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Sep 07, 2020 08:00am
This is How a Church Should Actually Function
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We are commanded by Christ to “make disciples,” but somewhere along the way, making disciples became counting converts to some.  

The fervor and excitement of seeing people saved caused churches to be haphazard with what happened to the new convert once he or she accepted Christ.  Those who made this mistake are reaping the sad results of today.  Because disciples were not being developed, leaders were not being reproduced. 

Evangelism is the doorway to the life of discipleship and every church needs to make sure that there is a clear, easy process of how discipleship takes place.  This is probably best demonstrated in what some refer to as the “electronic” church available to many to make it easier for the consumer of the Christian “product.”

These TV/media churches allow individuals to go to church by themselves all alone. There is no involvement except maybe a financial one, no opportunity to serve others, no church ordinances, no fellowship, no pastoral care, and no consistent Biblical teaching.  

This phenomenon yields a highly privatized understanding of what it means to be a Christian.  If we’re not careful, the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer turns into the “autonomous self” which is an acceptance of human spirituality. “I speak” instead of biblical spirituality, or “God speaks.” 

In other words, individuals gain access to the spiritual on their own terms, in their own time, in their own way, for their own benefit.  The individual begins to define his own reality, but defining reality is a divine prerogative reserved only for God!

Before “amen”ing how wrong it is for an individual to set himself up as lord of their own lives, we must ask ourselves if we are more concerned about our personal preferences and agendas than we are the Word of God. Do we elevate our opinions or traditions over the Word of God? 

We have preached against churches that openly declare that they have two foundations (i.e. Roman Catholic) from which the church receives revelation.  They constantly have to decide which is the most authoritative, and Scripture is silenced when it does not agree with those who are in control of the church’s policy making.  This is a belief in the authority of scripture but it is those in authority who decide to place a “gag” over the mouth of Scripture, as Martin Luther put it.

They did not oppose biblical inspiration but their practice was elevated over the Bible’s authority.  

A church cannot function in a healthy manner if it does not place itself under the Bible as its sole authority.  

It is the binding and authoritative guide for every belief and practice.  We cannot claim to believe the Bible’s authority if we set it aside to build the church in our own way.  There are many examples of traditions that we have elevated over the Bible.  It is interesting how we have preached that the church is not a building. The word church is always used in the New Testament to mean people, never  buildings or administrative structures, but we almost always think of church as what is going on in the building.  

Those who say they desire to be “spiritual” but are not interested in church are misled.  The biblical norm of God’s people was not to stay away from the worship meetings (Hebrews 10:25). We must remember that God’s presence and blessing not only came in private moments but also when they had gathered together to worship. 

Don’t forget that a church can meet under a tree, in a cave , in a home, or in an apartment building.  Churchless Christianity has nothing to do with biblical Christianity but neither does a church that has a wonderful building but is not honoring, reflecting, and proclaiming who God is and what he has done in Christ.  

We are commanded by Christ to “make disciples,” but somewhere along the way, making disciples became counting converts to some.  

The fervor and excitement of seeing people saved caused churches to be haphazard with what happened to the new convert once he or she accepted Christ.  Those who made this mistake are reaping the sad results of today.  Because disciples were not being developed, leaders were not being reproduced. 

Evangelism is the doorway to the life of discipleship and every church needs to make sure that there is a clear, easy process of how discipleship takes place.  This is probably best demonstrated in what some refer to as the “electronic” church available to many to make it easier for the consumer of the Christian “product.”

These TV/media churches allow individuals to go to church by themselves all alone. There is no involvement except maybe a financial one, no opportunity to serve others, no church ordinances, no fellowship, no pastoral care, and no consistent Biblical teaching.  

This phenomenon yields a highly privatized understanding of what it means to be a Christian.  If we’re not careful, the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer turns into the “autonomous self” which is an acceptance of human spirituality. “I speak” instead of biblical spirituality, or “God speaks.” 

In other words, individuals gain access to the spiritual on their own terms, in their own time, in their own way, for their own benefit.  The individual begins to define his own reality, but defining reality is a divine prerogative reserved only for God!

Before “amen”ing how wrong it is for an individual to set himself up as lord of their own lives, we must ask ourselves if we are more concerned about our personal preferences and agendas than we are the Word of God. Do we elevate our opinions or traditions over the Word of God? 

We have preached against churches that openly declare that they have two foundations (i.e. Roman Catholic) from which the church receives revelation.  They constantly have to decide which is the most authoritative, and Scripture is silenced when it does not agree with those who are in control of the church’s policy making.  This is a belief in the authority of scripture but it is those in authority who decide to place a “gag” over the mouth of Scripture, as Martin Luther put it.

They did not oppose biblical inspiration but their practice was elevated over the Bible’s authority.  

A church cannot function in a healthy manner if it does not place itself under the Bible as its sole authority.  

It is the binding and authoritative guide for every belief and practice.  We cannot claim to believe the Bible’s authority if we set it aside to build the church in our own way.  There are many examples of traditions that we have elevated over the Bible.  It is interesting how we have preached that the church is not a building. The word church is always used in the New Testament to mean people, never  buildings or administrative structures, but we almost always think of church as what is going on in the building.  

Those who say they desire to be “spiritual” but are not interested in church are misled.  The biblical norm of God’s people was not to stay away from the worship meetings (Hebrews 10:25). We must remember that God’s presence and blessing not only came in private moments but also when they had gathered together to worship. 

Don’t forget that a church can meet under a tree, in a cave , in a home, or in an apartment building.  Churchless Christianity has nothing to do with biblical Christianity but neither does a church that has a wonderful building but is not honoring, reflecting, and proclaiming who God is and what he has done in Christ.  

Has “doing church” become more about structures, programs, management, advertising, and having services than making disciples? 

Have we become preoccupied with the machine instead of focusing on being who we are supposed to be and reaching our neighbors for Christ?  

Who we are is far more important than what we do because character is more important than how competent we are in keeping the orginization finely tuned. 

A healthy church builds disciples who understand the importance of being who God wants them to be, whether worshipping with other believers, on the ball field, or at our places of employment! 

Have we become preoccupied with the machine instead of focusing on being who we are supposed to be and reaching our neighbors for Christ?  

Who we are is far more important than what we do because character is more important than how competent we are in keeping the orginization finely tuned. 

A healthy church builds disciples who understand the importance of being who God wants them to be, whether worshipping with other believers, on the ball field, or at our places of employment! 

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