This excerpts the opening chapter to If Everybody Here Were Just Like Me!
The sub-title is “If Everybody Here Were Just Like Me . . . What Kind of Church Would This Church Be?”
Do you wonder what Jesus thinks of the church? I mean it is His church? Does He like what we did with it today? He must have been pleased with much of what happened through the book of Acts – everything was not perfect for sure, but there was little loss of intent or objective. His measures of kingdom expansion seemed to remain with them . . now to the earlier writing:
The sands of time are quickly passing through the hourglass. Even if Jesus does not come soon, our time is still short because this is a dying generation.
We must bend our shoulder to the wheel. It is not over-dramatizing the matter to say:
The world’s hope
Your community’s hope
That of your co-worker
Neighbor and friend…
…Is to be reconciled to God. God has chosen you as a minister of reconciliation. Jesus has called you to a service of reconciliation.
We are bit players or perhaps stagehands on the stage of time and eternity; but even a bit player “plays a bit.” The starring role is already filled and has been well-played. Jesus Christ, God manifest in flesh, paid supreme sacrifice to reclaim you, your co-worker, family member, neighbor and friend from eternity’s pawn shop.
The main part is taken – but wait – the play is not yet ended. God’s plan involves a thing so familiar as to become sadly contemptuous to some – the church. Ask a thousand people to define “church” and diverse definitions will unfold; even among those who attend a church regularly.
One person may point to an architectural masterpiece; ask another about church and one might say, “We have church at 10 A.M. on Sunday.” Ask about church and the answer may be, “I was raised Southern Baptist.” Chamber of Commerce personnel might respond, “We have 227 churches in our city.”
And answers keep coming – church:
Stuff about church! Sort of a rough start here isn’t it? Let’s make it even more complicated.
What distinguishes one church from another, even in congregations holding the same doctrines on almost every meaningful matter? What makes a church a “good” church? Why should people want to call the church you attend their church? Why would someone who visits Sunday want to return?
Some would answer—because this is where people can be saved. Nothing excuses a multitude of bad practices.
Many of the reasons why we call this “home” are based on preference.
A good church has a full schedule.
A good church sings worship choruses.
A good church sings hymns from the red song book.
Good church because it uses drama bits.
Good church because the pastor teaches.
Good church . . . In this regard, good church is what fits my personality and preference.
Good church—The Opinion That Matters
One opinion matters most. What does Jesus consider an outstanding church? If the Lord graded the church I am part of on a scale of 1-10 what would it score? How does Jesus evaluate a local church?
It gives me pause – what matters to God? As the sands of time slip away, time given to “stuff” that Jesus has no passion for are a waste. Majoring in the minors may work for some wacky brand of music – but not in the ministry of reconciliation assigned to us.
Matthew 16:19, Acts 2, and a comparision of Jerusalem with Antioch gives clues to local church greatness. I’ll post more – but if you are interested – If Everybody Here Were Just Like Me . . . take a look at http://truth-publications.com/product/if-everybody-here-were-just-like-me/ As always satisfaction is guaranteeed.
Now – what do you think makes a great church?