All across the culture and all around the world, we as Christians are prone to cheapen the church in different ways. In our independence, we ignore the church. We are self-reliant, self sufficient people, and the thought of mutual submission, accountability, and interdependence seems foreign, if not frightening, to us. We sometimes pride ourselves on independence from the church...We're fixated on what works, and if something doesn't seem to work according to our standards of success, then it must not be right. Oftentimes, with the best motives, we do whatever it takes to attract as many people as possible to the church. Almost unknowingly, however, we subtly compromise God's Word in our efforts to supposedly reach the world. As we draw people into church, we end up polluting the very church we are drawing them into...Instead of cheapening the church, we need to recover a cherishing of the church. Over and above the cultural tides and church traditions that dominate our contemporary thinking, we need to ask God, 'What do you value in your church?'
We need to ask God what he values in his church not only because we desire his glory, but also because we adore his Son and treasure his Spirit. Jesus is the one who established the church, and the church is his to grow, not ours to manipulate. Jesus is the one who purchased the church...We need to ask God what he values in his church because we love his gospel in our lives and we want to accomplish his mission in the world. The church is the means God has established for the defense, display, and declaration of the gospel. God has designed this distinct community called the church to satisfy and gratify his people while we spread his grace among all peoples. As a result of all these things, we need, want, and long to hear God's Word concerning God's will for his church.
- David Platt, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Introduction
Over the next 6 weeks, we will be focusing on God's Word to better understand God's will for God's church. It is my prayer that we will be open to God's Word and Spirit to challenge our thinking and opinions on what is the church. May God give us understanding and courage to make any necessary changes to becoming more like the church He has prescribed in His Word.