Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Guest Blogger: Chris Bottoms - A Healthy Church

There is a lot of talk out there in the blogsphere relating to The Church. I'd like to throw in my two cents.

I think we have to start with the issue of sin. Before we can talk about The Church and what it is but could be or isn't and should be, we have to deal with the issue of sin.

Why is the church failing to fulfill its Christ-breathed mission?

Sin.

Why isn't the church ministering as it should?

Sin.

Let's just look at it the way Jesus does. Start in Matthew 5; Jesus is sitting on a mountainside, teaching the crowd of disciples, and leads with eight characteristics that Believers must embody to be "approved". First up, Jesus gives us the "poor in spirit". This speaks to the realization that we have nothing to offer God that we can redeem for our salvation...nothing to plead with...nothing of value to give Him in exchange for real, present and eternal life. That characteristic permeates our person and is lived out as an ongoing act of repentance. Consider the tax collector of Luke 18, who cries out for mercy realizing that he is bankrupt spiritually because of his sin and must depend on God's mercy and grace for salvation. Next Jesus offers us "those who mourn", speaking to those that are completely broken over their sin and the sin that permeates our humanity. Right out of the box, Jesus is dealing with a Believers' relationship to sin. Of course, the Beatitudes go on into other markers, but we'll stop there for brevity's sake.

Now, if the Church is the gathered body of Believers, then we, not "it", ought to have such an attitude toward sin...which would of course lead to repentance, humility, meekness, and utter dependancy on Almighty God for all things, not least of which is our redemption.

If that were the case, we'd see an exponentially more effective Church, actively growing in discipleship, serving the Lord, the Body, and the community for the sake of the Kingdom.

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