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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Ideal Church in a Real World

I suppose the ideal church would be filled with a sinless congregation. It is hard to imagine. There would be no contentious business meetings. There would be no gossip. The giving would go out the roof. The ministries would have more volunteers than needed. Everyone would sing (or make a joyful noise). No one would think himself better than anyone else. No one would gripe about the temperature in the sanctuary. In fact, no one would gripe about anything.

Who could join this church? No one I know.

The church exists in a real world. It is filled with sinners. Some are saved by grace. Some are not saved. Some know they are on a spiritual journey. Some think they have already arrived. We shall not see a sinless church while we are on this earth. Therefore, the ideal church must take into account that sin.

The ideal church would be filled with a congregation who sees repentance as something the church should practice first. Often the church is telling other groups they need to act like Christians when those groups are not Christians. The ideal church would see itself in need of cleaning its own house on a regular basis. Instead of telling the world to repent and join the church, the ideal church would recognize its sins and repent. The problem with the church's testimony today is the lack of righteousness in the church. The church has no voice when she lives like the devil.

The ideal church would freely give out grace. Repentance realizes the need for grace. Forgiveness realizes the need for grace. The church who understood her own sinfulness would know grace and give it out freely to the world. The message the church would send is one of God's desire to forgive instead of messages to get those dirty rotten sinners in the world. Anyone who came through the doors would realize the grace the church gives.

The ideal church would seek to win the lost. This church would see their primary goal as making disciples of Jesus. People need to know the Lord as the first step to discipleship. The ideal church would spare no expense to win the lost. The ideal church would welcome those who are typically shunned by a "better than thou" society. It would be filled with prostitutes, drug dealers and criminals. The ideal church would be such a place of grace that these people would be drawn in. The ideal church would love these people into the kingdom.

The ideal church would care for those who know Jesus. This church would give each member opportunities to hold each other accountable for each others' actions. Joining this church would mean that you join a community of believers who will do their best to keep you from straying from the Lord.

The ideal church would depend upon God in every decision. Decisions would not be made in regard to whether or not the church has the money but on what God wants the church to do. The church would completely depend upon God to supply her every need. The church would realize that her responsibility is in doing what is right- not determining what is possible!

The ideal church is a praying church. She prays about everything. She believes that God can eradicate any sickness that a doctor will diagnose as terminal. She believes that God can supply jobs to the unemployed and resources to the broke. She believes that God mends marriages and families who have broken apart. She believes God gives direction still speaks to those who will listen. So, the church prays to a living, loving almighty God.

The ideal church loves the Bible. She realizes that the Bible is God's instructions to live on this earth. It is God's story of what will happen after this earth. The ideal church strives to be God's people living God's word.

The ideal church is a sweet fellowship. It give grace within as well as without. The ideal church overlooks many of things which members could say that are hurtful. She encourages those within the church to live a life of love. The church bounds together to help one another through everything.

The ideal church is possible. My church is not perfect. We have a lot of the qualities of what I would call the ideal church. We are on a journey to become what God wants us to be. I believe we will always be on that journey.

I would love to hear stories of your church. Please email me if you are proud of your church. I don't believe your church will be perfect either. I do believe your church will be on the same journey we are on.

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