There are quite a few believers today that have developed a bad taste for, and even a bitter attitude toward the church of Jesus Christ. Though it is wrong to have such feelings, I can understand why some do. They have been let down by the less than Christian antics that go on in the church. Combine that with the division and lack of power in the church, it can leave saints fed up with the whole “church thing.” No matter how justified a Christian may feel about their bad attitude toward the church, the church is still Christ’s anointed vessel that He left with the commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel.
For many people, the first thought that comes to their minds when they hear the word “church” is of a building with four walls and a steeple with a cross on it. That is what is called a church building, but what is in that building is really what determines if it is a church. The building can be filled with religious people, and not be a real church. It can even be filled with people that proclaim some kind of allegiance to Christ, and still not be a real church. The church, by biblical definition, is a people, a called out people; called out from darkness into His marvelous light. It is a gathering of true born again believers.
You may be surprised to know that the word “church(es)” is found 114 times in the New Testament. The first time the church is mentioned is by Jesus in Mt. 16:18. It is there that Jesus says, “..I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” How it must offend Jesus for any Christian to have a bad attitude against His church that He is still building. If you are in, or were a part of a church that Christ is not allowed to do the building, then I can understand your frustration, but that does not give any Christian a right to be angry with Christ’s church. Be mad at the devil and the religious crowd if you will, but love the church of Jesus Christ.
It was the church that the Lord added to daily; it was the church that great persecution came against; it was the church that prayed unceasing for Peter when he was in prison. There were prophets and teachers in the church; elders were ordained in every church. Paul told the elders from Ephesus to, “feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Did you get that? Jesus purchased the church with His own blood! It was in the church that God set first apostles, second prophets and third teachers. We are to seek to excel in the gifts to edify the church. Christ loves the church and is looking for a glorious church. Jesus is the head of the body, which is the church. The church of the living God is the pillar and ground of the truth. The seven letters John wrote were to the seven churches in Asia. Yes, the church is God’s chosen vessel. “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus,,,” (Eph. 3:21). Jesus is not done with His church yet, and neither should you be.
A few years back we were told by a false prophet named Harold Camping that the Lord was going to come on a certain date. I forgot the date, probably because I paid no attention to it. As you can see, the Lord did not come. This man has been telling Christians for years to leave the churches. If he would be talking about the dead Spirit grieving churches, I couldn’t agree with him more. However, his message is that God is no longer in the church, so you should get out. Now where does he get off saying such a thing? If the church is the body of Christ, and Jesus is the head, how could a real believer leave the church or the body of Christ? Wouldn’t that be like your arm deciding it didn’t want to be a part of your body anymore? You can live without your arm, but your arm cannot live without being attached to your body. If it is the church that the gates of hell will not prevail against, why on earth would I want to leave her? Why would I want to get out there like a stray sheep and subject myself to danger? Like it or not, we are still in the church age. We are still a people that need to assemble together. It only takes two people that come together in the name of the Lord to produce a church. If that was all the bigger the church was – two saints of God – the devil would still not be able to prevail against it. That is because the church is that vessel that Christ ordained to give glory to God. We are not to be angry with the church, and we are not to avoid the church. We are to find the real church, unite with it and give glory to God. We are to love and edify the church.
Saint of God, whether you are one that is frustrated with the church or not, whether you quit going to church or not, be encouraged. One more time the Lord is going to pour out His Spirit on the church. There is yet to be a latter rain that will fall. God is going to bring a distinction between the true and the false church; He is going to baptize His true church with power. There will be an increased love for the brethren and a unity that is of the Spirit.
The Lord has put a vision in my heart a few years ago to believe God and pray for a uniting of the remnant believers all over the state of Wisconsin, and to see the power return to the church, the true church. God will yet, have a church in this generation that will once again be a vessel that will impact our society and bring glory to God. Will you pray with me, will you believe with me? God bless you.