Have you seen the latest Budweiser commercial? No, it doesn’t have Clydesdales, puppies or even the ever popular frogs. Its an attack on beer snobs. It makes fun of those guys who sit around analyzing their pumpkin peach ales and criticizing all other forms of beer as being inferior. Well it seems that the Church has a similar set of critics. They sit around dissecting what the Church is doing wrong and how it just isn’t meeting their needs. Somehow they have formulated an idea of how to make the Church better and if the Church doesn’t go along it is deemed as being irrelevant and out of touch. Pastor Mark Love referenced this in last Sunday’s message in the Undignified series. He said “Many Christians say the Church is irrelevant and are leaving when in fact they are leaving because they aren’t the center of attention having every whim addressed”.
Just what is the Church’s role in today’s society? Is it a place to learn about the Bible? A place to meet and worship together? A place to bring your children and youth for age appropriate programs? A place to promote social good? One of the earliest examples of the Church’s role can be found in Acts 2:42 (NLT)…
“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.”
One of the primary things I want you to notice about this passage was they were devoted. Devoted people don’t sit around complaining about and criticizing something they are truly devoted to, they tend to be it’s biggest cheerleader. When is the last time you saw an internet blog or social media comment concerning the Church that was positive? Makes you wonder just who all of these critics are loyal to. I think that the answer is they are loyal only to themselves. American society places high value on the idea of critical thinking and individuality neither of which are mentioned as attributes of the Church in the scripture cited above.
Early Christians devoted themselves to being taught. They realized their lives were absolutely hopeless without Christ and they wanted to know how to correct that. They relied on teaching, prayer, and scripture to guide them. Today it seems that our society is looking towards everything but the Church to guide its decisions. We look to government laws and societal opinion to determine what is right and wrong and then expect the Church to follow suite. That is not the role of the Church. The Church should be at the forefront of defining morality, social justice, etc. The problem is that requires us to give up a bit of our individuality. It requires us to trust that the Spirit of God still works through the Church just as He did in the book of Acts. Are you willing to sacrificially give up every part of your life in order to submit to God’s teaching? We tend to compartmentalize sections of our life and put them off limits to God but just remember you can’t follow Jesus without fully submitting to His teachings.
One of the primary themes of our Undignified teaching series has been that in order to pursue Jesus we will look different to the world. How can we be different if we are taking our cues from the world’s standards? John chapter 3 describes Jesus as the light of the world, verse 23 says:
“But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
Are you willing to give up some personal freedom and look undignified in order for others to see what is right? Instead of looking for what is wrong with the Church let’s focus on the many things that are right with it and promote it throughout the world. Let’s become devoted followers of Jesus and His Church in order to show the world the Truth and Light of the Gospel of Christ.