Ephesians 4 & John 17 Wants An United Church; So Watch What Words You Choose
A discussion on Facebook caught my attention. Those advocating a more horizontal relational approach to the Church were beginning to sound as if the “church” was the enemy. As we are facing change in the Church, this is not about “we” versus “them” mentality, for that has been the cause of division that “revivals” have historically always produced. Jesus is to come for a Church without spot and wrinkle, so we need to quit throwing tomatoes at one another producing spots and wrinkles and begin “practicing” laying down our lives for our brethren (I John 3:16), in other words, being “doers” of love through sacrifice, service, and laying down our lives for each other.
My hearts desire is to see revival in my lifetime in the Church that does not divide but unifies. The Church is the corporate body of believers that is very diverse. Not only should it reach out to the world, but it needs to reach out to each other. I am so tired of “brethren bashing” of other believers who do not practice my doctrines, my morals, my theology, my uniqueness, etc. in the body of Christ. Christians not only love to throw stones at each other, but they shoot their wounded. Supposedly Christianity is about peace, mercy, and forgiveness, not about hostility, judgment, and defining “righteousness” as something only my Christian sect practices. Unfortunately the church extends the latter rather than the former to each other.
Weight your words carefully or it will bring division. During the Charismatic era, I remember saying a stupid thing, “I wonder if my pastors have the Holy Spirit.” Daaaa, yes, they had it, for their bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and without the Holy Spirit they would not be Christians. What I meant was, “I wonder if my pastors have embraced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” My linguistical handicaps caused pain and misunderstanding.
Yes, we, the Church, must embrace change if it is lead by the Holy Spirit, but we must be careful in how we word what we mean or we can come across as elitist spawning the culture of division and criticism. Isaiah 57:14 says “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.” Often, we Christians are the very obstacle that needs to be removed. I can not tell you the last time, if there even was a last time, when I heard a minister/pastor/beleiver praise another minister/pastor/teacher/beleiver from another Christian camp as being “right on”, “respectable”, and was willing to work with their camp. We are worse than the bipartisan politicians in Washington who oppose each other no matter what. We, the church, oppose everyone and anyone that is not exactly like our theological persuasion in the body of Christ, getting us nowhere. The kingdom of God is at a stalemate because of our dig in your heals attitude toward our own brethren. Lord, “remove the obstacles out of the way of my people” is my prayer!
I sympathize with the movement of God toward the relational, toward the priesthood of believers, toward the decentralization of a pyramidal church structure, but I will not criticize my fellow brethren who are under that structure. I believe the Lord wants to unify both camps. Do we not have one father, one Lord and Savior, one Holy Spirit and one Church?
If you have read my numerous blogs in the past, you know I am for a five fold structure built on a relationship of laying down your life for your brethren to serve and be served. I believe accountability will arise out of those unique relationships, passions, points of view only when they “serve” “unconditionally” one another. I am a fool enough for Christ to believe he can bring the very points of view and passions that have divided the Church so far in history, and make them the catalyst for renewal, revival, and UNITY only when the Church is willing to allow John 3:16 (our vertical relationships with God) to supernaturally dissect I John 3:16 (our horizontal relationship with out own brethren) creating the CROSS.
Church, renewal and revival begins with repentance, and it begins with us! Let’s not let the kingdom of God continue to be a divided kingdom for even Jesus warned “that a kingdom divided can not stand.” Satan is our enemy, not the Church no matter what form it is in! Church, let’s start a revival by finding another brother or sister in the Lord that is not of your persuasion, sect, or local, regional, or national group or denomination and lay down your life for them for an entire week! A month! A Year! A Decade! For the rest of your life! Find a different believer in Christ, not of your camp, each week and continue to serve them. Forget about ideology, theology, race, religious persuasion, sex, or age; if they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord, they are family members, so treat them as one.
This next movement of God is all about relationships, so Church, let’s start with the relationships that already exist in our own body, camp, or family, and begin to “remove the obstacles” to “prepare” the way to “build up” not tear down the road to revival! Let’s watch what we say and how we say it!