Sunday, December 11, 2016

DECEMBER 11 "IS YOUR CHURCH THE LOVE CHURCH?"

Kudos to the Church in Thyatira.  If I was the Pastor of that church I would frame these words from Jesus and hang them in the Church foyer for everyone, especially visitors to read, “I have seen your love, your faith, you service and patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things”.  Of course I would leave out the next part, “But I have this one complaint against you, you are permitting that woman Jezebel….to teach them to commit sexual sin”.  We know that “Love” is the primary objective, the primary goal of a church.  The church in Thyatira seems to have reached this high and lofty goal. I think we can agree, there’s a few churches today that are seriously lacking in love. It’s unfortunate that the very objective that the Thyatira church has strived to be, now brings with it a serious fault. They have tried so hard to be “the love church” that in doing so they have completely avoided any kind of behavior that might be taken as “unloving”.  I have never once confronted someone for “sexual sin” in the church and had them say, “Pastor, I know you’re doing this because you love me, I can just feel the love coming from you”. It was normally the opposite; they left the church, with all sorts of inflammatory accusations and of course accused me and/or the church of being “unloving”. The love church in Thyatira will never behave in any way that would leave any room for interpreting them as being unloving.  Have you even been in one of these churches? There is no judgment of any kind, anything goes, it’s all about love, encouragement and acceptance. Sounds like the ideal church doesn’t it! Then you have the other church that says, “we need to exhort, encourage but also need to chasten and rebuke” and most often what they really are is a church of constant rebuking, rules and legalism and there really is no encouragement and/or love.  The church that is full of love is corrected by Jesus for allowing flagrant sin to go on (very typical) and the church that judges all sin and keeps a tight rein will be accused by Jesus for having no Grace and no Love (very typical).  This should have you wondering, “what church do I serve God in, how would we be characterized by Jesus?”  I ask myself that question all the time. Jesus may not write letters to the churches anymore, but He still keeps himself well acquainted with His churches and always will; until His return at least.  Jesus has an opinion of your church, the question is, would you ever ask him what His opinion is and would you be able to hear what He is saying?  “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches”. God is speaking in many churches, trying to help them, sometimes through encouraging words sometimes through rebuking words, but many churches go on to function and remain the same, never being changed, never being transformed into the church that they could be because they have ears, but not ears that hear and certainly not ears that listen. But if we have ears to hear and listen our church(s) can be changed and transformed into great churches; and isn’t that what we all want, we know it’s what Jesus wants, we know He is speaking but are we listening?