Summary: Some ideas of how the church SHOULD be.
“The Problem with Churches”
October 20, 2009
“I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea."
"Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:9-20
The seven last sermons I preached have been in the book of Revelation. Are you tired of it yet? This book is also known as the “Revelation on Jesus Christ to John the Beloved”. Jesus wanted to reveal some things to His people. So He used His old servant that He loved so much, John, to speak to us.
We have been studying the seven Churches. Jesus found something good in each of them and each of them had some unique problems. This morning I want to go back and take another look at the church. In particular, I want to take a look at the problems in the church.
The “Problem with Churches” – that’s an easy one isn’t it? The problem with churches is people. People are so flawed and frail and obstinate and ornery and lazy and selfish and – I could go on and on. But the church IS the people. The church isn’t a building. It isn’t something made of wood and stone. The church is people. The dictionary defines it like this:
1. The whole body of Christian believers;
2. A body of Christians worshipping in a particular building or constituting one congregation.
The Bible defines it like this:
“,,, his body, which is the church.” Colossians 1:24
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”
I think it is important to realize that the Church is the ‘body’ of Christ. It isn’t a building – as illustrated by this Scripture:
“The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.” 1 Corinthians 16:19
Did you notice that “the church’ met in a house? The house or the building wasn’t the church. The Church is people. The church is the ‘body’ of Christ. And if the Church is Jesus’ body – that means we are His hands and feet and heart. We do the things a body ought to do. We do the will of the head. Who is the head? The Bible says,
“And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church …”
So there is one true church. It is the body of Christ. It is important that you understand that the church is the body of Christ. When I was a young man in the sixties, there was a great movement among the youth to leave the organized church. It was the Jesus movement. They were sometimes called Jesus Freaks. And, at that time in our history, the youth were unhappy with the ‘establishment’. That meant the government and any large organization. It bled over into the church and organized religion. Literally millions of people who profess to be born-again Christians were more or less alienated from the organized church. But the Bible says the church is the body of Christ. When people differentiate between the church and Christ; when they say, “We are going to write off the church but we sure do love and believe in Jesus,” something is seriously wrong. The Church is the body of Christ. You want the head – but not the body? There is something wrong with that.
But the problem is that the church is “people”! And people are such problems. Some are stinky and smelly. Some have stinky and smelly attitudes. Some lie, cheat and steal. Some commit adultery and fornication. Some will betray you and let you down. Some will stab you in the back. And we want to let these people into the church? We want to bring these people into Jesus’ holy body? Yes! Jesus did. He loved them. From Judas to John.