Worldview Five: The Importance of the Church

Worldview 5:
The Holy Universal Church is the earthly body of Jesus the Christ and no man or woman is compete, wholly acceptable to God, until they are fully and actively connected to a local body of the Holy Universal Church of Jesus Christ.

A youthful commentator on the CRTV conservative news with a post on their Facebook page hit a few truths surrounded by ignoramus lack of honest information and incorrect Bible quotations. He really did not add to the credibility of CRTV. I deal with a lot of millennials; often their language would have my mother running for a bar of soap to wash those @!%#@ words out of their mouths. They are also into tattoos and body piercings. Now, he was rightfully upset by a “Christian” calling him a non-Christian because of his tattoos (now, if you are reaching for your Bible stay, in the New Testament and our rule book). This sky-rocketed him into a four-minute tirade against Christians, the church, and into righteous indignation punctuated by a half dozen mis- and half-quoted scriptures and totally throwing the baby out with the dirty bath water. It really upsets me when conservatives and Christians fall into the mainline media’s too often used program of making half truths and falsehoods the criteria for an attack on someone.

This angry young man said he “loved Jesus, but hated Christians and the church.” An often repeated phrase that is blastphemous, designed to make you sound spiritual, but not religious.

Now let me play the Devil’s advocate for the angry young Christian with all the tattoos that told the story of his rough and troubled life.

First of all, far too many infantile members of the body of Christ feel a need to be judging harshly every brother and sister with whom they disagree or condemning sinners that our Savior died and rose again to save from their evil lifestyle. The number one job of Christians is to make Jesus and his body, the church, appealing to all categories of sinners, getting them to fall in love with Jesus, making disciples, baptizing, and teaching them. This Great Commission has never been repealed. That includes baking cakes, taking pictures, and making Jesus appealing to homosexuals, illegal immigrants, and people with whom I disagree. Yes, they are sinners; Jesus knew that when he commissioned us.

First round goes to tattoo man.

Now, let’s take a Biblical look at the church, then at Christians—the word means “Belonging to” or “pertaining to Christ.” First of all, the church, or “the called out ones,” is a New Testament organization born on the day of Pentecost in Acts the second chapter. We need to know that Jesus is the builder of the church.

Matthew 16:16, Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.  18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

   Jesus built his church as stated on the day of Pentecost on the truth that he was the Messiah, the Son of God, as related to us in Acts two.  Jesus is the one that adds to the church. Acts 2:47—

  47(THE CHURCH) praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved

Jesus is the head of the church: Colossians 1:15ff, 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

    Jesus loved the church and died, gave himself, for the church. Ephesians 5:25, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Jesus gave himself for a people (CHURCH) of His very own.

Titus 2:13, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

The church meets at least weekly to partake of the Lord’s Supper with each other and with the Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:23ff, 23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

33So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

Four times in the first part of this chapter Paul instructs the church, “As often as you meet, partake of the Lord’s Supper.”

The Lord’s Supper is a special place of fellowship for Christians and their Lord. One can study the Bible by yourself, you can pray alone, and in rare circumstances, I presume you and the Lord can partake of the   Lord’s Supper together; however, it was meant to be fellowship time of the whole body, or the part of the body with you.

Many years ago, Melba and I were touring France together as guests of the Peugeot Motor Company. We flew out of Houston Friday at noon, then New York to Paris that night, were through Customs Saturday morning, and bussed to a 12th century castle (Chateaux) in the Loure Valley. Because of our normal schedule we suffered no jet lag. While everyone else in our group hit the sack for an afternoon nap, we went hiking on the one hundred acre Chateaux grounds. We looked in every direction and found no church for Sunday worship.

We came across a Swan lake in the hills behind the castle. There were beautiful black swans and an equal number of pure white swans. While   we were sitting under a tree watching the swans, a castle employee brought leftover bread to feed the swans; he allowed Melba and I to   help. Returning to our suite of rooms on the fourth floor of the castle we opened the French doors that opened to a veranda sitting porch over-looking the castle grounds; “Here,” I said, “we will have church in the morning.”

We were instructed that breakfast would be served on a three tiered breakfast and coffee table with all breakfast choices; “Just eat to your fill and send the rest back.” We were already on the veranda when the breakfast table was rolled out to us. There was enough food to feed a family. As requested there was grape juice and plenty of bread. After breakfast I opened my Bible to read, we prayed, discussed the meaning to each of us of the bread and the cup, then partook with the Lord. It was a beautiful way to start our ten days of exploring France.

   The church comes together to worship in singing, in fellowship, breaking of bread and for prayers according to Acts 2:42. Jesus loves the Church; he loves fellowshipping with His Church. The Church is the bride of Christ. All through the New Testament, Jesus, Paul, and John refer to Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as the bride. Jesus will come for His bride, the Church, to take them to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15).

As much as the Church is created by Jesus, he loves the Church; he loves the fellowship of the church. He plans to save the Church; however, it has its flaws. The church on earth is made up of sinners saved by grace. Sometimes, those sinners forget the terms of their forgiveness, and like the church lady and our tattooed buddy in the introduction of this worldview, come across condemning fellow Christians. Jesus addressed this in Luke 6:37, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

39He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

41“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

   In case you missed it, the hypocrite we are talking about here is a brother or sister in the family of God. Judging and jumping to conclusions is many a-church’s favorite indoor sport. Jesus was very clear on the subject. If you feel qualified to judge your brother or sister for a sawdust speck in their eye, first get rid of the vega, beam or 8×8 plank in your eye. Note the unkind name calling that Jesus allowed here for the Christian brother or sister that was condemning another’s sawdust speck, while looking around an 8×8 beam in their eye, “you hypocrite.”

We are told to judge, but we are to use the kind of judgment with which we desire to be judged in return. A quoted half verse out of context is a pretext, and just shows your lack of knowledge of the Bible. So, quoting “Judge not, less you be judged” is either just quoting what sounds good, or purposely misusing the Bible to mislead someone.

There is an additional problem. There are many attending church who the Lord has not added; they look like Christians, but are not. They do not have the Holy Spirit, nor the fruits of the Spirit, and are usually an expert about how members of the church should behave. They are locked into the objective case and the kickative mood, with a mouth that is active day and night. Most gossip is traced back to them, and they are majoring in division and multiplying troubles. At times in the past I would point out to our elders certain denominational persons who started to attend Agape were in need of full conversion. No matter what they claimed, their language and moral behavior shouted that they did not have the Holy Spirit or the Fruit of the Spirit. We accept people as they are and gently lead them to what Christ wants in their life. That may include repentance, baptism, or just plain conversion. In the meantime, we will be subject to their non-Christian talk, judgment, and gossip. Since we have no official membership roll, it is not a matter of membership. Since we are an Elder-directed church, we vote as a congregation on nothing.

The question then becomes how will you deal with the non-Christian attenders? Treat them as unborn, in the spiritual womb, babies.  If they start to tell you gossip, whip out your pocket spiral notebook and say, “This sounds important; would you write this in my evidence notebook, date and sign it?” Very shortly, your gossip problem is going to be over.  If bad language is their problem, repeat the cuss word, asking, “Do you realize you just said “@@!”? Soon your bad language will go away one way or another. You can’t ignore them, unless they get worse. And their eternal life depends on you and the church leading them to full conversion.

So, my dear, young, tattooed brother that was slandered most likely by a weak sister or a pretending sister, don’t throw the precious baby out with the dirty bath water. To love and accept Jesus is to make you a Christian, to be a Christian makes you a church member, to be a church member makes you in fellowship with Jesus and God. As hard as you might try, you can’t divorce the terms and be faithful to the Bible. You can’t go swimming by putting your big toe in the pond; you need to do a cannon ball and get all in.

As I tried to communicate with you on the CRTV Facebook site, you have a clear message to millions of tattooed, pierced, and purple-haired with a spiked Mohawk millennials and gen-Xers. One of my 71 grand children and great grandchildren picked up your post, and he being tattoo related, and he being church hurt related, reposted your CRTV rant under his name. He was listening to what you said.

If I can fully accept your full Great Commission love of all sinners as prospects for the gospel and not cherry pick and choose which sinners are worthy of the gospel, if you can accept that my 84 years of experiences and mistakes that gives me an edge in practical know how, we could become a dynamic duo.

This was one of Jesus’ dreams for the church—that we all accept each other as Christian, that the energy and daring of the young women and men would be harmonized with the faithfulness and experience of the older men and women to form a mighty army that loved and accepted each other, all working together. The church is shooting itself in the foot by dividing over music, hair color, tattoos, piercings, walkers, Depends, and wheelchairs; everyone has something to add.

The big losers are the men and women, young women and young men, as well as single families that see themselves as lone rangers seeking to make their way to an unpromised eternity on their own. I don’t want to make a judgment that belongs to Jesus, but I just don’t like those odds.

There are two point six billion Christians in the world today. What if we all read John 17, started working together, and we started faithful church attendance, we all tithed, and put our energy into the group; the synergism of the whole could evangelize the whole world, care for and feed all the hungry, as well as completely care for widows and orphans and so much more in one generation, your millennial generation. That is Jesus’ unfulfilled dream for the church.