In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, he describes the church as the body of Christ. Have you really thought about that? The Creator of the universe has empowered the church with the Holy Spirit and we are His representation, His hands and feet in the world today. The mobilized church is the most powerful force on the earth. Nothing can stand in the way of the power of the Creator when He inhabits the praises and answers the prayers of His people.
We have often talked about being a missional church, but this should be normal for any church. A missional church is one which equips and sends. Equipping the believers and then sending them out on a weekly basis.
We are guilty in the western world of being so focused on church growth that we have set aside the purpose of the church. There are many books and seminars on the topic of church growth, with strategies and ideas that include, environment, music, style and even coffee. Sadly, this all sounds very much like what the business world calls “customer service”.
We become so concerned with filling seats, making budgets and building buildings that we must treat attendees as paying customers and not as chosen members of the body of Christ.
In Ephesians 4:1-16, the Apostle Paul focuses the attention of the reader on the theme of unity in the church. The church is not the building or the institution, the church is the gathering of believers, those who have committed their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:3-6).
The church may be one body, but we also have an individual responsibility and part to play in this body. As Ephesians 4:7 says, we have been given spiritual gifts to be exercised in the church. There are no passengers, we are all called to be active and participate in the call of God for His church.
As I have been thinking about the church, I have identified three types of people who attend a worship service. Where do you fit in?
- The first group is the sick.
This includes the hurting and the broken. The church is for hurting and broken people (see Mark 2:17). The church is not for people who have it all together, it is for those who desperately know that they need the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit in their lives. As we walk and serve together, healing comes as the power of the word of God is applied to our lives.
We can experience freedom as we focus on what God has in store for us as a church.
The lie of the enemy is that when you struggle with sin, you must withdraw from community, but isolation is a powerful tool of the enemy (see John 8:31-32).
What Jesus did on the cross is sufficient to heal all your pain and sickness, the Bible makes this clear. The church is a place for spiritually and physically sick people.
2: The second group is the satisfied.
This is the typical 21st century church goer who finds a church that they like after shopping around for a long time. They will stay until they are dissatisfied with the pastor or the music or what someone said.
Or, a satisfied person is someone who has been in the church since birth and everything is just the way they like it, please do not rock the boat, they are quite comfortable just the way it is.
This is the person who thrives on the customer service of the church and feels that they are paying for a quality “service”. Another word for this person is complacent.
This churchgoer possibly made a decision for Christ years ago, they were baptized, but they are quite happy with being a Sunday Christian as long as it is convenient.
A missional church is not a comfortable church, it will be challenging for the “satisfied” church goer. A missional church grows in depth and number, but this growth comes out of stretching (Ephesians 4:15 and Galatians 2:20).
Are you satisfied? I hope not! I hope that you will be provoked this year as we seek God’s will and purpose as a church
3. The third type of person is the searching person.
These are those people who want more out of life, who want to live a life of significance. Those who believe that they were saved for more and desire to be used by God for His eternal purposes.
Do you want to live a life of significance for the kingdom of God?
This is not living a life to be noticed or recognized by those around you. This is living for the audience of one, our Heavenly Father. This is living a life that focuses on eternity rather than the temporal. Are you living for eternal rewards?
Deep down everyone wants significance, to live a life that makes a difference. People try to find significance in so many different ways; money, career, titles, degrees even Instagram followers, but all of these are fleeting and have no eternal value. They will not satisfy and will not lead to a life of significance.
Jesus said in Matthew 20:26 that significance comes in serving. When we prefer others and sacrificially give of our time and talents and energy to serve the body of Christ, we are living a life of significance.
So, we have three categories if people in the church.
My prayer for Grace Point is that in 2020;
- The sick will be healed.
- The satisfied will be provoked.
- The searching will find significance.
It all comes down to the purpose of the church as Paul writes in Ephesians 4:12 and 16. This is a healthy church, a missional church.