The Church is What

There seems to be some confusion in this day and time about what constitutes the church. Some people think the church is the building they meet in a couple of days a week is the doorway to heaven. Many of them think if they are a regular attendee and donate money to the church once in a while, they are fireproof. These same people will spend millions of dollars to make their buildings attractive hoping its beauty will encourage people to join them. Ain’t gonna happen. The world has nicer and more luxurious buildings than the church does for the sinner to be entertained in. Jesus had something to say to religious leaders who spent their time adorning the outside of things while neglecting the more important matters of mercy and faith.

Matthew 23:25& 27 & 28, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisee hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortions and self-indulgence.” And, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisee hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleaness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Jesus could just as easily have been talking about the modern day church goer in the above scriptures, and He had this to say in [Luke 19:46], “My house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” Jesus is talking about the religious leaders of His day, the scribes and Pharisee’s. Why did the church leaders let the thieves into the temple? So they could make a profit off of them. Hmmm. Christianity has become big business. It isn’t about faith and mercy, it’s about the money, nice facilities, being on television, owning airplanes, selling books, CD’s, DVD’s, and mega churches. Today’s Christianity isn’t about the Lord, faith and mercy; it’s about me, mine, and ours. They say it’s about the Lord, but where is the proof? Is this blog an attack on Christianity? No, it isn’t. It’s an attack on an attitude that has become prevalent in the church that replaces Jesus Christ as the central focus of our life.

Church buildings are nothing more than a place for Christians to get in out of the weather. God doesn’t live in a building so there’s no reason to go looking for Him there. He inhabits the praises flowing out of the mouth of the temple of man. Buildings are just buildings that cost a lot of money to build. Money that could have been used to meet the needs of a lot of hurting people in this world. They look nice but aren’t necessary. I don’t want to get started on how they are becoming more like Wal-Mart with all of its many shops, and less and less like an institution conducive to Christian learning and living. The work of the Christian is outside the church building where the lost live, it isn’t inside behind closed doors where it is air-conditioned and plush. You may have never thought of this concerning those beautiful expensive stain glass windows that adorn the outside and inside of the church building, but they block out more than sunlight. They also block the view of people who might want to gaze in and see what people inside church buildings really do when they get together.

Do you know where the idea originated that Christians can function better out of sight behind the walls of a building than they could out in the open where the sinner can see all that we do? I don’t either. This idea didn’t come from God because God intended for Christians to be seen and heard. Walls and closed doors prevents this from happening, thus leaving the sinner in the dark and without hope. The Apostle Paul tells us in the tenth chapter of Romans, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” And, “How shall they hear without a preacher?” If the church wants the sinner to be saved as much as God does, they will come out from behind those enclosed walls and closed doors and turn the volume up on their mics so the sinner can see the preacher and hear his message; otherwise, they will not have the faith to believe and they will be lost for eternity. Chew on this for a second if you will and ask yourself this question; What business is God in? Don’t know? God is in the soul-saving business and the first order of every Christian is to bring in the harvest from God’s fields.

Do you think the church is doing all it can to see that God’s harvest is out of the fields and His storehouses are full? Jesus said the fields are always white and ready for harvesting. [John 4:35] Are we bringing in the harvest as we have been commanded? I don’t think so. What’s the population of the area you live in? How many of them are born again Christians? I can tell you the majority of the people in your area don’t attend any church and never have. How many people have been saved in our church recently? The national average is about 1 a year. This is new converts, not people moving from one church to another. If the harvest isn’t coming in from the field that are always white and ready for harvesting; what do you think God will do to those lazy workers who refuse to go to work in His fields?

Here’s another thought to chew on; we have colored our windows and closed the doors to our churches, thus most churches aren’t really any different than any other club that blackens out it windows and bars it door during meeting times. As for me, I don’t really care what those clubs do behind closed doors. If they want to throw open their doors and move outside where I can see them and hear their message, I might agree with them and want to join with them. The church needs to wake up and realize God needs us to do His work because the sinner needs the Word of God more than they need water to drink, food to eat, and air to breath. Shutting them out of our meetings so they can’t hear God’s Word is like cutting their throats so they can’t swallow. We won’t let them see what we do behind our walls and closed doors, but they take notice of everything we do outside those walls. And because they don’t hear our confessions of failures during testimony time, they expect us to be perfect in our walk with God. If we lived our Christianity out in the open before them the way the early church did, they would realize we aren’t that much different from them. They would realize we are human and we make mistakes just like they do, but because we are forgiven, God grants us favor and answers our prayers. When we hide what we do from them we are leaving them in the dark to continue their struggle with life. Then we have the audacity to pray and ask God to bring the sinner into the church and save them; ain’t gonna happen folks. That isn’t how Christ did things, and it isn’t how we are supposed to be doing them either. Why did the church move inside away from the prying eyes of the sinner? I don’t know. Maybe the Christians who came up with this idea had some things to hide they didn’t want the sinner to know about like the scribes and Pharisee’s Jesus called hypocrites in the scriptures I quoted above.

Others, believe the church is an institution made up solely of people who know that when we were born again the Holy Spirit came to live in us and bind us together into a building not put together with the hands of men. Paul talks about the spiritual church God is building in his letters to the house churches in the different cities he visited on his missionary journeys. There is a building call the church where people meet a couple of times a week and there is a spiritual church in the world today. Which one do we belong to? If we think we are a Christian and are going to heaven just because we attend church in one of those buildings; we aren’t. We can live in a garage, but that doesn’t make us a car. We may think we are a car because we can make noises like a car, but people who know a thing or two about cars aren’t deceived. It is the same with people who call themselves Christians. Just because a person attends meetings in a building a couple of days a week and walks around all day talking about scripture, doesn’t make that person a Christian anymore than a person living in a garage makes that person a car. These people may fool some unknowing people into thinking they are Christians, but they are not fooling those who know what the work of the Lord is. The New Testament Church isn’t a building, it’s a spiritual church made up of men and women from all walks of life and from every nation and tongue who serve the Lord and obey His commandments to love Him with all of their hearts, mind, soul and strength, and who love their neighbors as they love themselves. They get up every morning and make themselves ready to go to work in the harvest fields of the Lord in the factories, hospitals, campuses, school systems and businesses large and small all around the world. This is the New Testament church and these are the people who will make up the Bride of Christ in eternity. DThrash

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