This video has been floating around Facebook lately. Give it a spin, read my comments, then make some of your own.
Well produced and well said.
Scripturally, he’s right about self-righteousness. Politically, Jesus isn’t a Democrat either. Culturally, he clearly articulates why so many people are disenfranchised by religion.
I’ve heard people say, “I like Jesus, but don’t like the church.” If what they mean is religion, I’m right there with them. Religion is a fish out of water trying to teach a drowning man to breath.
There is a difference between the Church and religion. By Church I don’t mean a denomination, building or system of organization. I mean the Church described in the Bible. That Church is the body and bride of Christ. Saying, “I like Jesus, but don’t like the church,” is like telling your friend, “You’re great, but your wife is hideous!” It’s like telling someone, “I find you attractive. You don’t sweat much for a fat boy.”
The Church is what forms when Believers come together. It has a universal expression because of our unity in Christ. It’s why I can go to an underground church in China without being able to speak the language and still experience sweet fellowship with complete strangers as we worship together in spirit and truth.
The Church also has a local expression. When Believers assemble on the local level they are committing to God and one another. They are saying, “This is the place and these are the people I want to grow with, be accountable to, and partner with in ministry.” Anytime people come together there has to be some level of organization. Where and when will we meet? What will we do while we’re together? How will we decide what to do when we disagree? And the most important question of all, who’s making coffee!?
Like people, each of these local bodies of Believers has a personality. Some churches are very formal in their organization, others more free. Some are focused in their mission and methods while others try everything under the sun. None of these organizational expressions is Biblically superior to the other. The Bible gives remarkably few details about the day-to-day operations of the local church. However, the Bible speaks clearly about how Believers are to relate to one another and to people outside their fellowship. It’s almost like Scripture tells us, “How you do what you do is more important than the structures you use to do it.”
The reason churches, and people, fall into religion is because we value our structures and systems, our own opinions, more than our relationships. We choose to walk in self righteousness rather than risk getting too deeply involved in the glorious mess that is people. We ignore the Scriptures that command us to relate to one another in a spirit of mutual submission out of mutual respect. We forget the language of repentance and forgiveness with one another and refuse to recognize the one truth that ties us all together – we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Anytime people get together mistakes will be made. People will fail. It’s not a question of, ‘if’, but ‘when’, and how bad it will be. How we handle those moments defines the difference between dead religion and a living relationship with Christ and one another.
Religion – or the church – are easy targets. We blame the nameless, faceless, ‘they’ and ‘them’ for all the reasons why we don’t participate with other Believers. When will we recognize that the church is not ‘they’.
The church is me, with you, learning how we can honor God together.
Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”