ek-klay-see’-ah.” It means a specific group of individuals that were called out to do a specific task. This is the context Jesus uses the word in Matthew 18 when He talks about going out and finding a church member that has wandered off, church discipline, church government, and the church’s purpose. It was His “body,” made up of His people who were called out to do His work and will. His ekklēsia. Paul taught that believers were to be members of the ekklēsia: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it,” (1 Corinthians 12:27) and, “It was [Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
The church, the body of Christ, therefore is a specific local group of people who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and are doing His work and will in the world by using the gifts He has given them. They are the ekklēsia, the called out of Christ in the world. Why then do we allow so many to treat it as weekend entertainment, a babysitting service for saints, or a mortuary? Why do we neglect those who are its members? Why do we never get involved, give very little to its work in our time, talent, or treasure, meaning actually TITHE?
You can have huge programs, draw large crowds, and have great music but not be the body of Christ. At best, you are part of great theater. You may as well sit in a darkened room, watching it projected images on a big screen… wait! There are so called “churches” that do just that! They have taken the next ungodly step in alienating people from one another and sterilizing the church. We have forgotten that the body of Christ is not for us, a free weekend show, but for the work and will of Jesus Christ in the community it exists in. It is supposed to be His body here on this earth, doing His will, and not a weekly stage production or simply “going through the motions.”
Small churches have lost contact with the body of Christ as well. They can become myopic and only worry about “us four and no more.” They can become filled with “dead men’s bones” waiting and wishing to die a slow but miserable death that they just show up on Sundays and go through the motions of worship. PEOPLE, never ever think that the size of the congregation or the amount of program determines the Spirit’s activity within a church because much of that is prepackaged and choreographed in our day and age. You cannot plan people’s actual worship, only what they may feel during your presentation. And generated feelings or canned emotions are not true worship no matter how much energy we put into them. (More about true worship some other time.)
Where is the church of Christ today? Paul tells Timothy, “Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame.” What were these “instructions?” Stay tuned for more information to come… but today pray that God will actually lead you to joining and serving in His body, His ekklēsia. Find a church home that is seeking to do His work and will in the world and is not so concerned about the show they put on. Find one that actually asks you to join and get involved. While no church is perfect, because it is made up of redeemed people, it should be seeking to do His work and will as you should be also. It should act as a family, lovingly caring for one another.
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.