Monday, November 17, 2008

Spirit of YOUR church

Ahhh finally i have the chance to write.

I have for a while now been absolutely convinced that each church has a spirit (the meaning will be seen later). Being in the process of searching for a good church, my thoughts have been MORE on this subject then normal. Contrary to some of my fellow brethren, I don't give a lot of weight to doctrinal statements and confessions: What i mean is that i don't believe they can accurately define what the church is like.

It's like reading the mission statement for a evangelistic endeavor: they all sound the same. I want to know instead what REALLY DRIVES this church, what can it be defined by. What impression will stick most in the minds of people who visit or who have attended for years.

HOPEFULLY that answer lines UP with their statements, unfortunately that seems to be rare.

I'm going to throw out some thoughts on what could be SOME of these TYPES- so please allow me to throw out a light commentary to the churches in Revelation.

Revelation chapters two and three (Jesus judges these churches, we'll use them as models) As you read them consider what Jesus condemns and what Jesus commends (this would be a wise way to order your church).

Is your church like the: Egghead church (the Ephesians)

Doctrine? you got it! Exposing false teachers? Got it! Good Works? you got it!

Motivated by love? Not QUITE! Let this be CLEAR, Jesus COMMENDS all these points, Jesus DID NOT SAY 'you guys are just too precise, too worried about truth, too worried about false brethren and teachers' NO NO NO; Yet to those who have these things He does say "you've left your first love" Perhaps that is exclusive to Christ or has a wider scope: either way they have let those 'good and profitable' things become their drive, they have become comfortable with dotting every i and crossing every t, yet they've become dry, they've lost their passion, they have OVER-reacted. They are those who are satisfied with just the facts, learning something new, but they've overlooked biblical motive!

Is it like the: Punching bag church (Smyrna)

A church that has despite it's faithfulness, it's passion, it's sound doctrine, has been chosen to endure intense suffering. What message does Christ give this church? ENCOURAGEMENT, "Keep fighting soldiers". THis is a church that has examined ITSELF, it has sought to make sure they have truth and have the right spirit. Perfect? Certainly a Model to follow.

Is it like the; Carebear church (Pergamum)

This church despite it's strong points, refuses to deal with the false teachings circling around it's members. This is a church that doesn't want to be "judgmental" (it's definition of the word), it REFUSES to attack or CONSIDER the effects of such teaching. And so everyone can do as they please, a church that is content to be happily DIVIDED. A church that won't practice CHURCH DISCIPLINE: it's a church FULL of HIPPIE love, the kind that won't take stands ON TRUTH and ON HOLINESS (at least not in the lives of people). It's a church that is filled with people that believe 'good intentions' are enough.

Is it like the: Oprah show church? (Thyatira)
This church is ALLOWING one called Jezebel to teach DESTRUCTIVE heresies because she calls herself a prophetess: This reminds me of past charismatic (NOT ALL) but many that i have been to that are often lead by very mystical women (OH NO you mean WOMEN PASTORS) NO not necessarily. I mean behind the scenes, their may be women who because of their 'intense devotion and their closeness to the throne of God, they can see things the leaders can't' (this REALLY HAPPENS--it's TERRIBLE) so the Leader who has doubts but is ultimately INTIMIDATED by these people, doesn't deal with the problems he sees. Here is a church that is very weak in being consistent, because of it's lack of a standard for faith and practice: that standard being the word of God. Notice that it isn't commended for it's upholding of truth: Yet like many of these churches, they do contain groups of true believers that DESPITE their lack of exposure to SOLID teaching are putting some who know more to shame, they grow in SPITE of their teaching (but let not that EVER lead you to think-that it doesn't MATTER then: that's NOT the critique of Christ--Again they flourish in SPITE of.... We should NEVER expect GOD to work IN SPITE of us).
Is it like the TOP OF THE CHARTS church?
This church has reputation; this church is that church that is on the 'most recommended' list of even many Christians, perhaps it's the church everyone visits when in town, it's the church you hear maybe on the radio. It's a church growing in numbers, growing in size, maybe it's has several sister churches, maybe it's big or it could be small. Maybe it's the church that holds the most conferences. Yet this church is a dead church, it has no substance, it's a lifeless church. Perhaps it's a dead reformed church, a dead non-denom, a dead pentecostal, a dead Lutheran.... who knows, the point is that it THINKS, it PRESUMES it's alive. This HAS to be due to it's pride, whatever it's pride may be in, it's BLINDING this church to it's true CONDITION: somethings missing but no one can quite put their finger on it- well that something is LIFE!
Is it like the Heart of a Fighter church? (Philadelphia)
Not exactly a shoulder above the rest, and perhaps not much noticed by many. Yet this church, despite it's struggles, has REFUSED to GIVE up, THIS church is still STANDING. Despite the pressure, the persecutions, this church taking blow after blow is still fighting. They may indeed be a church that has not been blessed with incredible talents, or an abundance of anointed workers, yet this church has used what it has been given: it's been faithful!
Or is it like the DISNEYWORLD church? (Laodicea)
THis church is FUN, it's COOL, it's MODERN, it's RELEVANT. This is the type of church that has bypassed the BIBLICAL ways of growing the church, as not NEEDFUL: despite it's intentions it HAS bought the lie that JESUS needs a MAKEOVER, the SALVATION can be INFLUENCED by the SAME TRICKS used by the ADVERTISING world. IT's got CHURCH down to a science. This church could be also those churches that have REMOVED the offensive parts of the CROSS, and unknowingly have REMOVED the POWER OF THE GOSPEL. This is the church that has FIRST looked, listened and examined MAN and THEN it's gone to the scriptures with these foggy glasses and found things THAT THE CHURCH THROUGHOUT HISTORY have NEVER SEEN OR DONE!

Without a doubt more, so much more could be said: yet let this suffice to encourage you to test the spirit of the church you lead, or the church you might be looking for. There is so much at stake, the church is GOd's witness and she is His bride!

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