Church: It’s not just any place. We have transformed the idea of a church into a place where we go to worship God. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three gather as my followers, there I am among them.” This verse means so much because it shows that we don’t have to be at church on Sunday to worship our God. The church does not exist for us; we are the church and we exist for the world.
If you knew you were the only exposure anyone received from the Bible, would you change the way you acted? I heard a quote a while back that said, “[T]here are 67 books in the bible. There are really only 66, but you are the 67th book and people see the Bible through you and your actions. As Christians, we need to understand that people base their idea of Christianity on us. Our actions determine what is acceptable. all we do is follow the laws of our bible, it is almost as Pharisaic as following the biblical laws to say we do. To justify public sin is like saying it’s OK to sin as long as you’re a Christian.
“Salvation is one time, but sanctification is daily.” We must understand that we are not ready when redemption takes place. Our work is not done when we give our lives to Christ; we must still hallow His name and live for Him daily. We also need to understand that everyone’s story of sanctification is very different. We are all at different stages in our walk with Christ, and we cannot judge others by where they are with theirs. Just because we have the same salvation does not mean we have the same sanctification. We are all saved by the same grace and loved by the same Heavenly Father, just as we are all lights in a sea of darkness. We must bring in those who have not seen or experienced God in all His Glory with our rescues and our testimonies. These are the things that connect us, no matter how different our story of sanctification is. Because our God cares so much about our details, they will affect any stranger who needs His word.
The mask of the church is one that is so distorted in the media and within His people. When we don’t really allow ourselves to be part of the church and interact with each other authentically, one can get the idea that every Christian is a fake. Satan’s lie is not one of honesty, but of the whisper of perfection. Christ reminds us that we will never be perfect and that we will never be fully able to be washed from our sins. No matter how hard we try, that attempt at justice that the church so often is, the sense that we are “better” forces outsiders or non-believers to stop. We, the Church and the community of Christ, must be authentic with our faith and honest about our humanity. We often feed the flesh and pretend to feed the spirit. How can we ever claim to be a sanctuary if we pretend not to welcome the sick and the sinners? Our stories define us, our sins create us, but the power of our mighty God changes us.
As Christians, we should embrace those who are struggling and praise those who are well. We must be strong enough in our faith to put aside our own lives and live for the Kingdom. So go, go show the world. Go, let His light shine through you and your deeds. Go show people how God has changed your life. Go be the church.
Lay down your life and take up your cross.