Summary: God’s churches are the only real relevant source of help for a broken society.
God’s Glorious Church
Are We Still Relevant?
Woodlawn Baptist Church
February 13, 2005
Do you remember the story of Humpty Dumpty and how it goes?
Humpty dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty dumpty had a great fall
All the King’s horses
And all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again
Poor Humpty had a problem didn’t he? His world was shattered after he had a great fall. He called on the best his world had to offer to address his problem – “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.” We might say today that Humpty had the White House, the Congress, the military, and any other human power or authority you can think of coming to his aid in his brokenness.
But what did he find? Not a one of these human powers could put Humpty Dumpty’s life back together again. You see, what Mr. Dumpty was lacking was a biblically functioning church that was available to help him, because if he had he would not have had to call on the king in the first place.
Now you know as well as I do that it’s one thing when a nursery rhyme character can’t find the help he needs to repair his shattered world, even when his problem is being attended by the highest authorities the culture has to offer. But it’s another thing altogether when real people in the real world that we live in discover that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men – human institutions of power and influence – can’t fix society’s deepest problems and address people’s deepest needs.(1)
This is where the church comes in; because the reality is that the church is the most important institution on earth. The church, and only the church, has been commissioned by the God of heaven to be His representative agency in our age. The church has been given sole authority to unlock the treasures of the spiritual realm, the kingdom of heaven, so that they can be brought to bear on the realities of earth.
In Matthew 6:10, as Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray, He said,
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Did you ever think much about what Jesus was really teaching them? It wasn’t about reciting a simple little prayer or about sounding poetic when we speak to God, and when He prayed and taught the disciples to pray that God’s kingdom would come, He wasn’t just referring to the millennial kingdom which is coming at the end of this age. At the end of this age, at the end of the Great Tribulation, Christ is going to return to earth and establish His kingdom in righteousness and peace when we will rule and reign with Him for 1,000 years. But listen, as great a time as that’s going to be, as wonderful as His righteousness and His peace and His holiness and His justice is going to be, He was trying to get us to realize that the kingdom of God isn’t just about some time in the future. The kingdom of heaven isn’t just some futuristic, dreamy place that we should wish our lives away for. Jesus was praying and teaching us to pray that God’s kingdom be a present reality in our world today.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” today! Not tomorrow, not a thousand years from now, not at the end of the tribulation, but today! Now! Now how is that going to happen? When Jesus came on the scene on the banks of the Jordan River, John the Baptist announced,
“Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
In other words, the kingdom of heaven had drawn near – it was here, at hand, and Christ was the sole authority to conduct kingdom business, but in time He handed that authority over to another. Last week we read in Matthew 16:13-19,
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Ceasarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”