14 01 2020

Photo credit to the Amazing_ (7)
What is your church proud of? There are some churches that are very proud of their buildings.  Some churches are proud of their stained-glass windows. Some churches are proud of their innovative programs. Some are proud of their hot worship band while others talk of their award-winning choirs. Too many are much too proud of their wealth and their impressive clientele. A good number will brag about their big numbers. Some are proud of their famous pastor who is huge on social media. Some are proud of being old school while just as many point to the fact that they’re hip and cool. Some are proud of their liturgy while others are much too satisfied with their lethargy. And as Sonny and Cher once sang, “The beat goes on!”

When you look at all of this data, and information, you still must wonder, “What kind of church would God be proud of? If God were to write an article about churches that He would endorse, I must ask us again, what kind of church would show up in His assessment? Scripture does point to what healthy groups of believers look like versus those local bodies that could use a spiritual doctor. One just needs to read the Book of Revelation where in the first few chapters, the Spirit evaluates seven different churches to point out positives and negatives. When will we human beings ever learn that the qualities that earth brags about doesn’t necessarily equate to success in heaven?

I do believe there is way too much pride and not enough authentic praise to God and God alone when it comes to church today? Have you ever been on a sports team where there were tons of talent but it didn’t produce a winning season because egos got in the way? There were ball hogs, stat chasers, players who ignored directions and others who knew only where the cheerleaders were located. In Christianity, there are way too many who call themselves disciples but the goal is selfish and they misuse God to bring attention to themselves. Believers are to be available so the Lord can use them to bring glory to Himself. The Church is at its biblical best when it exists for only One to get the glory and His name is Jesus. We don’t use God to glorify ourselves. We humbly ask God to use us to bring Him all the glory. We are at our best when we are all about Jesus and one another. Scripture challenges us to do absolutely nothing out of selfish ambition. I have a strong conviction that we would make God all the prouder if we would just forget about ourselves, concentrate on Him and be purposefully and passionately selfless.

The church needs to consist of godly teams of people working together. The Lord Jesus Christ says that teamwork is made up of all kinds of gifts, talents, abilities and strengths. Every local church is made up of many different and diverse members and when everyone is moving together in unison to serve Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we operate authentically as one body. Churches should be looking to fight the battle against sin and not be in constant warfare with one another.

What good is a beautiful sanctuary if the saints that inhabit its pews are always at each other’s throats? Do you really think the Lord is pleased by music teams that are looking to sign autographs rather than lift up God? Do programs that prohibit Jesus to shine through because the programmers are too busy taking bows rather than encouraging others to kneel at the foot of the cross really make heaven happy? You say, “Without significant buildings, or programs, or music, or wealth, or size, or famous pastors, or published material, how could a local church be a significant place?” God would answer that question by challenging us to love Him first and love others as ourselves; because by this the watching world would know that we are followers of Jesus! If there is anything that is eternally lasting and good happening in our midst, it’s both from and because of God and God alone. We do our best work and we desire for God to do His best work in and though us. When all hell breaks loose around us, heaven should be breaking loose in holy power within us.

God must be our primary source of life. Only Jesus is the source of amazing grace. Churches may boast in their efforts of dispensing information, but it is only because of the Holy Spirit freely working within us that there is ever going to be transformation. What good is learning the word of God if nobody is intentionally living the truth? What good is it to boast of booming attendance, if nobody within the building is growing in their faith and love?

God isn’t impressed because congregations are greatly enlarged. God created the universe so I doubt He is wowed by buildings and budgets if the Bible is not coming alive within its midst. Who really cares about pipe organs and pianos if the notes are spiritually sour? Make a joyful noise to the Lord and He loves when He hears our lives obediently in tune with Him!

God never, ever evaluates a church by its external features. It’s more about motives than motions. The Lord never evaluates a church for its innovation, its cleverness, its artistry, its political influence, its social prominence, its size or anything else on the outside. It needs to be about breaking the sin barrier and not the size ceiling. A church to be proud of is a church where the people are real, vulnerable, selfless, faithful, giving, growing and living in love with the Lord and one another. If ever there was a time that the church needs to be the church, it is now. Are we a church that God is proud of? I pray that the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”



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