Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why does your church Exist?

The Church exists by what Christ has done for us in and for His Glory!

According to Scripture, the Church exists because of what Christ has done for us in His glory and the production of His love and work. The church exists for us to be in Christ our Lord, to be His people, His hands, and His feet to first worship Him as Lord, and then respond by our work to build His Kingdome.  

The church exits to glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and it continues to be inhabited by the people God chooses, and the response we give back to Him. God is our God and we are called to be His people, so let’s do this, let’s do a better job at it. In all honesty, most of us suck at it! Because we are so engrossed with our petty desires and trend chasing we forget the main thing! That Christ is Lord over our Church and we are supposed to glorify Him, not please ourselves or others!   

Time for a history lesson on why we do church. What started as a system of sacrifices performed by a specific, chosen tribe of priests who were the primary teachers and caregivers, moved and transitioned through God’s covenants to the modern church of today. The early Jews had exclusive rights to the things of God, including the writings of Moses. The main part of the sanctuary was accessible by the high priest only, and that inner sanctuary journey happened only once a year. By the work of our Lord, the old church was broken down and became accessible to all that would accept and believe at any time—by the work of our Lord and not by any human effort. The Lord was accessible to one nation who had the responsibility to spread His Word to all nations. This is why the land of Israel was and is so important; in that day, just about every group of people in the world would travel through Israel to Egypt and back. As the principle trade route brought countless numbers of people through it, Israel had the opportunity to be the evangelists of the Glory of God to the world. When they did, they were blessed, such as in Solomon’s time.  

The cross replaced the old way of the church, and the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom to lift up our Lord and the church became poured out by the Spirit to us, the body. Thus, the ministry and responsibilities became real and relevant to all rather than to just a handful of priests. The experience of the church was for all, and the ministry for all believers became our call.  

When Christ was put to death for our sins, the Temple veil was torn. The veil’s job was to separate the priests and the holiness of God from the people; it protected God from our sin, and protected us from the wrath of God. The veil has been lifted, or actually torn in two, because Christ paid that debt, and we now have access to God without fear of retribution.  

God still chooses people into the ministry as a call and vocation, and their responsibility is to administer the Word and Sacraments. They are responsible to equip and train the lay people, and do the priestly things of marriage, burial, the Lord’s Supper, and proclaiming the Word and most importantly, Worship Christ as Lord.  

The problem we run into is that most churches have forgotten that the veil has been torn, and expect the pastor to perform everything while they sit as spectators. They want their ears tickled; they want this, that and the other thing to make them happy. Therefore, they do not have to fulfill their responsibility and call, when one can sit and take no responsibility or determination in ones faith.  

We must ask the question do we have a healthy understanding of the purpose and mission of the church and the role of the lay person and the pastor? Do we know why we exist as a church, not the pastors pathetic or wayward vision; rather the call of our Lord? So, let’s do this, let’s do a better job at it!  

Not sure what that call is? It is here: Colossians 1:15-23


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