Why the Church? (part 4 of 4)

See, it’s not just men who are watching the Church. No, no! There are many others. This is an important aspect of its ministry. Then again in Chapter 3, the verses immediately before the passage we are reading in Chapter 4, Paul says:

Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen! As God’s prisoner, then, I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling (Ephesians 3:20 – 4:1)

Now that is clear, is it not? We are to talk about the reality of a life-changing encounter with a living Christ and demonstrate that change through our unselfish love-filled life. That is why the apostle goes on:

Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another (Ephesians 4:2-3)

That is the calling of the church. Notice how the Lord Jesus himself confirms this in the opening chapter of Acts. Just before he ascended he said to his disciples,

“You are to be given power when the Holy Spirit has come to you. You will be witnesses to me, not only in Jerusalem, not only throughout Judea, not only in Samaria but to the very ends of the earth!”” (Acts 1:8)

There is the calling of the church! We are to be witnesses of Christ! We are to declare and demonstrate His message. We are to experience and then declare “He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through Him. If you have known Him, you will also know His Father.” Peter had something to share on this in his first letter:

You are God’s “chosen generation,” his “royal priesthood,” his “holy nation,” his “peculiar people” — all the old titles of God’s people now belong to you. It is for you now to demonstrate the goodness of him who has called you out of darkness into his amazing light (I Peter 2:9)

Then Paul adds:

We are citizens of Heaven; our outlook goes beyond this world to the hopeful expectation of the saviour who will come from Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20)

That is the job of the Church. The only message we are to offer the world is the Good News of Yahweh’s Messiah. The Church has nothing to say about politics or civil rights or anything like that — but it’s not because Christians don’t care about those things. No, as disciples of Jesus we must have hearts filled with love for others and our society around us. And if we only shrug our shoulders and say, “I have nothing to say about these things” it is horribly beneath us.

However, a Christian understands that the only way to help anyone is to introduce a new dynamic, the life of Jesus Christ! This is what men need. Not big fancy cars or large estates to live. Although we are concerned about those who rule over us, that is not out priority. You could have a perfect administration to govern the land, but when people are dying and going to Hell, it just doesn’t compare.

When a society experiences the message of Jesus the Christ, history has proved again and again that the problems begin to be solved. They are resolved through a new life being introduced into the situation.

Oh, we can spend all kinds of energy in our attempts to make the world a paradise. But if we don’t change the hearts, the deceitful and desperately wicked attitudes and mentalities of man, nothing will change. What we need to learn to fellowship with the Prince of Peace.

As the old proverb puts it:

You can bring a pig into the parlor but that doesn’t change the pig — though it certainly changes the parlor!

Tell me, where in the New Testament will you find any programs that will make our societies better? Spend some time reading the book of Acts. Their life events weren’t that much different than they are today. They were surrounded with tumultuous social issues, the same as we do, but you never read about any direct approach to these problems. Where are Christians told to demand that the government leaders were responsible for correcting the evils and abuses that consume their lands? If anything, you will find the opposite is presented. Seriously, Paul wrote:

Slaves, obey your human masters sincerely with a proper sense of respect and responsibility, as service rendered to Christ himself; not with the idea of currying favour with men, but as the servants of Christ conscientiously doing what you believe to be the will of God for you. You may be sure that God will reward a man for good work, irrespectively of whether the man be slave or free (Ephesians 6:5-7)

I’ll tell you what, that is a whole bunch different than what some say the church should be saying today! Tell me, did Jesus Christ ever tell the disciples to organize a picket line, or to boycott a business? Sure, sometimes that seems the correct thing to do, but that is not what we are called to do. We were instructed to:

“As for those who try to make your life a misery, bless them. Don’t curse, bless” (Romans 12:14, Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:21)

That may be different than what you want to do, but that is the “Higher” standard we are called to follow! When the Church is faithful to being a witness to our Savior, it will change the whole fabric of our societies. One of the famous books of all time is “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” by Edward Gibbon. Gibbon shows what happened to that mighty empire and how its disintegration came from within. Winston Churchill felt this was so descriptive; he memorized the whole book. Concerning the Roman Empire, Gibbons wrote:

While that great body was invaded by open violence or undermined by slow decay, a pure and humble religion gently insinuated itself into the minds of men, grew up in silence and obscurity, derived new vigor from the opposition, and finally erected the triumphant banner of the cross on the ruins of the capital.

On the other hand, whenever the church was at its weakest and most powerless it is because it ignored the message of Jesus as Christ and turned to worldly efforts to resolve human misery. There is a popular book that advocates having designer coffee and comfortable chairs, and to never present a contentious or “mean spirited” message. I’ll warn you, folks, this is when your voice is not heard and eventually despised and ignored. You must make a stand on presenting the Truth, whether it offends or brings healing. In his book, “History of the World,” Will Durant compares how both Caesar and Christ influenced the world. Of Jesus, he says:

The revolution he sought was a far deeper one, without which reforms could be only superficial and transitory. If he could cleanse the human heart of selfish desire, cruelty, and lust, utopia would come of itself and all those institutions that rise out of human greed and violence and the consequent need for the law would disappear. Since this would be the most profound of all revolutions, beside which all others would be mere coup d’états of class ousting class and exploiting in its turn, Christ was, in this spiritual sense, the greatest revolutionist in history.

We are living in a very revolutionary age. The winds of change are blowing everywhere in our world. All of the nations are seething with lawlessness and rebellion. Should Christians compromise their message and be content with doing what any worldling can do? Are we expected to become nothing more than another political action group? God forbid!

Paul instructs us to heed our calling, To renew our commitment to our Lord and, as one writer declares:

“Become individually responsible to tell this radical, revolutionary, life-transforming, life-changing good news throughout society; That we should invade commercial and industrial life, education and learning, the arts and family life, morals and government with this tremendous, unequaled message.”

Ask any Christian what the greatest thing that ever happened in their life is, and without hesitation, they will say, “When I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior!” Then ask them, “What is the greatest thing you can tell someone?” How to come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!

Christians should never witness out of arrogance and rudeness; never possess a holier-than-thou smugness; never hold any sanctimonious presumption, and indeed, never ignore the continual background of ugly church fights. But rather, as Paul says:

Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another (Ephesians 4:2-3)

As God’s prisoner, then, I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling. (Ephesians 4:1)

Prayer:

Oh, Father, I am asking that these words will ring in our ears when so much is being said to contradict it. Open our eyes so we can see that the only impact we can have in this world is when we are faithful to your Gospel. Show us how to demonstrate a dynamic faith that no other group can. Lord, our prayer is that we can keep our life in perspective and hold Truth in focus and remain faithful. Amen.

Nickolas
Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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This entry was posted in A Life of Prayer, A Perfect Heart, A Time of Elightenment, Daily Thoughts, Ephesians. Bookmark the permalink.

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