When is a Christian not a Christian?
Is the Church the church, or does it contain the church?
Yet we are called to be different, to be salt and light, to have our lamps shining brightly, to demonstrate Jesus to an unbelieving World, not just talk about Him. We need not so much to “talk the talk” as to “walk the walk”.
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:9-10 NKJV)
This is not a random quote to support my position, this is the very lifeblood and theme of God’s purpose for us. Of course we know this already and there are many of us who are walking the walk. This is not about you, it’s about all of us because we are all God’s representatives. We are here to demonstrate His Glory to Joe Bloggs in the street, not explain the exegesis of the doctrine of grace to him. We must make it clear not just that we are performing great acts of charity and service, but what our motivation is.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
A lot of fuss has been made about the new Pope, Francis. That he stayed in a hotel suite, rather than the opulence of the papal apartment and paid the bill personally when he checked-out. That he rode on a bus after his election (though probably not the 128 from Romford). That he used to cook his own meals and regularly visited slums. The word bandied about here is humility and the news-worthiness of this is because of the surprise that “God’s representative on earth” should be such a humble man. That’s because Popes and churchmen (whatever their denomination) are not really known for expressing Jesus’ likeness, rather than ruling Jesus’ Kingdom on earth. It’s a refreshing change, I suppose.
We look at the mainstream Church today and look at Paul’s observation of the radiant church without stain and wrinkle and wonder what kind of fit we have. Is the Church the church, or does it contain the church? There is a precedent for this in Scripture, in Jesus’ warnings to the Laodicean Church, in Revelation 3:20:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
So here sit those Laodiceans in the church pews and Jesus invites those who want to listen to him, to open the door to him. The impression is that not everyone is going to want to do this, not everyone in the church (building) is actually the Church!
The Cinderella Church is not a denomination, or an organised Church. It comprises individual, called-out ones, who are striving to walk worthy of the Lord and who will open the door to Jesus and dine with him because they hunger for him and him alone. It will contain Anglicans but not the Anglican church; it will contain Pentecostals but not the whole Elim/AOG denominations. It will also contain Methodists, Baptists, even those caught up in very dodgy, dubious churches. There will be those who would call themselves Calvinists, Arminians, pre-millenialists and the rest. God won’t let our doctrinal differences get in the way of our destiny.
He knows His Cinderella Church. We are the ones who are possibly going to be surprised as to who we will end up “sharing a cloud with” when everything is wrapped up for us.
For the previous article in this series, click here.
For the next article in this series, click here.
To find out about MY NEW BOOK, "Hope", click here.
You can reach Steve with any comments or questions at the Saltshakers Web Community website.
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