Knowing Him is Knowing His Church

thechurchAt the start of 2015 I set out to seek the Lord Jesus in a much greater and more organized way.  I did this by answering 7 questions about him and categorizing the endless answers.  I have two 40,000+ word documents still growing and I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface about the Lord Jesus Christ.

I think when anyone sets out to study him they are naturally moved to study the church, it is a natural and unavoidable progression.  This is because Jesus Christ is attached to his church, we are his body on earth.  Christ in us and we in him, a mutual outpouring.  Any comprehensive study of Jesus Christ inevitably leads to a study of his church, theologians call this ‘ecclesiology’.  Similarly, as we grow in understanding of him we naturally must grow in understanding of the church.  Jesus Christ is inseparable from his people, we are inside of him.  We are not his fan base, we are not his groupies, we are not those who simply study him as a topic.  We are his members, we are inside of him and he inside of us.

Christ in you the hope of glory. (Col 1:27)

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3)

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. (Col 3:4)

…he gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph 1:22-23)

For many, study of the practices, tactics and philosophies seen in most modern churches leads to difficult conclusions. It forces one to come face to face with some difficult realities.  Realities which can provoke one to speak out and want to call people out.   It is one thing to know about the problems of the church as if it were just an intellectual topic, it is another thing to emotionally react to them to share the Lord’s heart on the matter.  It is convenient to not care and call it unity, it is difficult however to deeply care with the Spirit and try to effect change.

I find studies of Jesus Christ to be wonderful, fulfilling, deeply and inexplicably satisfying.  However when I study the church, (both what Jesus and the apostles set up and openly taught) and I compare this to what we do in church meetings, what we as a people demand from our pastors, it quickly becomes frustrating and painful.

Painful because I see traditions built around something pure and holy and flawless which misrepresent the Lord to the world, painful also because the idea of changing the mindset of people appears almost impossible.  It’s difficult for me to not become openly cynical and critical about the status quo.  Critical about the places Christians are led and about the lack of spiritual preparation for what may be coming.  However, critical cynicism helps no one and changes nothing.

Jesus himself does not react to us with critical cynicism so why should we?

Jesus is building his church, Jesus is cleansing his bride, Jesus is forgiving anyone who comes to him, Jesus acts merciful to his people while he corrects and molds.  So for those in whom he dwells (like myself) there is no other reaction to have but his reaction.