As Our Founders long ago recognized, a government of politicians that fear not God but are ‘in love with themselves’ is a nation destined to fail. To get our ‘Ship of State’ to ‘safe harbor’ is going to require that the Church be restored to the leadership prominence it once had. Shall we start on the course to recovery…at least in my meager opinion?
Americans have an interesting view of the Christian Church. When most people hear the word church, they think of the “small c” version…an organization that puts on events and programs they can attend. A smaller proportion of people think of the “big c” version…the Church as the global body of followers of Christ. An infinitesimally small number of Americans think of themselves as being the Church. This might then be a good place to start as we consider how to restore health to the American Church.
Jesus did not die to create an institution or to found an organization. He died so that you might have life and have it abundantly while honoring Him by carrying out His work during your lifetime. In doing so you are part of the Church…or, ekklesia, the Greek term used in the Bible to indicate those who have been “called out”. We are called from identification with, and conformity and devotion to, the ways and purposes of the world. We are called into a community of people who have been blessed by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, who identify with Him, and who are devoted and conformed to the ways and purposes of the Master. As has been pointed out previously in the weekly writings, the Church in America is being influenced by society more than it is influencing society. As our nation decays from the inside out, the sole solution for that deterioration is for the Church to be the Church that Jesus intended, called, and prepared to be. The means to that outcome is not to sit back and point fingers at leaders who have ‘dropped the ball’ or to criticize the un-Christian like behavior of millions of ‘churchgoing’ people. The solution starts with each of us. God is in the transformation business. Nobody can renew life and spirit like He can. He wants to transform each of us if we will allow Him to do so. If we do not allow Him the freedom to do so, then we have no right to complain about the state of the nation or to expect it to improve. As previously stated, we cannot expect to send heathens to Washington and expect them to do God’s work. The trajectory of America today is a direct reflection of what happens when people push God out of the picture and take control of the world based on their own power and vision.
So if our nation is to be renewed, the process must start with us. God has challenged us to step up and collaborate with Him in the pursuit of truth and righteousness. Our decision of whether or not we will humble ourselves and follow His lead will affect many lives: our own, friends, family, acquaintances, many people we do not know, and many we may never meet. The concept of the Church is a critical aspect of the renewal process. Remember this: God never called us to go to church. He called us to be the Church. Time is running out to fulfill our calling.
So how can we be the Church? Next week we will look at some suggestions on how to be the Church.
– Bob Munsey