LifeLink Devotions (Click for Audio Blog)
Friday, February 25, 2022
Not all churches understand unity. Many have never experienced it. Like the church I read about this morning. The Pastor had presented an idea to the Elders several weeks earlier that he believed would facilitate greater spiritual growth and outreach within the church. The Elders met to debate the idea, and the meeting dragged on for hours. They were worn out from arguing. Each side had presented convincing arguments that only seemed to entrench the opposition more deeply in their own defense of their position. Finally it came time to vote, and the results were announced to the congregation the following Sunday. The Elders had voted 6-5 to participate in Unity Sunday.
Unfortunately this scenario describes far too many churches. A firmly entrenched group of long-term “owners” of the ministry seem to run everything. Newcomers are excluded from leadership and are not included in the inner circle of information. They are called foreigners, aliens, and immigrants, but are never accepted as fellow citizens or members of the household. That’s because some churches believe that they get to define their household of faith and get to choose who belongs to it. A few powerful and influential people take power and dictate the direction of the church. Once that happens, it is nearly impossible from a human perspective to ever overthrow their self-appointed reign.
But that’s not how God established the church. Here’s how the church is supposed to operate.
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.
The church is God’s household, and in Christ, everyone, no matter how young or old, rich or poor, powerful or weak, black or white or red or yellow or brown, newcomer or long-time member, is joined together to form a building in which God dwells by His Spirit.
Because God is holy He can only dwell in holiness. Unless the whole building – everyone who calls Jesus Lord and has been washed in His blood for the forgiveness of sins – is joined together it cannot rise to become the holy temple in which God will dwell. Racial prejudice has no place in the church. Preferential treatment for people of a particular heritage is unacceptable to Jesus. Assigned status based on financial solvency is an offense to God. Every member of Jesus Christ is a member of God’s household and is to be accepted, included, and treated as an equal.
I think this story illustrates perfectly what our Scripture passage is saying today:
During Vacation Bible School one year the pastor’s wife had an experience with her primary class that she says she will never forget. Her class was interrupted on Wednesday about an hour before dismissal when a new student was brought in. The little boy had one arm missing, and since the class was almost over, she had no opportunity to learn any of the details about the cause or his state of adjustment. She was very nervous and afraid that one of the other children would comment on his handicap and embarrass him. There was no opportunity to caution them, so she proceeded as carefully as possible. As the class time came to a close, she began to relax. She asked the class to join her in their usual closing ceremony. “Let’s make our churches,” she said. “Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, open the doors and there’s…” The awful truth of her own actions struck her. The very thing she had feared that the children would do, she had done. As she stood there speechless, the little girl sitting next to the boy reached over with her left hand and placed it up to his right hand and said, “Davey, let’s make the church together.”
My friends, let’s make the church together, using every building block God has given us. Together, in unity, we will become the dwelling place of God in all of His glory.