Chock-full of Truth

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The church is in desperate need of the truth. We are so far removed from the first century church, many are rethinking the way things are done and even the message itself. That’s nothing new to anyone in the blogosphere, it’s being talked about daily.

How do we DO church? Do we really need to talk about being saved? Can’t we just water it down a bit and make people comfortable? Must we say Jesus is the only way to the Father? Can’t we allow for some other paths?

I guess I’m a purist. I do believe the scripture speaks to all we need to know concerning the church. It is His church based upon His word.

I love the following passage from Titus…it’s chock-full of truth:

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work They must not slander anyone, but be peaceable, gentle, showing complete courtesy to all people.

In my younger years I worked in a secretarial pool for a Christian organization. Once I remember accompanying an older woman to the closest fast food joint for lunch. She was quite nice to me yet, she had a face that said, “Don’t have too much fun…it might not be Christian.” She spoke sweetly to me while we stood in line. But as it came time to order her manner changed becoming curt toward the employee. All sweetness to me then turning back around spewing impatience. It was a perfect Jekyll and Hyde impersonation. Complete courtesy to ALL…?

For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another.

Before Christ we lived to indulge our flesh being misled by the spirit of this world. We still have the pull of the flesh in our lives, yet with the Spirit’s help, we can overcome. We do need to remember we are NOT to judge the world but be examples of His kindness, mercy and grace…

But “when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us

In God’s kindness and love He saved us. His love for us was made manifest in Jesus…

not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of His mercy,

Not because we were good, not because we were any better than anyone else, but because of His mercy…

through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior.

On the basis of His mercy we have been washed and are being renewed through the Holy Spirit. How did this happen? Through Jesus Christ our Savior. He is God our Savior. He has poured out on us the Holy Spirit in full measure. In FULL MEASURE we have the Spirit of God!!!

And so, since we have been justified by His grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.”  This saying is trustworthy,

We have been given our “not guilty” papers (justified) by His GRACE and we are now heirs of eternal life. We can confidently expect this inheritance of life after death. This saying is truth, it is worthy of trusting.

and I want you to insist on such truths, so that those who have placed their faith in God may be intent on engaging in good works. These things are good and beneficial for all people.

If we would insist on such truths then the outcome would be beneficial for all. Through His Spirit we are to be different. A light shining in a dark place. Salt to a flavorless world. The result will be beneficial, profitable, valuable, advantageous for ALL mankind.

Wow. Is this the way it is? Are we benefitting the world through our changed lives? Do we have a Jekyll and Hyde lifestyle? Can the world see any difference in us because of our faith?

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32 responses »

  1. “How do we DO church?”
    Mine usually consists of worship, sermon, communion, and more worship.

    “Do we really need to talk about being saved?”
    Of course. But a lot of the people who go to church are already saved. So instead we need water the plants from the seeds others have sown to give God a beautiful garden.

    “Can’t we just water it down a bit and make people comfortable?”
    As a business owner, I do know that people learn different things in different ways. Some people I can just tell them what need to be done. Some people need to be told several times. And some people pick it up the instant I show them what needs to be done. The same is true for Christianity, and I really think we need to teach in a manner that is best for our audience. But just as I wouldn’t put my business at risk by slacking on the on-the-job-training, I certainly wouldn’t slack on the GOOD news.

    “Must we say Jesus is the only way to the Father? Can’t we allow for some other paths?”
    Good question…but that’s a post for another time. 😉

  2. How do we DO church, or how ought we to DO church? 🙂 Not that church will ever be perfect until we are in Heaven, of course.

    I agree with NorEaster, we need to offer salvation AND discipleship.

    God isn’t about us being comfortable. Well, He certainly doesn’t seem to care about my comfort! Which I am thankful for. I care enough for both of us. 🙂

    Yep, Jesus is the only way to the Father and He has offered Himself to us. Than is the good news. If we don’t give them that part, it’s not any good!

    Cool post!

  3. It’s done! 🙂

    Upon reflecting on my own experience of coming to Christ, I believe that it’s important how we witness and present Christ to unbelievers. My sister Tia told me about His mercy, about how He died for me so that I wouldn’t have to perish from my sin. Even in terms of attending church and listening to sermons, I believe God let me hear specific things because He needed me to hold on to the hope that was in Him, not the wages of my sin being death or being cast into hell for not believing. Don’t get me wrong, those are solid truths and we are to always speak the truth but to everything, there is a time and a place. I think it’s a very delicate process for unbelievers when they are first learning about Christ. They are broken. They are hopeless. They are heavy-ladened. And our responsibility is to allow God to use us [if He deems appropriate in that particular situation] to share with them that they can rest in Him. That He can take the burdens away. That He can restore hope and joy and peace.

    As far as the “Jekyll and Hyde analogy, I praise God that during my time of coming to Him, I did not see that in the believers around me. I really wasn’t around anyone like that and even if I was, I believe God didn’t allow me to dwell on it because that’s not what I needed. All I knew was I had been miserable and sad and lonely and depressed majority of my life and I was without hope and I heard about Someone who gives hope and peace and restores joy and I wanted to learn more about Him and so I did.

    “Must we say Jesus is the only way to the Father? Can’t we allow for some other paths?”

    This is an interesting question. A few months before I was saved, I had a conversation with my best friend in England. It was basically about Heaven/Hell and who goes to Hell etc. Basically she told me that even though it was difficult for her to to accept it, she believed I was going to Hell for not believing in Jesus, that He was the only way to Heaven. I have to admit, that wasn’t what made me want to learn more about Him. I thought it was a little harsh and it wasn’t something I was able to handle in that exact moment. I was really hurt and upset and frustrated. If it wasn’t for Tia and my home church, I would have had a hard time with that and possibly withdrawn my curiosity.

    Do I believe Jesus is the only way to the Father? YES! Do I believe people need to know this truth? YES! Are there any other paths to Heaven? NO!

    But having said that, I believe it’s important how we share that [and any other] truth. I believe we have to use wisdom and assess the situation. If you are down and out, miserable and depressed, and you’ve tried everything, and someone tells you about Jesus who can restore all of that and provide hope, then you would want to know more about Him, and knowing more about Him often [not always but often] leads to believing in Him.

    An example is how my aunt [this is a testimony in itself and I will be writing a post about it] contacted me this weekend. She said she was at her lowest point. That she’s tried everything and that she’s given up on life. I shared the truth about Jesus. I could have said “yeah you’re miserable because you believe in a god that doesn’t exist” or “well you better get your act together and believe in Jesus otherwise you’re going to Hell.” But God led me to share my own experiences of praying to a god that didn’t listen let alone respond. I shared my own experiences of seeking and not finding anything, until I realized I was praying to and seeking from the wrong source. And then I shared about how there is hope. There is light in the darkness. There is joy and peace. And His name is Jesus. And I left it at that.

    Again, I believe it depends on the situation, but I believe that sometimes when we share the truth, the way we share it, when not led by the Spirit, can incur more damage and push someone away. Now I’m definitely not saying that we need to paint an unrealistic picture of what it means to be a believer. The truth is “to whom much is given, much is required” but I believe that there is a time to share those things. And the most important thing is for us to be Spirit-led ourselves so that we can heed to Him when He wants us to share the truth with someone concerning who He is, what it means to be saved, what it means when you’re not saved etc.

    Phew! A lot of thoughts. Some sound more jumbled than others but I wrote as the Spirit led so here it is. Love you Sis. Thanks for a thought-provoking post as always! XOX

  4. Thank y’all for your thoughtful responses.

    Hey, Nor. To water the plants that are already growing for a beautiful garden for God…amen!!!

    I’m also thinking…and for the world, for the benefit of ALL. Are we truly changing the world through our kindness, being courteous and doing good works? 😕

    Yes, Tawny! If we haven’t shared Jesus then there is no good news…and I am so thankful He is more concerned about our character than our comfort. As hard as that is to say, when life can be quite painful, He’s still working for us the best for our proven character. Amen.

    Nice to see you here. 😉

    Good morning, Gchyayles…for the second time. 😉 I love your thoughts. Thank you for sharing the way it worked for you…you needed to hear that Someone did listen, did care, did want a better way for you than you had chosen for yourself. It was in kindness and mercy Tia shared with you. Praise God she did..for in your kindness you have shared so much with me. I LOVE you, Gch!! 😀

  5. answer your questions at the end of your post..I sure hope so…hope the world sees jesus in me, and I do not have a double lifestyle..honestly that is too much work for me to keep it straight, and there is no benefit to it. Love you !

  6. Good afternoon, Darla, I’m so glad you saw the questions at the end. You know, I’ve been wondering why people aren’t nice anymore. I mean, I honestly had to go look up the word to see if it was in any way contrary to the scripture. Kind of silly, but I’ve heard so many people make fun of the word, like it’s out-of-date or somehow not a part of the transforming power of the Spirit. I see it as a simple word that sums up the fruit of the Spirit in many ways. Maybe I’m way off, but I don’t see the contradiction.

    What do you think?
    1. Pleasing and agreeable in nature: had a nice time.
    2. Having a pleasant or attractive appearance: a nice dress; a nice face, a nice smile.
    3. Exhibiting courtesy and politeness: a nice gesture.
    4. Of good character and reputation; respectable.

    Sorry, Darla, I think I had a little more to say, huh?

    ♥ U2.

  7. God has laid so much out for us, and like you I believe the answer to anything and everything is in there, or I am supposed to follow by faith.

    **A kind word turns away wrath.
    **Love your enemies.
    **Pray for those you persecute you.
    **be modest
    just a few things I live by… but some of us are nice, and some of us are striving for the daily abundance that HE is offering, it just is different than our natural reaction to things.

    I am guessing that remembering that people are watching to see how real it all is to us. We are unaware of who we are turning away from Christ, while we are not doing the things HE has told us to do.

    love you Michelle, and I am so with you. So many want to give out godly advice, and then turn around and say or do something that scares me…so not God. I want to be real in my relationship with God, and it only works for me if I do it HIS way.

  8. Wow, is there a common thread happening in blogville??? Scripture is scripture, and so easily warped. People abuse the grace and mercy of God to the point where everything is acceptable…because we’re covered. Not a good witness…

    There are behaviors in my own life that I struggle with, words, deeds and even thoughts…and depending on who I’m with allowing myself to participate regardless of what I feel inside, or what God plainly says in His word. The ones I admire are the ones who don’t compromise…the ones to make the stand and the example of truly living through, and for Christ. I think two of the things that are the hardest is the backbiting, slander scenerio…then smiling and friendly to your face. Scarey… If you have something to say, tell me, because when it gets back to me, the trust is broken and needs to be rebuilt…heavily adressed in scripture.

    People watch. The last thing I want in my life is to be an excuse for someone not to come to the Lord. The first thing I want is for someone to see the same outside the church as is in the inside. It’s hard, it’s daily, I’m a long way from it… but it’s time to take God’s Word at His Word and stop making excuses.

    Thank you Michelle…this is excellent….Love you so much! 🙂

  9. To be real in our relationship with God…yes. I have a hard time hearing godly advice when it’s coupled with ugliness, and that is done so often. If we would shine forth as we are told to do, what a difference we might actually make.

    Thanks, Darla. Yeah, I think we see things much the same. 😉

    Hey there, Debs. I feel honored you would take time away from the family to comment. Hope your BBQ is wonderful!

    Yes. People do watch. None of us are there yet…and I’m certainly NOT talking about perfection. But at least kindness and a willingness to give to others, to do the good works we’ve been called to do, for the benefit of ALL. That part really hit me in the scripture. We do so much to build up the body but the social action we are to do seems to be ignored in many circles. I’m not pushing a social gospel, but at least an attempt at making life better for others. I’m not saying it well. I hope you’re getting me. 😉

  10. Good. 😀 Glad you heard me. You said it well too. Backbiting and slandering should NEVER be a part of the body, what’s with that anyway?!

  11. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

    “We are so far removed from the first century church, many are rethinking the way things are done and even the message itself.”

    That brings up a question for me: How ‘seeker friendly’ was the new testament church?

  12. Matthew 5:16 is a perfect summary. Thanks, Dan.

    My dad worked for Barney years ago, you know, the purple dinosaur. Our pastor at the time wanted him to see if he could get Barney to come some Sunday to help pull in the community.

    Barney?!?

    That was my introduction to “seeker friendly”… I haven’t had much respect for the approach since. Kind of tainted my view.

  13. I seem to remember Jesus saying He would build the church, that He would seek and save that which was lost, while Paul reminded Christians in Rome the no person seeks God.

    Really good post!

  14. Hi Michelle, I really like your point about being taught truth, and in a way that is not watered down.
    The Bible is the key way that I find God brings about change in my life. He’s done this as I’ve read the Bible but also through faithful friends who showed me parts of the Scripture that I needed to see at different times. These times are never comfortable, but coming face to face with God’s Word in this way brings conviction and also healing and growth. Thanks for this post.

  15. Yes, Birgit, I always appreciate your input.

    “These times are never comfortable, but coming face to face with God’s Word in this way brings conviction and also healing and growth.”

    He cares more about our character than our comfort…my favorite saying these days. It can be very uncomfortable but so worth the understanding. Thanks for commenting. 😉

  16. I wrote the following today at in response to a similar question

    There is a big difference between church and Church. church is where we go, Church is the body of Christ’s believers.

    There is a big difference in going to church and being Christ’s Church.

    A person can attend church and never be the Church. To be the Church is a call to action by Christ. A lot of churches are not taking action.

    It seems that the Christ’s followers, His Church, are becoming frustrated with the dumbing down of the Gospel to the feel good gospel. They are also frustrated with the inaction of the church not being the Church.

    As for preaching the truth.. Here is a post I wrote about the need for preaching the whole truth… http://cpk3.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/the-whole-truth-nothing-but-the-truth/

  17. Amen, CK. Your comment reminds me of the parable of the tares and the wheat. We all grow in the same field, but at the time of the harvest, the Lord of the Harvest will separate the true from the false.

    Good post…the same pastor who wanted Barney to come visit also didn’t want to talk much about sin…hmmmm…?

  18. Well, the post title dragged me in on this one.

    First off (since I read it 10 seconds ago) I love what ck had to say here: To be the Church is a call to action by Christ. A lot of churches are not taking action. SO true.

    I’ve had some very interesting blog conversations lately with a man who is in the ‘church should be scrapped and completely re-vamped’ category. Actually, his take is that it is the role of pastors that is what is at fault in the current paradigm. Anyway (because that is a WHOLE other conversation) I appreciate you bringing these points up.

    On the subject of how Christians act at large – the whole “Jekyll and Hyde” thing – there is a phenomenon most people aren’t aware of.

    I work as a foodserver in a restaurant. I have for the past 10+ years. In virtually every restaurant every where in every state I have waited tables at, servers hate working Sundays. Sundays are the hardest days to staff, always. Those who want them off (like myself) to go to church are in one camp, and those who want them off just because they’re that horrible are in another camp. Why are they so horrible, you might ask? Well, let me tell you how the ‘Sunday crowd’ (of customers) differs from every other day of the week.

    1) they’re rude.
    2) they’re cheap.
    3) they’re annoying and demanding.

    Who are the vast majority of people who go out to eat en mass on Sundays? Christians. Usually they’re still dressed up in their finest, and sport their friendly smiles to the rest of the table, but they can be downright arrogant and rude to their server. And cheap!! They split everything, want all the free stuff and none of the decently expensive stuff, and they are a very bad tippers. These are things which grate on a server’s nerves like you wouldn’t believe. Usually the people who are nice and not rude you can be sure are going to leave you a bad tip. One of the servers I work with has a running ‘joke’ about it: “They don’t have any money to tip you; they gave it all in the offering plate.” Being a Christian myself and seeing the face so many Christians present to the world – makes me shake my head and wish I could tell them.

    As a server – let me tell you what would make the greatest impact on a complete stranger who is waiting on you at a restaurant: be nice. be understanding. be patient. be pleasant. be respectful of the environment and don’t take up the table for hours on end. try to be as uncomplicated as possible. tip well. And if you want to make a specific impact, don’t ask them if they need prayer or leave a tract. The first makes people uncomfortable. They’re in a work situation, not a personal one. The second usually just gets a sneer and a toss in the closest trash can. If you really want to make an impact, double the tip you would normally give, and write ‘Jesus loves you,’ right next to it. That they hear loud and clear.

    Thanks for the blog, Michelle! It is such an apt point.

  19. Wow, Annie, quite a response! I don’t know how I missed this, sorry.

    You know, that is not the first time I’ve heard that complaint about Christians and Sunday servers. It’s the saddest testimony we can give, isn’t it? It speaks to something within we just don’t get.

    Until our love for others outweighs our selfishness, we won’t be all He asked us to be in this world.

    Thanks for commenting, I LOVE the interaction. 😉

  20. Yanno…

    …one of these days I’m going to write a post that gets 27 comments! 😉

  21. Make that 28 comments!
    Have to reply to this with my personal experiences.
    Early in our marriage, I was able to convince my ‘unchurched’ hubby to give it a try. So we attended now and then–with some hesitation.
    The small church had a baseball team–hubby LOVES baseball. So he joined in. One day at the field…he was told, “Well, we didn’t see you in church last Sunday. You can’t play.’
    OH—THANKS guys for this loving example! Needless to say, he never returned.
    Fast forward years later—we tried again at another large church.
    Quite a few of these guys worked at the same mill that my husband did. They were the ones that were the most unkind and most dishonest during the workweek. What a turn off.
    I kept reminding him NOT to focus his eyes on people. (They will always disappoint us). But he became more cynical, less interested. (and now alcohol is his solace.)
    Makes for a disconnected life. Very sad.
    I don’t attend on my own, since it creates friction.
    Wow—i am feeling too open here. !!

  22. fotofootprints- I know exactly what you are saying…this happened to my hubs too, and after several years, and my example of Christ following to him, he is now a Christian and a worship leader, and works along side of me in outreach, showing love to those who have similiar stories…long story short…I love you, and I am going to add you and your hubs to my prayer list. Sometimes the body of Christ shoots its self..that is sad…but somehow I am seeing that the ones who are shooting…have a lot to work out in thier own heart, and God does not overlook, and He will deal with them. The things I try most to show and explain to my kids and hubs is that Christians are perfect, we are just like everyone else, and we are not always what we should be, but God is changing us into a picture of HIS son..so we are all in progress. Love ya

  23. THANK YOU Darla!
    I feel like you ‘guys’ are becoming my church. !!

  24. Wow. I woke up to this wonderful exchange between you two, doing what the church is suppose to be doing. Sharing and bearing one another’s burdens.

    Thank you, Darla, for encouraging and loving on Foto.

    Foto, this is much of my “church” too. It is a beautiful thing, a strange but beautiful thing. I asked for a way to connect to people and I understood I was to “blog”, but I had no idea what that meant. It has been an amazing ride…I have had wonderful connection and encouragement in Christ through this medium. I’m glad you’re feeling the “connection” as well.

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