Part 2 - If My People

Randall Mooney, T.hD.
Sunday, April 5, 2020

The End of Church as we Know It? Part 2: If My People

Today we mark the fourth Sunday since we began the exile from our church buildings. What have we learned so far? I remember when John 3:16 was the most recognized verse in the Bible? That verse told us things like, “God so loved the world, that he gave his Son.” Those words have effectively changed untold millions of lives over the last two thousand years. But it also said, “whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This verse is made up of three very important points; 1) the action, 2) the expectation, and 3) the result.

What is the action? God gave! It wouldn’t have mattered if anyone other than God did the giving. He made the sacrifice, not us. And it was his only Son that was given, because nothing else would have been sufficient. And that gift was required for one simple reason – we fell from God’s will, purpose and plan through disobedience. Apparently, the disobedience was so detrimental to the big picture and overall plan of “thy will being done on earth as it is in heaven,” God knew that the death of his own Son was required to restore the loss. There was no greater price available or adequate enough for our redemption than the blood sacrifice of the Son.

What is the expectation? That we believe! The word believe in this verse comes from the Greek word, “pisteuo.” It directs us to have faith in, upon, or with respect to a person or thing. It further instructs us to entrust, especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ. The expectation is far more than just to acknowledge Jesus. You must take your response to a deeper level and entrust your whole life to Him. You must make your own sacrifice of believing that He is trustworthy of your surrender and that he will not fail to have your spiritual and physical well-being in His heart and mind. Is that how you believe?

What is the result? That we will not perish but have everlasting life! Eternal life is not something we purchase at the church building. We go to the grocery store for groceries. We go to the gas station for gas. But we do not go to the church building for eternal life, we go to God. Please don’t misunderstand my motivation. There is much to receive from the church building, but only if it is filled with the people of God. And it is in those people that God has entrusted His Word and provisions to minister to a needy world. But, if those people are only interested in serving themselves, then what is the point of going to their building?

As previously stated in Part 1, millions of the faithful are longing for the day when they are able to return to business as usual. But is that what God is trying to teach us at this time? Is he trying to teach us how to maintain our buildings or how to be the church? Remember what I said last time, if the only way to maintain your relationship with God is in a building, then you only have a relationship to the building rather than with God.

So, what is the church to do if the buildings continue to be off limits? The answer is simple. Be the church. When Jesus and his disciples miraculously fed thousands, it was not in a building. When Jesus healed people of various afflictions and diseases, it was not in a building. When he was crucified for our sins and provided a way for our salvation, it was not in a building. However, he did turn some money tables over one time, at a building. When the disciples witnessed his ascension into heaven, it was not in a building. When Peter preached his first sermon and three thousand souls gave their hearts to the Lord Jesus, it was not in a building. When the gospel message was spread out to the whole world, buildings were optional and only rarely available, nonetheless, the gospel was spread. And the church at large in many countries around the world is forced to have church without specialized buildings in order to avoid giving away their locations and facing certain persecution if discovered. The church has never needed a building to fulfill its great commission to be the church and reach the world with the gospel message of Jesus. It is simple by design and everything we’ve done to complicate it has now proven unreliable.

Now, before I wrap up this little lesson for the day, I would like to point out a verse of scripture that has recently become as popular to quote as John 3:16. The new verse of the season appears to be 2 Chronicles 7:14. This verse often rises to the surface in believers minds when things aren’t going well. While this is in fact a great verse with much promise, it is impossible to appreciate the full value of this verse without including the other verses connected to its message. Remember how we looked at the action, expectation and result, of John 3:16? Let’s put this verse to the same test.

What is the action? The action, once again, by God, is found in verse 13, where He says, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people.” Whoa, wait a minute. Would a God of love do such a thing? Yes, and He has many times. His ways are higher than ours and we can’t explain everything He does. Furthermore, He’s God and we’re not. In John 3:16, we saw what God was willing to do because of the disobedience of the human race. That’s all of us folks. Once again, He’s God and we’re not. He’s expecting us to obey Him, He doesn’t have an obligation to think like, or obey us.

What is the expectation? That we humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. Hey, I don’t have any wicked ways…Jesus took care of that on the cross. I’m good to go! Right? If you really believe in that carnal and simplistic understanding of the gospel, including the price that Jesus paid for each of us, then it is definitely time to humble, pray and repent. The price was paid for us to have everlasting life as a believer, not to continue to live as we please while following a concept that his sacrifice came without requirement. We’re not talking about law, judgement and condemnation – we’re talking about a more abundant life made possible because of God’s gift to man, his Son; and fully experienced when we surrender our will and our desires to God.

What is the result? God will hear from heaven and will forgive our sin and heal our land. God’s eyes will be opened to us, and His ears will hear our prayers. Our turning away from sin, rebellion and disobedience, will move God to turn to us, our plight, and our need for deliverance. The word of God is filled with many verses demonstrating God’s willingness to turn to those that turn to Him. The gospel needs to be preached and partaken of in its fullness, rather than being reduced to catch phrases and slogans that offer hope without instructions. Many are asking God what we must do at this time, and this is the right place to start. The results we need will come from Him as we humbly submit to Him for His will to be done.
Finally, God has given us the opportunity to look beyond our buildings and processes, to look at what He intends His bride to be. The future of the Church, as we should know, is her destiny to become the bride of Christ.

Revelation 19:6-8
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (NKJV)

Are we ready for this future honor? Is the church willing to accept this calling and put forth the effort to “make herself ready?”


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