Churches struggle because church members everywhere refuse to take action. Yesterday's lesson talked about the dangers of inaction for the individual, the dangers posed by apathy in the church are just as grave.
The church is God's chosen unit for his mission on earth, what 1 Corinthians calls the "body of Christ." Every Christian plays a role in that body, like an eye or a hand. Just like our physical bodies, the body of Christ is made to maintain and care for itself, so it can be creative, productive, and be a healthy contributor to society.
If churches represent the body of Christ, perhaps you have seen or been apart of an anemic one. Even aside from moral shortcomings, churches everywhere are on there death bed as a result of each Christian failing to fulfil their role as a member of the body of Christ.
Churches suffer from the bystander effect. This is the deadly misconception that somebody else will address a problem, take action, or help someone else when they are in a group. This keeps the individuals who make up the church absolutely ineffective as members of the body. Everyone expects someone else to reach out, serve the poor, evangelize, build gospel centered relationships, disciple a new believer. "Maybe the pastor will do it, he has the gifting's and that's why he is on the payroll." "We have deacons and committees for these kinds of things, I would be overstepping my bounds to help." " God is souveign, he doesn't need me to accomplish a thing, if the Holy Spirit doesn't reach that person without my meddling then it must not be God's will."
These are a collection of terrible excuses that I have heard in my short time in ministry. God has chosen us as his ambassadors. Each person has a role to accomplish, failure to take action is failure in being a healthy part of God's church. Satan, not God, uses Christian's inactivity to accomplish his will in the church.
A missionary has their struggles but their situation gives them a few advantages when taking on any given situation for Christ. 1) They are generally the only Christian for miles. 2) If God puts a situation in front of them, he is obviously choosing them to address it. 3) The missionary trusts that God will equip them to succeed no matter how difficult or strange the situation. 4) The missionary sees this as a daily part of Christian living. This leaves them to pray for God's Holy Spirit to be their guide, to seek comfort and inspiration in his word, and to see the Church as HQ where they have responsibilities rather than Starbucks where they are strictly consumers. Church goers like you and me need to have a higher view of our role. We are Christ's ambassadors. We have a definitely appointed role. If you love your king, show it in your daily life.
"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
1) What would change about your Church if one or two full time missionaries joined your church as members?
2) What if one or two members started acting like missionaries like we are called to as Christ's ambassadors? What would be different?
3) What's your excuse for refusing the work of Christ's service? What ways does your inactivity harm your local church?
4) If you took a walk in God's shoes, what does he see in you that he is lovingly encouraging growth in? He sees it in you, what lies are you believing that you don't see it in yourself?
Author- Aleksandr Trbovich