Are you a disciple of Christ, or are you a hanger-on, who only follows for the miracles? (ref. John 6:26)
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)
The consistent error of “God’s People” has been to interpret God’s word in the flesh, that is, to see God’s meaning as relating to the physical world, and in that interpretation, failing to see the spiritual message and spiritual meaning. For example, when we look at the apostolic church in Acts, we see it as a model for the church today. We try to force the physical existence of the church today into the mold we see in scripture and we fail again and again. But the model has a spiritual aspect that doesn’t require us to sell all our worldly goods and give the proceeds to the church, or to live together in commune, as monks, or to eat our meals as progressive dinners each day, or to gather as the larger church, every day, for worship and study of the word, as if we were a cult.
The more powerful, spiritual message, is telling us to be His church in every aspect of our lives, that is, to be the Body of Christ, with the resources God has given us and to be such every day of the week in every place that we find ourselves. We are called to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ, first, and then to meet the needs of the world beyond, only as God directs us to do so.*
For example, we are called to hospitality, that is, to provide shelter and care for those among our brothers and sisters as their need may arise, and then for the traveler, (the homeless), as God directs *, not necessarily in our own homes, though our hearts should be open to the possibility.
God calls us to form our lives around Christ each and every day, all through the day, in prayer, worship and meditation on His word.
“But I can’t spend all day in prayer and worship,” you say.
I would dispute that, but for now my advice is to begin right where you stand, “Stop and Pray!” Give God praise, offer thanks for some small thing, pray for some circumstance. Do you have a prayer life at all, or do you prefer someone else to do your praying for you, perhaps only on Sunday? It won’t work that way if you are truly His disciple. Set aside a time today and pray. Do it regularly, every day and as you grow in the Spirit, you will find that you can continue prayer long after you rise from your knees. Continuing in prayer this way will become easier and easier, and soon you will recognize that you are in a conversation with God, that you can talk to Him about anything, about your successes, your failures, your needs and any other aspect of your life.
God wants to have this conversation with you. He wants you to learn to hear his voice also, to understand His desire and His plan for your life each day. He wants you to grow in His grace and develop an awareness and concern for His Kingdom and its place and priority in your life and in the world around you.*
Worship, it turns out, can be most effective in work. Put another way, work can easily be an effective form of worship; it is in fact, or, at least it should be. Not only did Jesus model this for us in the scriptures, but many examples come to mind from the church’s early history. One modern example is found in the roots of Negro spirituals, many of which were created and sung. in the midst of brutal working conditions, as a form of prayer and worship, a dependence on God, conforming one’s heart and circumstances to God’s will, setting a rhythm for the work, unifying the workers in practice of becoming One with God, that is, the Body of Christ, unity, becoming One with God.
Be in daily meditation on His word. Throughout history God has provided the means to promote and enhance the study of His word. The early church had no choice but to gather in large community to study and meditate on Gods word because copies of Holy Scriptures were rare and often guarded by elitist priests and rabbis. But, as time and technology allowed, the Bible has become ubiquitous and more accessible to every person in the world, in nearly every language. I have two Bibles on my phone and every form of translation and interpretation available, via the Internet. Therefore, I have no excuse for not having a time daily dedicated to its prayerful reading and understanding. As a matter of fact, we are all without excuse, as the Apostle Paul informs us in Romans 1:20b..
In summation, the True Church cannot exist for two hours on Sunday and then disappear into the Kingdoms of The World. To do so is not The Church, it’s rather, some sort of hybrid religious priesthood leading people astray. The True Church exists within The Kingdom of God, in the presence of the world, each hour of every day. It must be lived out in our daily routines as The Way, The Truth and The Life that Jesus intended it to be. You and I need to be The Church every moment, in every circumstance, every day. It is both our privilege and our duty.
The Church exists within us and is made powerful whenever and wherever two, or more are gathered in His name. The church is the glue that binds us together in every partnership of life, but, even when we are alone, we are two, in partnership with Christ. The Church of Two, CO2, is where church begins, in our own hearts, worshiping, discipling, meditating on His word, ministering in fellowship and prayer, each and every day of the week. Only then will we be prepared for larger, corporate worship on Sunday and perhaps, on Sunday, in unity of purpose, guided by the Holy Spirit, we will see the model of Christ, that He worshiped in good works, telling those who knew only religion, and nothing of God, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” (John 5:17)
I pray that the church of the third millennium will be a Church of Two, a working church and not one that sleeps all week, waking only for two hours on Sunday, “lukewarm.”