A message to the Church and to the church

By on June 26, 2012

Wait, if necessary, and read this blog when you have some time to be still and think. This isn’t a quick, light read. I like to do those type of blogs, but sometimes it’s important to take a little more time and think a little deeper. That is the purpose of this blog. This new ministry of ours has been an interesting endeavor. I often say that God has called us out of the “church” to speak to the Church. What is the difference between the Church and the church, besides the first letter? The capital “C” Church means “the body of Christ.” Christians. The “chosen people, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9). The book of Revelation defines the small “c” church, as a unique grouping of certain individuals, in a certain location. Revelation refers to seven churches as seven lampstands. Those lampstands have seven angels, or pastors. And Revelation 2 and 3 point out that the “church” doesn’t always function well as the “Church.” And that is the message I want to shout these days. Today, I’ll use this blog to do that.

Jesus was speaking to the Church when he said, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Jesus was speaking to the church when he said, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent” (Revelation 3:1-3). Stick with me and read the rest . . . There are some churches that are growing in the United States, but the VAST majority of that growth is from Christians who are transferring from a church down the street. The truth: if you think your church is successful because people “attend” – you define “success” much differently than God. This article about the church in Christianity Today is worth your time. Your church is not successful because people attend, it is successful if people worship, serve, work, give and grow there. When you get to heaven, God will not ask you if your church was responsible for people coming to know the Lord. He will ask you if you led people to faith. When you leave church on Sunday, if you feel that your attendance earned you favor with God, then you are misled. God will not reward your attendance to a church; he will reward your attendance to him, through your worship. He will not ask if you sang the hymns or songs, he will ask you if you meant what you sang. Christians need to think about the words Jesus spoke to the church in Revelation. “Wake up!  Strengthen what remains and is about to die. . .”

I warned you this was a serious blog. But I think we are facing some serious times. I love to write the “light” stuff – but I don’t want to get to heaven, look Jesus in the face, and tell him that I wrote what I wrote because it was entertaining. My greatest fear is not failure to entertain.  Instead, it is having a Christian arrive in heaven, turn to me and say, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

I think some of God’s finest prophets are writing music and lyrics for the Church and the church. There is a lot more I could say – but there are two songs that say it better than I could. If you read this blog, I would ask you to give your time to listen and think about these lyrics.

The first song is a message to the Church, the body of Christ. Listen to the song, several times if necessary. Listen until it becomes a conviction in your soul and a prayer to Jesus. The title of the song is “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns. The lyrics are a profound message to the Church, to those who call themselves the body of Christ. Jesus said, “I came to seek and save the lost.” This song describes how you can be like Jesus.

The second song is a message to the church. The church is not a club or social organization. The church is supposed to be a lampstand, giving light to the world. Listen to this song, pray and then make a difference in your church. The title of this song is “City on the Hill” – again, by Casting Crowns.

Ask God to speak and then listen.

I hope this blog makes a difference. I hope we all do.

 

Janet blogs regularly on faith, family and the cultural trends that impact both at www.janetdenison.com. She and her husband Jim live in Dallas, TX. They are the parents of two sons, Ryan, a recent graduate of Truett Seminary and Craig, a recent graduate of Dallas Baptist University.

About Janet Denison

Janet Denison is the Director of Spiritual Formation for the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, and the author of Content to be Good, Called to by Godly. She is a popular speaker for church and community events, and a respected Bible teacher. Janet blogs regularly at www.janetdenison.com. To connect with Janet in social media, visit www.twitter.com/janet_denison or www.facebook.com/janetldenison

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A message to the Church and to the church