This is part of a very long series of commentary I’m writing based on the 95 Theses to the Evangelical Church by Greg Gordon. Read my intro and find direct links to the 95 Theses here. For the most part, as I review these, I look for personal applications in our lives today.
The evangelical church at large has forgotten that the chief end of man is to glorify God.
Romans 16:26-27 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
1 cor 6:19-20 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Mat 6:9-10 9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
This blows my mind, when I think about it. For the most part, we have become man focused, even in our evangelizing. We tend to focus on what God can do for you, the sinner. “My friend, you are lost in sin. You’re going to Hell. God has a plan for your life, and you can spend all eternity in heaven with Him!”
Now, none of this is false…but it’s the focus that’s off. You didn’t really see Jesus coming from that direction. Reading John 6, for example, Jesus just hits people up with the hard truth of who He is, and the fact that He’s the only way to God. When people start walking away, he doesn’t water down his message, or make it culturally relevant to appeal to their egos. Throughout the New Testament, the disciples and Paul keep the focus clearly on glorifying God. We should, as well.
Evangelicals ignore most of the methods, practices and principles found in Acts chapter 2.
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Wow. I have been saying this for years. Real ‘church’ or gathering of the saints…it’s hard work. Love is hard. It’s about coming together often, praying and taking care of one another like close family. But, it’s more than even that, as we come together to praise and worship God. This beautiful gathering caused others who witnessed it to consider the weight of their own sin, and join those gathered.
We have exchanged riches for rags by trading this for a weekly corporate service where we barely speak to each other but for a few minutes before we enter 90 minutes of listening. Now, there’s nothing wrong with listening to a teach of the Word (assuming that the message is true and the Holy Spirit is present), but calling that church and the modern day substitute for what we find in Acts 2 (and the rest of the New Testament) blows my mind. If you learned Christianity from the Bible instead of traditions taught by man, I dare say, there’s no way you would come up with our modern day version of ‘church.’
We need to stop making all kinds of excuses, and go back to the Acts 2 model. I’m not suggesting that we have to ditch all current modes of ‘church gatherings,’ but we do need to restore the blessed fellowship and presences of God found when small group come together to worship the creator. How can we do that on a personal level? Jesus said, ” For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” We can get with one or two brothers and begin following God’s Word almost immediately.