One of my greatest joys (next to being married to Laura J) is being a part of the Church. The Lord knew this would be important so He gave me a great love for the Body of Christ at an early age. I love the building because I love all things historic and nostalgic, but I’m not really talking about the building here. I loved the Body. I loved the people. I loved to be around the people. As a child I remember receiving post cards and notes from people in the Church and thinking of them as treasures. When I was a teenager our pastor sent me a note that said “You are super!” That’s all it said! I thought that was the coolest thing. I loved coming to Sunday School and Church and hugging everyone. I drank up the worship services. I took notes every week from the time I was little. This made me a little (probably a lot) nerdy, but that’s not why I did it. I just loved the Church…and I still do.
I see a movement right now that makes me sad. It doesn’t scare me because I know the Church will survive. It’s the Bride of Christ. It has survived wars and skeptics unlike anything or anyone we’ve seen in our lifetimes. It will survive anything this generation can throw at it. But the comments and cynics I see and hear today make me sad. There have always been people in the world that have never experienced the beautiful part of being a member of the family of God; they had never been loved by God or the Body. I can’t blame those people for talking or acting rudely or hatefully toward the Church. By contrast, many of the haters we see today have been a part of the Body before. Many of them grew up in Church. Many of them have Bibles in their homes. Yet their words and actions are caustic when it comes to the Body of Christ.
Many of the commenters are people who have mixed their political ideologies with their theology. They see Jesus as a guy who thinks just like them and therefore have no problem “quoting” Him. The only problem is their quotes only exist in their minds. Just because you are passionate about something doesn’t mean Jesus is and just because you hate something doesn’t mean Jesus does. We only have one standard and record when it comes to the words and actions of Jesus and it is not exclusive to any mind on earth. It isn’t up for debate and it cannot be added to. This record is the Bible. It was written and compiled by followers of Jesus, all of which knew Him personally. Their quotes really are quotes. Their passions really were His passions. This has been the confession of the Christian Church for the last 2,000 years. Small fragments have tried to change this reality throughout the years. Their attempts at change have died with them. The Bible is absolutely fact from beginning to end. It is complete. There is no need to add to it. Its assertions are 100% good for us and its plans are all worthy of our adoption and practice. There are so many things in the world that need debate today. The validity of the Church is not one of them.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. I do mean to sound truthful. I don’t mean to make anyone angry. I understand, though, that the truth can be a stumbling block to all those who reject it. I must stand on the Word, not on a political party, the debate about masks or no masks or unstable economics. The Church must stand on the Word, not with any group who thinks they have the inside on what Jesus would say in any given situation.
The question I would ask you today is where do your loyalties lie? Is your first commitment to the Bride of Christ; the Body Jesus bled and died for? Or do you first commit yourself to anything else? I realize my bias as a pastor, but understand I am not arguing for Church attendance, offerings or any benefit I might gain personally from the health of the Church. I am arguing here for the vitality of the Church in our world today. WE NEED EACH OTHER. This is seen in every arena today by most every piece of society. This statement is proven by those participating in riots, marches and protests. The government agreed with this statement and sent us stimulus checks. Humanitarian aid organizations are putting all of their eggs in this basket, asking for help to continue their good works. Truthfully, no one can accomplish all the good, answer all the questions or offer all the aid all on their own. We need each other. This is true in eternity as well. Heaven is not limited to people who agree with me (or you), people who vote one way or people who never make mistakes. The only standard required for an eternal life in Heaven is an eternal life here on earth choosing to submit his or her life to Jesus. My argument today is that Jesus didn’t just die for one person. He died so that all of us could who choose Him can know Him today and forever. That “all of us” number is counted as the Church. Jesus died for the Church. It cannot be stated any clearer.
So before you run it down for meeting in person or judge it for not distancing enough in the snippets of videos you see online, take into account the invitation and desire God has for this precious group of people. No Church is perfect and none I know claim to be. But all are seeking the Lord; all desire to follow Him, even if that means through a pandemic. I love the Church. God loves the Church. How do you feel about the Bride of Christ?