It is a new year, and for most of us that means a time of self-examination and change. But are there things within the church of Christ that need to change? Should this be a time for examination, not only of what we’re eating and how much we are exercising, but also about the direction the Lord’s church is headed? I think so!
The church of Christ in 2012
Here are some of things that I think we, in the Lord’s church, need to think about during this time of self-examination:
1) What are you willing to do to get more people in the pews?
That seems like a “no-brainer,” doesn’t it? You would think the answer should be, “Anything!” And that is one of our biggest problems! There are preachers, teachers, elders, deacons, and members of the Lord’s church who are willing to do “anything” to get people in the pews! We need to be willing to do only what can be done by faith to get people into the pews!
Since faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), things can only be done by faith that come from hearing the Word of God! It is not old-fashioned to want to “speak where the Bible speaks.” There is nothing old-fashioned about “walking by faith” and trusting in God to “give the increase.”
In other words: rock bands, praise teams, and warm-and-fuzzy sermons seem to be sure-fire ways to pack in the crowds. But these are human innovations, the products of man’s logic and reasoning. They are not found in God’s word, therefore they cannot be done by faith! Again, like it or not, you cannot do something by faith that doesn’t come from the Word of God!
So determine to only do what can be done by faith to grow the Lord’s church!
2) Why do you do what you do?
There are far too many people in the Lord’s church who are what I call “traditionally conservative.” They stick with doing the right things, but only because it is tradition. Often, they are even dogmatic about these things, but have no idea the Scriptural reasons for doing them. Unfortunately, these people have raised an entire generation who do not know why their parents did what they did, and so they abandoning their parents’ “traditions.”
We must examine everything, and only hold on to the things that are good, biblical, and right (1 Thessalonians 5:21). But we cannot do that unless we know the Word! Sadly, we have people holding on to things, that should be let go of, because they do not know the Word! And we have others who are letting go of things, that should be held on to, because they do not know the Word! “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
3) Are you a Christian only?
I think denominationalism is one of the greatest threats to the Lord’s church today! First, there is the threat of various denominational doctrines which are constantly seeping into the church. Second, and just as dangerous, is the tendency of many Christians to consider the church of Christ, just another denomination.
We must fight these trends tooth and nail! We must get back to the Bible! We must simply follow Christ! We must simply be Christians! We must simply be His church! Nothing more and nothing less!
I love you and the God who purchased the church with His own blood loves you,