If you’ve been active in the church, involved in ministry (at any level) for any length of time, and have a deep passion for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ – then you know without a doubt that the battle against Christianity has seen an intensive escalation. There is no cause for alarm and by no means am I being “negative” or “pessimistic” about it. God is leading and guiding and directing His Church in new ways and with new methods, utilizing His timeless message and truth. It is in times of persecution and attack that the Kingdom expands, furthers, and multiplies that much more. Just look at archives of Church History. It demonstrates this pattern over and over again. Perhaps its because in these most troubled times, we pray, we fast, we worship, and we serve with even greater faith and expectation not of what we can do, but what God can do through us. So despite what we see and what may be most visible to our eyes, our Hope is in Jesus Christ and in Him alone.
A beautiful living portrait to behold surrounds the link/linkage of the church to the lives of the people who are the church. It is linkage (i.e.connection) that keeps people, regardless of age, demographics, life position, etc. centered and focused on the Mission and on the heart and mind of Christ. But to be linked and connected, we have to be, and remain, teachable. That is, we have to understand and grasp the fact that we are disciples (i.e., students) on the same journey, partnering together for Team Jesus. He is the Teacher and He alone is our Guide. Together, we are His disciples who learn, grow, apply, and become better, not bitter. I remember an old analogy by my Pastor years ago, who made a statement this way: We have the choice as a Christian to be a ripe apple or an old prune. Make no mistake: we must be the ripe apple. Do whatever it takes to be a ripe apple.
In this world and in the culture we live and dwell in, with information that comes in near instantaneous fashion 24/7, linkage is essential to the Body of Christ. In other words, it is impossible to be connected to Christ and be removed (or distant) from His body, The Church. It is His Church and He Himself is building it, even in the present. As such, it is impossible and simply downright ridiculous to say to God, “I accept Your Son, Jesus, as Lord of my life, but I don’t feel as if I need or desire His Church.” The link to Jesus as Lord positions us to be a part of His Church.
The Church is not perfect. God knows we humans are involved and active within its work. Yet, He still designed the Church to be His mouthpiece, His hands and feet, and His heartbeat to a world that would rather just reject it and ignore it. With the help and direction of the Holy Spirit, we go, we make, we baptize, and we teach under His authority and will. This is His desire for us: to be linked to one another and vigorously focused on seeing others come to a saving faith. Not an artificial, hollow, empty belief – but to a faith that is linked (connected) to God, to His supernatural power, and to the Church. The link is not negotiable or open to a counter offer. We are to be linked to a local body, family, community of believers that works out what God has worked in (that’s actually an Oswald Chambers’ quote). There are to be no lone-rangers or vigilantes, but rather, a team.
Friends, we are linked to one another in the bond of love. Not a love defined by the world or the systems of the world, but a love that is exemplified in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself up for us (Romans 8, vv.31-32). Let’s take the linkage seriously and with the passion that He so deserves. We are linked and connected, and we must ensure that it builds up the body in both spirit and in truth for the work of God’s Kingdom. After all, He is most worthy of our very best! Better Together!