The New Church

Philippians 1:1-10

We have been studying the first 10 verses of Philippians for this past week. You can find some of the insights gained and shared on the forum here. Others from around the country are participating in the study by adding their comments. You are invited to participate by posting your comments also.

What the blog world and this type of sharing has done is open for me another illustration of what the church is supposed to be–how it should function. We are all members of the Body of Christ with a particular and unique function. If one part of the body does not function properly, the body is deficient in that area. Paul addresses this plainly in his first letter to the Corinthian church, 12:12-27.

When we come together in most of today’s church meetings, it is mostly a spectator situation.

Pay close attention to the similarity of the following two words: spectator and spectacle.

Our spectator attitude has given way to needing spectacle to keep us involved. The larger the church, the greater the show. This may be what many desire, or think they need; but it is not for me.

I do not gather with the saints to be entertained.

I gather with the saints to be involved.

You might say, “That’s fine for you, Dale. You’re a teacher. So, of course you are going to be involved.”

No. The invovlement I am talking about is having everyone involved in some way, some form, some capacity. I am never satisfied if I am the only one who is funtioning.

Paul wrote further in the afore-mentioned letter that each one should have a “hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.” (14:26) This cannot happen in our modern church of the one-man show. Neither should it be, though, a three-ring circus.

But, if we do not begin to move in the direction of a more open church, the one-man show will soon be replaced by the one-world church; and the true people of God will not be visible.

Blogging has enabled me to hear “every word of God” by which I am to live (Matthew 4:4). Blogging has given a voice to many who otherwise would not be heard. This has not, and will not, replace the local gathering of the saints.

But, I sure am enjoying this particular aspect of the new expression of the Bodyof Christ.

NOTE: Immediately after posting the above, I went ‘surfing’ by clicking on one of the hyperlinked tags at the bottom of this post. I found this, and was amazed how well it fit. I’ve copied it from the blog and added it below, but here is the link.

A Bible teacher gave a summary of Christian history’s movement in a class to beginning students:

“Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it then came to America and became an enterprise; an enterprise–that’s a business.”

After a few moments a young lady, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand, asking a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?”

When the teacher said, “Yes,” the girl continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The answer is yes; American professing Christendom is a prostitute, and any professing Christian, church, or organization that uses the message or the body for financial gain is guilty and will prove to be false.

But not the true church of Jesus Christ, who is continually becoming a holy bride, preparing for her Bridegroom. Don’t confuse the two- the true body of Jesus Christ is not Christendom.

Back At It!

Thanks for staying with this.

We are back from our trip. It was basically uneventful, except for the the night we were getting into town. Freezing rain began to settle into SW MO, which made driving rather difficult. We were getting there just after dark, so the bridges were freezing. Made it without incident.

Then came the hard work of trying to load heavy tools onto an ice-covered trailer bed. What fun! I’m pushing, but only my feet were moving. I was essentially dancing with a five-foot tall drill press. Made for some interesting video, that, thankfully, we didn’t get.

Now, we are back in PA. The trailer is unloaded, and the borrowed vehicle is returned. Our daughter-in-law let us use her Ford Expedition for the week. It was great for the trip and is a workhorse.

Timber, our dog, enjoyed the long hours on the road. She travels well. She is always excited to get out and check out the new smells at every stop. She gets out of the car and immediately sticks her nose to the ground and takes off. Doesn’t even look up to see other dogs.

Hopefully, I can get back into taking care of the blog. I have the Blogged Bible Study for this week, which is John 21. It will be the last post for that study. I was blessed to be a part of that group of people who have such a heart for the Lord. I am still a part, still visit their blogs as I was doing before I was invited to share, and they are still connected. We just won’t be doing a disciplined study at this time.

Many are trying to get me to be an active part of FaceBook, but as of yet, I cannot see the value in it. I have a profile up, and have ‘friends’ who have linked. But, it appears to me that the goal is to get more ‘friends’ than anyone else. There doesn’t seem to be any real purpose to the “social networking” sites. I can post the same entries on this blog that I can post on FaceBook. Maybe someone reading this can enlighten me further.

EVERY Word From God

Mt 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.    KJV

Satan tried to tempt Jesus with His apparent need for food and the lack of any sustenance out in the desert.

Had that been me, I would probably have looked at the rocks, seen that they were shaped like loaves of bread, and fell for the temptation.

But Jesus saw much deeper than His immediate need. He saw His need to only do what He saw the Father do; to only say what He heard the Father say. That was an overriding principle in His entire life:

Jn 5:19
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Jn 12:50
…whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.      KJV

Notice the detail of what He said. It is not enough that we live by the word of God. We must live by EVERY word that comes from God.

There are at least three ways that I need to be able to hear from God so that I get every word.

The first place we begin, of course, is the Bible–also known as the Word of God.

I am constantly amazed by the number of church-going, bible-believing Christians who do not know the Bible. I am not talking about knowing, or believing my particular position on a subject. I’m speaking of the basics. People do not know the books of the Bible. They do not know who wrote the Gospels. They don’t know how many gospel accounts there are. They do not know the story of Paul’s conversion.

Basic stuff!!!

This only tells me that they are not spending time in the Word.

We begin to hear from the Lord as we spend time in His Word.

The second place we get every word that comes from God is in our personal prayer time with the Lord.

In order to do this, prayer must not be something like we run into the room, say “Hi,” spout off our requests, say “Bye” and leave.

No.

We must take time to listen. That seems to be a major challenge for the wired generation.

Thirdly, we hear from God through others.

I thank God for the fellowship of believers. I love the church. But, often, others are not aware that they have heard from the Lord on something, and I need to hear those words, too. (I know that this is often the failure of the local church itself as the pastor does not make room for others, but that is for a different topic of discussion.)

Blogging has increased our ability to hear from the Lord. I get to hear what God is saying to others, and my faith is built up, my desire is increased, my awareness is heightened.

Blogging will not replace nor supplant the need for the local church, but it certainly is providing a means for many who do not yet have a church where they feel at home.

How has blogging–whether you write or just read–affected your walk with the Lord?