In part one of this post I began to look at the fact that the church of God, or at least the church described in scripture, is largely missing from our culture here in North America. The church that the bible states that “the gates of hell will not prevail against” the church that overcomes and is victorious in Christ, the church that is supernatural in nature. The church that is portrayed for us in the New Testament. The true church of God is missing from our culture. The church we have is not the church that God has designed, nor the church that God had planned. Often the church in North America has begun to deny the very truths of scripture that lay out for us the principles and guidelines of what God wanted when He designed the church. Many churches have let go of the absolutes of scripture and have begun to subjectively decide what will be the truth that they believe in. And I believe that this is caused by the fact that the true church is missing and those who would stand and declare the truth are being silenced and ignored because who declare the truth cannot back it up. Theology has become the place of philosophy. Something etherial to be discussed and talked about instead of something tangible that we should build our lives upon.
I began to look at three reasons I think the church has gone missing.
And I shared what the scriptures teach about what the Christian Cause truly is. Simply a deep intimate love relationship with a Sovereign God, empowered by the Holy Spirit and lived out in relationships with other Christians. We cannot separate one aspect of Christianity from the others and have a true understanding. We cannot have a growing relationship with God without first coming to Him in repentance for our behaviours and receiving His forgiveness, and then living that life out with other Christians. Scripture teaches that we cannot love God, whom we cannot see, unless we can love our brother whom we can see. And we cannot have a relationship with God without being empowered by Him, cause without Him we can never measure up. We need all three aspects of Christianity to be growing and deepening for our faith to be true.
But we also cannot be who God designed us to be as a church if We don’t understand what Christianity costs.
Our faith first of all cost Jesus everything. The bible teaches that Jesus left the glory and splendor of heaven, became a simple man just like you and I, and as a man without sin, suffered and died in our place, descended into hell and on the third day rose again and ascended into heaven. Christianity cost Jesus everything. And yet when you look at the church today in North America we have a church pandering to the needs and wants of people, all of us selfishly trying to increase our comfort level, and if we can’t get what We want, we move on to find somewhere that we can. Church today has become a place for us, something no better than a social club, instead of a place where people come to meet God. We have a church and a faith that costs us little to nothing and it is seen in our character and our actions. Christians today cannot be told apart from non-Christians. We look, taste and feel exactly the same and this is not what was to be. The bible states in Acts 3:13 when Peter and John were arrested for preaching Jesus that the Jewish council was“astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Simply by what Peter and John shared with them and by their character and actions people knew these men had been with Jesus. Can the same be said about the church as we know it. The church in Acts cost the disciples everything as well. Even the congregations had a cost to pay. Christianity was never supposed to be a comfortable faith. Jesus himself said “Count the cost” The fact that we have made it a free faith of comfort and ease is an insult unto the author of our faith. King David stated in scripture that he would not offer unto God a sacrifice that had cost him nothing. And yet we offer unto God, when we offer something, a faith that is cost free.
Jesus did say that all who are weary and burdened should come to Him and receive rest for their souls. But even this wasn’t without a cost. Because He also said to learn from Him, then we would find rest. We simply want to find the rest. Unfortunately not everyone who says they are a Christian will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus Himself stated this in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Christianity has a cost. Paul said in Romans 10:9 “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ” We have come to know Jesus as our Saviour, but scripture clearly states that we must come to know Him as Lord. Lordship entails ownership. We have to come to the place where Jesus owns us completely lock stock and barrel. There simply is no other option. Jesus didn’t ever deal in half measures. Christianity will cost us everything. Either Jesus is Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all. Jesus said “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” So if we are to be the church that God designed and desires the question is, will we count the cost. And will we pay the cost. Will we follow Jesus’ lead and follow Him. Without it the church will remain missing.