Thursday, November 21, 2013

Saving Christians from a False View of the Church

In Namibia  we   find   a number  of  false views  concerning the  nature   of the church,  and the place of the church in the  life of the believer.

1.   “I do not question  the   beliefs and practises of my church. Into this church I was born and in this church  I  will die.  I am comfortable  here. I do not question my leaders. I accept their teachings  uncritically.”  This view  is very common. It is  often associated with  those who  are ‘pew warmers’  and traditionalists  who  have adopted   the mentality - “ but-we-have-always-done-it- this- way!”  They tend to be  passive, non-interactive, non-thinking  types who only grow upset when their comfortable routines  are upset!

Omajova mushrooms  grow during the rainy season 
2.   "I have been hurt in the church. Therefore, I will never again  entrust myself  to any  church. I believe in God, but I do not believe in the (local) church. Therefore I will do my own thing." This  view also constitutes a fairly big group.  There are undoubtedly  many  casualties  of spiritual abuse in our country, since in Namibia we have a large  group of unruly, undisciplined  churches  which tend  to  grow like  our  large Omajova  mushrooms out of a termite hill – literally overnight!   These  churches are  focussed on  big personalities  rather than on the rule of Christ and His Word  in the church. Man centered  churches ultimately always  hurt people. This is a serious problem  and  it may take years for people to regain their confidence in the local church. The point is that they must regain their confidence in the local church by joining a church where Christ is  loved and  where Christ is preached.  

3.   "The local church  is an optional extra  for me: First  comes my family, then my leisure, then my work  and if there is  time left … the local church! " This group  has many  adherents in  Namibia, and they quickly infect  other church members  with this sort of warped logic. The truth is that Christ  and His church (if it is a Christ centered church)  cannot be divided, any  more than a head may be severed from a body. The man who despises the church despises Christ. This is what people are doing. They are dividing what God has joined together.   Granted, it takes  effort  to  learn what the Scripture teaches  about  the union of  Christ and  His body – but learn we must! We shall perish without the church  on earth.  

I am aware of the fact that there are those who would  insert  many ‘but’s’  into  what I am saying here, and you may of course have  good grounds to disagree.   I want you however  consider the fact that the church  is not your idea  or plan.
It is God’s  idea!  

So, if you disagree,   the best  place to start is not with your own opinions, nor with your denominational  comfort zones.
You need to ask:  “What is  God’s  opinion of the church?”[1].

The church,  in God’s opinion,  is glorious!   Consider then  God’s  view of the church.  He has, after all, the last Word!

1. The glory of the church is seen in her election by God (Eph.  1: 3 - 6). Whatever the Lord God has set His deliberate love upon from "before the foundation of the world" must be surely of supreme importance to Him.
2.  The glory of the church is seen in the great cost with which she was bought. (Eph 1:7; 5:25; 1 Pet 1:18, 19). We often assess the value of an object by what it costs. God bought the church by the blood of His own Son.  (1 Jn 4:9)
3.  The glory of the church is seen in the adoption of her members as children of God (Eph 1:5; Rom 8:15-17 ). Through "adoption", we are assured of our full standing  as legitimate children. God's people are called a " a royal priesthood , a holy nation, a people for His own possession ". (1 Peter 2:9).  God's people are children of the heavenly King!
4.  The glory of the church is seen in her splendid and marvellous inheritance (Eph 1:14, 18; Rom 8:17, 18). As adopted children  the members of the church are heirs to a multitude of blessings. We have eternal life and the hope of living in the eternal presence of God. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee for this.
5.  The glory of the church is seen in the wonderful purpose and central place she has in the plan of God. Through the church God intends to display to the world  the glory of His love and grace (Eph. 1: 6, 14; 2:7; 3:10, 11, 12). The church is at the heart of God’s plan (Eph. 1: 9, 10). Out of the ruins of fallen humanity, God is building a people for Himself . (Eph. 2:15)
6.   The glory of the church is seen in the glory of her head, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col 1:15 - 19). Jesus is supreme above all. He is altogether glorious, and the church (as His body) therefore shares in this glory (Eph. 4:15, 16 5:29, 30). The glory of the church cannot be understood apart from the glory of her head.
7.  The glory of the church may be seen in the fact that she enjoys the personal and powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13,14)
8.  The glory of the church may be seen in her true holiness (Eph. 1:4; 2:21; 5:26, 27). The church is 'separated' from the world for God's glory. It is through holy lives that the saints of God reflect His image (Eph 4:24).
9. The glory of the church may be seen in her nearness and access to God. (Eph 2:13,18; 3:12). No-one, except the church has unrestricted access to God. The church lives in present fellowship with God.
10.The glory of the church may be seen in her spiritual knowledge of all the mysteries of the gospel. (Eph. 1:9; 3:2 - 5). Only the people of God, by faith in Jesus Christ have a true understanding of the things of God. They have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:6) and the anointing of God.  (1 Jn. 2:20,27)

[1] (ADAPTED FROM   : Daniel Wray :" The importance of the local church")

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