Saturday, November 24, 2007

He That Hath An Ear

Over the past couple of months, I've done a casual survey among members of our congregation as well as others with whom I am familiar that attend other congregations. My main question is, "What is the biggest area of opportunity in the church today?" Of course the same question less positively queried is, "What is the biggest problem in the church today?"

Naturally, I received many different answers, but one thing that seemed prevalent among all of the answers was member apathy. Let me say parenthetically that "member" includes servant leaders. A biblical study of this problem reveals that this is not new. Take a look at what the bible says:

"He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ' I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 'Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you." Rev 3:1-3

I won't expand on this too much because our next series of sermons will be on the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation. You may realize that this is the letter to the church at Sardis. I will say however, that I did glean these thoughts from God's Holy Word:
  1. We are still the church and are recognized as such by Christ
  2. We have at some point fallen asleep
  3. We know what to do, we just need to do it
  4. We need revival

I can't help but think of how things were when the church began.

"So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." Acts 2:41-47

Let's look at some of the things that were going on in those days while mentally asking ourselves if they are still going on today, and if so, or not, why or why not?

  • The word was being shared and received with great affect and result
  • There was great and constant devotion to learning more about God through the availability of His word (preached or otherwise)
  • The people lived their lives together and pursued the things of God with vigor as a way of life (this is so significant)
  • They shared a common belief, faith and way of living that, by extension, cut down on a lot of discord
  • The people were in awe of God
  • There was sacrificial giving for the benefit of the whole of the body
  • They shared each others lives
  • There was an overall sense of joy and happiness
  • The people were sincere in their worship and fellowship
  • They praised God
  • The church grew, ostensibly though the work of the Spirit and as a result of those outside the body seeing the benefit of being members of the body by observing the interactions of the body

It is my prayer that each who happens by and reads these words would meditate and pray on them. It is not about what I have said, it is about what God has said. Take the time to examine where we are as a church. Take the time to consider where you are as an individual and then compare both to what the word directs us to do and to be.

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Rev 3:6

Each One Reach One

Each One Teach One