Most Excellent!

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. (Ps 16:3 ESV)

God's people are the best people in the world! I love the Church and I love God's people. I have not just been joined to Jesus, but I have become a part of a people — The people of God.

How do you see the Church? What is your impression of God's people? Do you see all the divisions, the controversies, and the problems... or like Abraham have you been captivated by the vision of the city whose architect and builder are God, the new Jerusalem, a beautiful bride for the King of Glory?

When you spot problems and difficulties (and no-one is denying they are there) how do you address them? Do you go straight for the jugular pulling no punches, convinced that you have the heart of God for the issue.... or like Paul when he wrote to the Corinthians, have you caught the greater heart of God for his Church, so that inspite of it all you can still say "I give thanks to my God always for you" (1 Co 1:4)

God loves his Church! He is passionate about her. He sent his son to die for her. She is Christ's glorious inheritance. She is the joy for which Jesus spurned the shame of the cross. How can we claim to have the heart of God, if we are derisory about his bride?

I think I mentioned how stirred I was by listening to Richard Anniss's word recently [You really need to listen to it!] Part of the heart of God that Richard communicated was that "Our 'I' has to become 'We' and our 'Me' has to become 'Us'" Part of the outworking of this, I believe, is in the area of our confession. We need to take the Godly principles we have learned about the importance of our words as they relate to 'my' life and apply them to how we talk about 'Us' — the church. Those of us who would not dream of confessing anything negative over our own bodies... how can we make such confessions about the body of Christ?! We who would never consider speaking anything that dishonoured our wives... why should we feel at liberty to say such things about Christ's bride?!

I'm not the world's greatest councillor, but one thing I have noticed: when Christians talk about what's wrong in their lives, and start to talk about "the church" as something separate to themselves — a "them" rather than an "us" — alarm bells start ringing! We are not an isolated observer passing comment on something other to ourselves, when we say bad things about "the church", we condemn ourselves with our own words!

Let us line up our confession with what God says about his Church. Not because we have our heads in the sand, but because we have our gaze fixed in heaven.


Ricky Carvel said...

Bodacious dude!

These thoughts are very similar to something that has been playing in my mind for a while now. It seems to me that little bits of the church (both persons and individual 'churches') often have a very negative opinion of other parts of the church - yet we are one body.

I do take offence if somebody comments on the flabby bits of my body, so why do I let it go (or even join in) if somebody criticises 'flabby' bits of the church?

I am reminded of a survey I read about a few years ago (I don't have the details to hand, so I won't attempt to quote statistics) - a large number of 'believers' were questioned about their faith and the faith of others. It was astounding how many people believed that they had come to faith through valid reasons (considering the evidence, personal experience, personal revelation, etc.) but who then went on to assume that most other people who call themselves Christians were simply going through the motions (i.e. were just doing what they had been raised to do and hadn't considered anything for themselves) and therefore weren't real believers.

I used to go to a Baptist church and one of the reasons I eventually left was the implicit attitude of we're doing this properly, the rest of the (global) 'church' have got quite a lot of it wrong... There's going to be a lot more folk in heaven than just the Baptists of the world!

The diversity of tradition, prectice and doctrine in the church (global, that is) is amazing. The more I think about it, the more amazed I am that God lets each of us find a bit where we 'fit' - he doesn't prescribe one style of prayer or worship, but accepts a wide spectrum of different worship styles. In fact, I truly believe that he rejoices in the diversity of his (excellent) people.

Matthew said...

Ephesians 4:13 tells us that unity of the faith is where we the Universal Church are going. I agree with Ricky about the celebration of diversity as God is displaying his multicoloured wisdom through the Church, but none of our positions should become so entrenched that we cannot move on as further revelation (from the Word) comes. If Eph 4:13 is true, then either one day everyone will believe exacty what I believe or (a little more likely) we all need to repsond to the further light that continues to flow from God's word!

Gavin White said...

Just clarify on my last comment - of course, we are a 'Christ Centred' Church made up of individual believers who together express their devotion and worship to King Jesus. We are a covenant community, a family of faith filled, spirit led believers called to proclaim and reflect the Kingdom of God in all we do.