Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
Building a Great Church
by Erik Momsen
I believe in the church. Even as you hear me say this some might find it strange. We believe in God and the many things He has taught us, but many Christians do not believe or have a high regard for the church. Perhaps this is because the visible church makes lots of mistakes, is a very poor reflection of what Jesus will still do with her, and because the enemy has attacked her relentlessly for thousands of years.
As I thought about the Church and the Church I’d like to be part of and build, I came up with a list of characteristics of the perfect church:
Friendly - accepting of all because the grace of God lives in us.
Honest about who we are - confident in Christ but filled with His mercy.
True - God is great and good - you're a sinner but God loves you through Jesus.
Real - we're in a battle with personal and institutional sin that makes the world suck, but God will win.
Wide eyed - we have an enemy, but greater is the Spirit of the living God.
Creative - church can get very boring if we don’t watch it.
It then struck me that this list was all about us and not God. Most of the time we think the church exists for us. Teach me, counsel me, look after my needs and the needs of my children.
The church exists for God. For His purposes and to worship Him. I was also reminded that Jesus said He would build His church.
STOP, STOP .... WHAT IS THE CHURCH???
This is an answer that could fill bookshelves, but it is firstly the gathering of God’s people to hear Him speak to them (see Moses in the desert). It is then, according to the Greek word, a gathering of people who have heard the trumpet call and gather to rule the city. It is at the same time the gathering of God’s people who praise Him for all He has done for them. It is He who calls, gathers, saves and builds His Kingdom.
When I say I believe in the church I mean many things:
1) I believe Jesus loves and values His church greatly.
"Be shepherds of the Church of God which he bought with his own blood." (Acts 20:28)
If Jesus loves his Church then we had better do likewise.
2) I believe the church will win.
We often get the impression that the doors of the church are closing around the world. This is perhaps just the Gardener pruning the vine that does not bear fruit (John 15).
"You are the Christ the Son of the Living God” ... Jesus replied, “Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not reveal to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:16-18)
The clear proclamation of Jesus' Lordship over all things will result in evil being driven out. Jesus promises to build His church on earth and its influence will continue to extend.
3) The Church is Jesus’ agency on earth to continue His work.
Believers are described as salt, light and the Body of Christ. Individual parts of the body might lose their effectiveness and have to be tossed out, but Jesus will get the job done through His Body the Church.
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27
4) You cannot stop the church.
Gamaliel’s words still ring true: "Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." Acts 5:38,39
5) I believe there is only one Church with many branches.
Some branches are vibrant with fruit while other parts are drying up. I believe God is restoring the church of the city where the only thing that matters is your relationship with God and other people.
6) I believe the church is a house of prayer - if not this then nothing else.
This message is a call to all those believers who have lost their belief in the Church. The early believers found this one issue so important that they included it in their statements of faith (Nicene, Apostles', Athenasian creeds). Without this aspect of faith you will be less than effective and in fact out of the will of God. It is God’s will for you to love His church as He does - with all it’s failings and be part of the building of the Kingdom. It is my prayer that thousands will return to the church and become His hands and feet and mouth. Let forgiveness and mercy flow.
7) The church is the only institution I can think of that will continue when:
"The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." 2 Peter 3:10 - 13
To be sure, it has great weaknesses but Jesus promised that he would present the church to himself pure and spotless without blemish.
HOUSE OF PRAYER
I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
IT WILL WIN
IT IS UNIVERSAL
NOT MADE BY HUMAN HANDS
NOT RESTRICTED TO THE VISIBLE
Date Added: 2013-05-30