In my last article, I talked about the need for the church to go back to its apostolic roots. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church that Jesus builds (see Matthew 16:18). No such promise is made for the church that man builds. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it.”
For too long, man has been building the church using man-made methods and religious systems. We have allowed the spirit of the world to prevail in the church. It is time to divorce ourselves from the spirit of the world.
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”
New wine demands a new wineskin. Over the last several centuries, God has been restoring various truths and revelations to the church. But we have taken these fresh revelations from God and tried to institute them in a system that is built by man. We have taken the new wine and put it into an old wineskin.
It is time for us to examine our current structure of church (wineskin) and compare it to the pattern that is given to us in the Scripture. In each of the next several posts I want to point out a different picture of the church that is given in the New Testament.
“So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.”
-Ephesians 2:19 (NLT)
The church is a family. When Jesus taught us to pray he started by saying “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9). We are linked together by a common Father and we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
What does it mean that we are a family?
And yes, conflict. Hence, the need to forgive each other as Christ has forgiven us (see Ephesians 4:32). Maybe we do not want the true feel of a family in the church because we want to avoid the potential conflict and hurt that can come from intimacy. Even so, the apostolic church described in the Bible is a family.
What does this look like? I am not exactly sure. But I have a feeling it looks a lot different than spending an hour being entertained by great music and an inspiring message every Sunday.
It looks like truly getting to know our brothers and sisters and carrying each other’s burdens. It looks like breaking bread together. Praying together. Laughing together. Crying together. The key word is “together.”
The church is a family and we must begin to act like a family. We have the Father’s DNA and we are to carry out His purpose and display His nature.
We have turned the church into an organization. We have turned church into an event. Programs are prioritized above people. There is little sense of community and little sense of intimacy. Much of the current way that we do church is not conducive to genuine relationships. We must move away from an event-driven and program-packed church structure and into one that is conducive to the development of a true family.