Stating the obvious
As I begin today I want to be clear that what I am doing is stating the obvious. You know the things that we all know and for the most part, can agree upon. We may not agree on some of the finer details but in the big picture, we will agree. So here it is are you ready for it? Drum roll, please. The church is going to be different in the days to come both short term and long term.
I know, I know you are all saying it, he is stating the obvious. I know that I am and you agree with me, I am stating the obvious but come on it is going to be different. Everything’s going to be different. The list will start with how and where we worship together. All the way to how and where we minister in the community even the world. Then everything in between will be different too from Bible Studies to committee meetings and the list goes on (I know I should have bought stock inZoom). Listen, we can’t help ourselves it is going to be different.
This is where we need to become careful in our consideration of a different church. When we talk about the church we need to do so in a very general way. There are many different aspects of what church is and how it exists. Think about it for a few moments and you will begin to understand what I am talking about. Everything about church will change but there are a few areas that will change the most. The other things will be simply the result of the other changes.
Let’s be clear that nothing changes unless there is a reason for the change. Example-we could not meet together for worship because of “social distancing”. So worship services migrated to the internet. That was easy for most if not all churches to do. It didn’t necessarily work for everyone but for the vast majority, it made worship available. You get the idea of what I am talking about. We could look at different things in the church and see how and why they change.
I want to be clear here in what I am about to say. There is something in the church that has not changed and it must not change. It is the message of Jesus Christ and the gospel of the good news that God loves us. Whenever the opportunity is afforded the church to preach the good news of salvation by grace in Christ Jesus our Lord it must be taken. The church, the people of God, must tell the world that Jesus died for their sins. That if they will believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and rose on the third day they shall be saved as Paul said in Romans 10:9. Then in the 10th verse, he said-For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Can I get an Amen? There is an old saying “keep the main thing the main thing” and in the church of Jesus Christ, He is the main thing because only through Him is there salvation. He is the main thing so make certain you keep Him there.
Now that I have preached and I love the privilege of doing so. Let me go to something about you and I. Something that does not change and is critical that we each get right in the days to come as the church changes.
We all, that is right ALL, have a stewardship responsibility. Let me make this clear for you. God provides all that we have and we are to be good stewards. Our job is to take care of what He provides us. That stewardship responsibility includes our tithing of the first 10th. I want to be clear here, the days of giving through the offering plate only on Sunday have faded. When we cannot go to church that does not mean our stewardship responsibility for the tithing of the first 10th has gone away. The method changes but not the necessity. The reason we need to tithe to our local church is because God said we should. I believe in storehouse giving as seen in Malachi 3:10-“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
We are to tithe to be obedient to God. When we are all obedient to God we will see it in our church having what is needed to do the work and ministry God has called it to do. You and I are the conduit between God and His church in accomplishing all He has for us to do for His glory. However, it is not about the church having money, that is simply to evidence of our faithful stewardship. It is the result of faithful service and recognition of who God is to us individually.
We all hope that sooner than later we can get back to a normal life. Note that there is a new normal coming but it will certainly release us from “sheltering in place”. Although I think that “social distancing” is going to hang around for a while. There will be other subtle differences but what is new will become normal.
Last week I asked you “all to be careful out there”. Trust you were and when I asked if you knew where that line came from Sara, Carol and Al responded. Thank you all for answering the question. They said “Hill Street Blues” and they were right, again thank you.
I look forward to sharing next week with you a thought to ponder.
In God’s Grace,