LifeLink Devotions (click link for audio blog)
Monday, November 15, 2021
A church and a nightclub were situated on the same block in an average size city. The nightclub owned a parrot that was part of one of the acts, and the parrot lived in the rafters of the club. One Saturday night there was a fire at the club and the bird flew outside to seek other shelter. Finding an opening in the attic vent of the church, he flew in and roosted on a beam over the sanctuary. He was awakened on Sunday morning by a crowd of people entering the church, and as the service began he chirped, “New MC.” Spotting the choir he chimed, “New chorus girls.” Then looking over the congregation he loudly squawked, “Same old crowd!“
For the past few weeks we have been doing a devotional study of the REAL church in the book of Acts. In the building of a spiritually healthy church there must be some quality control. One area that needs attention is that of personal holiness. There is a huge contrast between the church of the New Testament and the church of modern society in the area of personal holiness. Let’s look at how a spiritually healthy church is defined in Ephesians 2:19-22.
Ephesians 2:19-22 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
There are four characteristics of a spiritually healthy church listed here by the Apostle Paul:
1. Equality with no discrimination (fellow citizens)
2. Unity based on equal need of salvation and equal faith in the Savior (Jesus is the chief cornerstone)
3. Holiness as a product of being united in Christ (rises to become a holy temple in the Lord)
4. Purpose – to become a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit (a dwelling in which God lives)
Compare that to many churches today and you immediately see some discrepancies. People are not treated equally, but divisions based on social, political, or financial status are commonplace. Unity is based on common goals rather than on a common past. The people have lost a desire for holiness because the church is not viewed as the dwelling place of God but rather the means to a desirable end. Church for the average person has become a justifier of sinful behavior and a protector of a social image. My heart cries when I think of the number of lost people being deceived by Satan into believing that they have met the requirements for eternal life when in fact they are in the bondage of eternal death.
The Word of God is very clear – the church is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit where God’s holy presence can dwell in glory, and we as individual parts of the church are responsible to be a growing part of that holiness. In fact, as you read today’s verses, you will see that holiness is a proof of a real relationship with Christ. The Holy Spirit says, “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” Because we are joined together with Christ, we will rise to become a holy temple. This is not optional: this is the actual response of anyone who is connected to Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit.
The first test of spiritual health in a church and in a person’s life is this: How do we react and respond to sin in our life? Is it tolerated or terminated? Is it rationalized or removed? We must ask ourselves these tough questions and let the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit bring us to a point of repentance. We are joined together in Christ, and we are to be rising together as a holy temple in Christ. May it not be said of any one of us that we are responsible for quenching the glory of God in our church because we choose to continue in sin.