We Are The Church
Being a devotee of the classics I remember an episode of “Andy of Mayberry” where Deputy Barney Fife and deputy conscriptee Gomer Pyle were on the roof of the Mayberry Court. From their vantage point they observed two supposed felons. Gomer, seeing the felons says to Barney, “We better call the police.” To which Barney replies, “We are the police.” And in a eureka moment Gomer responds, “Shazam!” “We are the police!”
Why would I subject you to this great moment of intellectualism? It is because this is the kind of foggy thinking has characterized church life in our country for the last half century. As a pastor I get more than my fair share of “sanctified“ junk mail. I regularly receive the email from the widow who has been left a fortune, needs to get it out of the country and if I give her my banking information she will make a deposit into my account. Right. And I receive church stuff. Information about “being the church“, “discovering the church“, “rediscovering the church“, “reviving the church“, “renewing the church“, “doing church”, “casting visions for the church” (Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo). Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo? The result of this ecclesiastical hyper-ventilation has been…. Bibbidi Bobbidi poof, no church, weak churches, hyper active churches and introspective churches on a never-ending trip of self-discovery and Sunday morning euphoria..
We have been marketed an avalanche of tools, programs, gadgets and gizmos, and everything but face-life creams, to put a new face on the church. The vast majority of this strange armory it is not only a departure from Scripture, it is an insult to God.
This is not rocket science. The church is not a program, a business, nor is it a lump of clay that you and I form into whatever we want to make it.
Does it not seem preposterous that an all powerful, all knowing God would send His Son into the world to purchase for himself a people, the church, with His own blood and not give to that people directions, marching orders? Such a thought is outrageous. God has spoken. God has given clear directions in His word as to what the church is, what the church is to do, how the church is to minister and what form that ministry is to take. Nothing has been left to chance and nothing has been left to our incompetent hands. In other words, the church is not our creation and we are not CEO‘s. It is Christ‘s church and He will build His church, His way and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
God has spoken. He has given us the blueprint of the church in His hold, inspired and inerrant word. What we need to do is read the directions and love Him enough to follow after him. And here is some good news. God is not vague and obtuse.
In 1 Timothy 3:14-15 Paul writes Timothy saying, “I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”
From this passage we saw three truths about the church, namely, the church is….
- The household of God;
- The church of the living God.
- The pillar and support of the truth.
From God’s word we have every this we need “so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17). So it is time for us to read the directions and do the directions. Then we will know:
- What the church is.
- What the church is to do.
- How the church is to be administered.
- Who is in the church.
- Whether the church is necessary.
- Whether there is a future for the church.
- What is the message of the church.
We are the church of the living God. And we respond to our God by loving Him supremely. Studying His word diligently. Serving Him obediently. And in doing this we will learn that our Sovereign God does not need us. We desperately need Him. Our Lord knows the way through the wilderness all we have to do is follow.
“And now may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen” – Philippians 4:7