A Lenten Series: So What About the Church?
If we have forgotten who we are as the people of God then it is time to remember. If our moraleis low because of the shallow Christian culture around us, then let us encourage each other todifficult honesty, sincere faith, and better works. And if we need confidence to believe that ourchurch is critical to changing a street, a school, a neighborhood, or maybe even us, then for thenext five weeks, will you pray that God would renew your vision as his people, his kingdom, hisbody. If, on the other hand, none of these apply to you, please pray with the rest of us thatGod’s Spirit will make us strong in his love and anointed in our mission.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging toGod, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into hiswonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; onceyou had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” I Peter 2:9,10
“The church, however, as the community of Christ’s kingdom, can show the world anethical integrity it must respect. When Peter describes the impact of Christian righteous deedsin a pagan world, he is thinking not of isolated saints, but of the people of God, called out ofdarkness into God’s light. Christian witness that is limited to private religious experience cannotchallenge secularism. Christians in community must again show the world, not merely familyvalues, but the bond of the love of Christ. Increasingly the ordered fellowship of the churchbecomes the sign of grace for the warring factions of a disordered world. Only as the churchbinds together those whom selfishness and hate have cut apart will its message be heard andits ministry of hope to the friendless be received.
The need of the secular world is greatest at the very points where its criticism of thechurch is most intense. Only God’s truth can set people free, for the church to concede thesecular assumption of a chance universe is to deny both Christ’s lordship and its own meaning.The church is the community of the Word, the Word that reveals the plan and purpose of God.In the church the gospel is preached, believed, obeyed. It is the pillar and ground of the truth because it holds fast the Scriptures (Philippians 2:16) -Edmund Clowney, The Church, pp. 16,17