The ailing church did not get that way overnight, and a review of the basics of Christianity is sometimes necessary to help it.
- Jesus is Lord.
“Confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” (Rom. 10:9).
It’s not confessing Jesus as Lord that is the problem; it’s living it out in our daily lives. Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I command?” (Luke 6:46).
We call Him “Lord” but go our own ways, and then have the audacity to say we are Christians.
James said, “I will show you my faith by my works” (2:18). What do your works say of your faith?
- The church belongs to Jesus.
Scriptures like Matthew 16:18, Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 5:25 drive this point home.
Many unhealthy churches are afflicted by members — some of them in leadership — who think the church belongs to them. It’s Jesus’ church, and He wants it back.
Whatever you do for the church (or to it), Jesus takes personally. Bless the church, and you are blessing Jesus. Hurt the church — attack it, divide it, weaken it, withdraw from it — and you have hurt the Lord Himself. (See Matt. 25:40, 45; Heb. 6:10; and Acts 22:7–8.)
- Love is something you do.
In our flesh, we love the people who are lovely, but this is not Christian love. (See Matt. 5:43–48 and Luke 6:27–38).
In every case in Scripture where we are commanded to love (God, our neighbor, one another, etc.), what the Lord is requiring is not a feeling but action.
- If you do not like change, you will have trouble with Jesus.
To live is to grow, and growth is all about change. “But we all …beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).
The problem is we like things the way they’ve always been. The Lord understands this facet of the human personality, but He does not give in to it. Neither should church leaders.
- Christian strength and unity are found in submission.
To submit means to give in to another. Unless the issue is a deal-breaker with key issues at stake, the stronger gives in to the weaker.
Don’t miss that. Only the strong can give in. The weak one will dig his heels in and refuse to budge. It takes strength to humble oneself and great strength to submit to one weaker than oneself.
“… In lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil. 2:3).
This is what servants do. Anyone want to be a servant?
By Joe McKeever