What Does God Want The Church To Be?

What is your idea of the perfect church? Is it one where every singer sings in perfect pitch and harmony? Is it one where every sermon is a biblical masterpiece? Is it one where every elder and deacon carries out his responsibilities without flaw and every member is full of sunshine? Of course you realize that this kind utopian society does not exist this side of heaven. The reality is that the church is a work in progress. Regardless of where it is, who its members are and who is leading it, it is a work in progress.

            Since this is so, what ought the church strive to be? What should be her goals? The best way to answer that question is to ask, “What does God want the church to be?” As we look in the New Testament I believe 4 objectives stand out.

            God wants the church to be the classroom of Christ. Feeling good is great. Having your soul stirred is thrilling. But any church that focuses on feeling and ambience rather than learning of God is failing to be what God wants. This must be at the church’s core if the church is to be God’s church. God seeks to reason with people (Isa.1:18). The early church devoted itself to “the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). This is foundational. How are we to be anything else we are called to be if we don’t learn from God what we must be?

            God wants the church to be the window of Christ. Learning of Christ is a means to an end; it is not the end itself. As the world looks at, or rather, through the church, they should see Christ. Jesus said “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). John says in the next verse that he was talking about his manner of death, his crucifixion. But it surely has an application for the church of all ages in all places. Are we lifting up Christ? Is he our banner? Is our spotlight on him? Is he our message? The world doesn’t simply need to see another social club. The world needs to see Christ.

            God wants the church to be the community of Christ. Some people have the mistaken notion that when they “come to church” that it is a relationship between themselves and God alone. They believe they can walk in, “worship”, and walk out with little or no interaction with others. But that’s not the biblical picture. Get out your concordance and study the “one another” passages of the New Testament and see God’s desire. In fact one of the primary purposes of the assembly itself is to “stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb.10:24-25). We are a community, not isolated pockets of Christianity.

            God wants the church to be the body of Christ. Why is the church the body of Christ (1 Cor.12)? A body is for doing not just being. The Bible says, “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph.4:15-16). Are you “growing up”? Are you “working properly”?

            This is what God wants the church to be. Let’s make sure we want the same thing. Then let’s be about being it.

Brad Fry

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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