As I prepare to jump back into Marshall Leggett's book Introduction to the Restoration Ideal I want to remind us of a very important truth: we belong to God and what matters most in our lives is His will.
On page 19 Leggett writes:
Then something happened. The church began to lose its purity. The New Testament church penetrated the world, and it seemed that nothing could stop its momentum. No outside force, not even the power of Caesar, could blunt its progress. However, change began to evolve from within. Whereas the New Testament church had penetrated the world, its successors became penetrated by the world. It ceased to be the sect 'spoken against' (Acts 28:22) and became in vogue; not just in the world, but of the world. The church began to leave the plan Jesus had given.
I wonder what Jesus would say to us? If He sent us letters like the letter He sent to the Seven Churches of Revelation what would He write? I would bet that they would contain much of the same things. I think He would praise us for our willingness to stand up for right and wrong, but I think He would condemn us for leaving our first love. I believe He would be upset by the sexual immorality (from pornography to sexual abuse) that we have allowed to infiltrate our churches. I think Jesus would be upset at how much we have grown to be like the world rather than becoming like Him.
We can lose sight of what Jesus Christ has called us to do. Let's face it it is very easy to get distracted by politics, by technology, by church growth techniques, and by the latest Christian fad that the true mission of Jesus to make disciples of all nations can fall by the wayside.
When you couple distractions with an increasing uninterested public all of sudden we are trying to figure out how to keep the crowd rather than worshipping God, and we seek the advice of "experts" rather than seeking God's will. What happens is that we begin to look increasingly like the rest of the world rather than the holy nation we were called to be.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God's holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. "Once you were not a people; now you are the people of God. Once you received none of God's mercy; now you have received his mercy." Dear brothers and sisters, you are foreigners and aliens here. So I warn you to keep away from evil desires because they fight against your very souls. Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world (1 Peter 2:9-12; NLT).
What God desires from us, more than a religion that is in vogue with the population and more than political agendas, are people who are wholly devoted to Him. People willing to live differently than the rest of the world, Churches willing to extend a helping hand to people, and Christians who give their passions, time, and money so that disciples are made of all nations.
I want to challenge you today to stop and take a look at your life and your church. Ask yourself, "What would Jesus say to me?" Take some time to pray asking God to show You His desire for your life and church. Consider if what you think is important is the same thing God knows is important.
The only way to be where God wants us to be, the only way we can remain pure, is to give ourselves to what God has commanded us to do. This requires us to understand what He has revealed about Himself in the Bible and trusting Him to show us where we need to be. We can be the People God wants us to be. It begins with out willingness to do things God's way rather than our way.