Summary: Spiritual tracks and Gates to the Church
As a church of people in partnership, it is important we hear what God is saying to us as a church and even more important we act on what God is saying to us.
God interrupts what we are doing, and even what He is doing, because God is always looking for a moment to speak into our lives, to call or challenge us. God is always looking for a moment to minister to us.
Samson took the unusual and unnecessary route of finding a wife among the ungodly pagan Philistines. This upset his parents, but all the time God was looking for a moment to deliver His people. Judges 14:4
When Elijah finally stopped in his tracks, after running from Jezebel, he sat under a tree asking to die, but God used this moment to send his ministering angels to feed him. Elijah got to take the next step in His journey. 1 Kings 19
God has a moment today.
“Tracks” and “Gates”
God has interrupted what I have been talking about (the “Extra Mile”) to speak to ECC, this week, about “Tracks and Gates.”
Tracks lead you to a location or away from a location.
Gates are in place as an entrance or an exit.
Pretty simple stuff. However, incredibly significant to us in our ongoing life and journey at ECC.
There are, of course, many roads or tracks/paths that lead to ECC. We have doors but no gates. However, God is not speaking about the natural realm but about the spiritual tracks and gates of ECC.
Well Trodden Paths.
Jeremiah 6:16 This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'
In modern church, with modern methods, there are some paths/tracks we need to stick to.
Of course there are many more ancient paths we must not deviate from. Like a badger. If an obstruction is put in it’s well trodden path, it will either go under or over or around, but it will get back to it ancient path. Proverbs 8:19-21 Micah 4:2
If you have deviated from the paths of the Lord, it’s time to get back on track.
It is the path that is important, not the way you walk along the path. For example, we no longer have to come to church in a suit & tie or a hat to be a good Christian. It’s coming to the house of the Lord that is important, not outer appearance.
Roads/Tracks need Signs & Landmarks
Without signs people have little hope of finding their destination. Without signs people need to ask for directions to their destination.
Each one of us is a signpost to ECC, but only if we are on the right track/road. Otherwise, we lead people astray & become the blind leading the blind.
This, perhaps, is the more important question: Are you on the right track in your journey with the Lord?
The right track is: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Mt 22:37-40
For the sake of the lost people who need Jesus, don’t take the “Half-Hearted Track”, “Luke- Warm Track”or the “Compromising Track.” Keep on the track that is passionate about Jesus and His Church. It may be narrow to walk the path of the Lord but it is not impossible, and more possible when we keep out eyes fix ahead on the Lord. (Matt 7:13-14)
Open & Shut Gates
We must have an open gate to all people, otherwise we become exclusive, bordering on being a cult.
The gates of ECC must be open to everyone regardless of race, gender, religion or sexuality. (John 3:16)
Paul Scandel tells the story of his Gay Hairdresser, “We don’t welcome homosexuals at church. We just welcome people, as there is no category of sinners.”
Of course our message will never change to accommodate sinful life styles or false faiths, but just like Jesus, ECC must be a friend of sinners. (Matt 11:19)
We must have a closed gate to the enemy otherwise satan will mess up the house of God.
The problem is, satan comes in through people, as wolves in sheep clothing, or more often through angry, bitter, resentful christians, or competitive, position- seeking believers. (Matt 7:15)
How do we know when to open & close the gate? How do we know when it’s a sheep or a wolf?