From a very young age I have always loved church. I think any believer with a heart to serve the Lord loves to worship Him corporately. Although, people in the church are the number one reason for hurting others, that’s mainly just due to arrogant and sinful flesh. But here’s something to really dwell on.
God loves the church.
Not the sin, not the abuse, not the pride, not religion, He loves the church.
If you have believed on Him you are IN the church. Christ gave His life to the whole world when you believe on Him you become a new creation. Old things are now passed away, all things have become new. Given that, if you love God and are living for Him, you are apart of the church.
The Universal Body
Of course there’s a difference from someone who belongs to a home church and someone who belongs to the universal body of Christ. For instance our church is called New Hope Community Church, but because of your salvation you are in the universal body of Christ.
When I think of the church in terms of regions/countries I think about what is the most popular belief system of that area. For instance in America (quite unfortunately) you would find a massive amount of different belief systems. All kinds of doctrines, all kinds of denominations, all kinds of preachers, and all kinds of churches. There are a lot of incredible churches in America, but there are also a lot of very heretical churches in America as well.
The state of the American Church is a vastly different explanation depending on who you ask. In the perspective of the Word, the church as a whole is honestly lazy.
A Lazy Church
As a whole, our society in general has become lazy. It has most assuredly crept into the church. The vast majority of Christians are fed a “helps based gospel.” Meaning, if you give your life to Christ and do well you will live a better life, have more money, get promotions at work, enjoy your life more, help more people.”
While all of those things individually may be true to some extent, it is not the reason why we commit our lives to Christ. The Gospel is, “We were born into sin, Christ died to save us, and we need to radically dedicate our life to telling others about Jesus.”
The Apostles in Acts sold everything they owned and told the world around them about Jesus. Look at the results that they saw. The world was literally turned upside down for Christ because of their dedication to His cause. What has been detrimental to the church by and large is the idea that we can have Christ as a part of our lives rather than making Him Lord over ALL of our lives.
A study that has proven this to be true shows that close to 30% of Americans believe that going to church is non-essential in the life of the believer. That means that of those 30% they are either ignorant to the Word of God or simply choosing not to follow it.
A Life Committed to Christ
Christ of the New Testament is a radical Savior. He is Lord, He ought to be the ruler of our lives. With that being said, the picture of Christ for the average American Christian is much different than the Christ of the Bible.
He is graceful, yet He is fierce. Grace demands holy living, but also gives us the power to overcome sin. Christ is loving, yes, but loving enough to convict us of our wrongdoings. He is the same Christ who turned over the tables of those selling livestock in the temple, and cleared the grounds with a cat of nine-tails.
He is now seated at the right hand of the Father and will one day judge us all according to the holy ordinances of scripture. The Cross of Christ demands daily sacrifice to live for Him. He’s not just a PART of our life, He IS our life. He is all of our life. The old expression goes, “Either Christ is Lord of all in your life or He is not Lord at all.”
This same concept is true for the church as well. We must lay aside our distractions and focus on Him, we must get the gospel to the hard places. We must go and tell the world the great things that are to come.
The American Church
I see a church that once shined bright in the corridors of heaven. A church that has been given every great blessing this side of glory, a church that has every opportunity to carry out the Great Commission. A church that lacks no resources but lacks drive and conviction to focus on what matters most. Perhaps a politically distracted church, a church who is prey to the subtle attacks of the enemy.
But I also see a church with so much potential that if there was a collective unified effort to tell the world about Jesus, “the gates of hell shall not prevail.”
Today, be a close follower fo Christ, pray for the American Church. Ask the Lord to use you to be a witness of His holy Word.