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Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Friday, 24 April 2015

Church?

 
 
Philippians 2:19 "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly."
 
Recently someone asked me why we have a place to gather together called the church if Jesus is all that matters and we can talk to Him anywhere any time? It's a great question. We should just be able to connect people with Jesus and walk away. We could dispense with all the structure etc... Think of all the time and money and energy that could be saved by dismantling this huge "thing" we call "the church".
 
How we structure "the church" can always be up for discussion and tweaking but we can't get rid of it. Here's why: we're followers of Jesus. Nowhere in the Story called the Good News about an amazing God who went to the greatest of lengths to save us will you find a precedent, much less a model, for flying solo. In the very beginning God said to Adam "It is not good for man to be alone". When Jesus was here He never sent anyone out on a solo mission. His disciples were always sent out in pairs. All through the New Testament the church is compared to and described as a body - many diverse parts making up one harmonious whole.

 A thumb and an eye are different in form and function. They appear to have little in common on the surface but I wouldn't want to lose either one. In addition they are both from the same source and often work in harmony, both controlled by the same brain and fuelled by the same blood flow.
 
When Jesus assembled His 12 students we call disciples He could have chosen 12 like minded men. However He didn't. The truth is He gathered a group of politically and ideologically diverse men who fought on a regular basis. Why? Typically we gather together in groups based on sameness and distance ourselves from those who think differently. Why did Jesus do what He did?
 
Why indeed and what does all this have to do with Philippi and you and I? Group dynamics are fluid. In sports teams talk about team chemistry. They talk about the importance of having players who have good leadership skills and are good in the locker room. Guys who put team ahead of self. Guys who can rally the troops. Guys who can take and collection of individuals and help form them into a cohesive unit where each player will think of his teammate ahead of himself. They also talk about guys who are a cancer in the room. Guys who are only about themselves and create disunity by their very presence and attitude.
 
Group dynamics are fluid. They rise and fall with both circumstances and the changing makeup of the team. In Philippi the team morale is low. Paul's imprisonment and the apparent failure of the church to be "winning" against the forces of evil in the world are combining together to create a depressed defeatist attitude in the body we call the church.
 
What is Paul’s solution? He plans to send Timothy. Why Timothy? Because Timothy thinks like Paul. He's good in the "locker room". He is not affected by opposition and apparent defeat. For Paul and Timothy to live is Christ and to die is gain. This life is not to be counted or considered. We battle for Christ and if we win by losing the kingdom advances and if we win by dying the kingdom advances even more. It is a perspective that is lacking in Philippi. The body is missing a part and Timothy is that part.
 
The bottom line is that no man is an island. We need God and God designed us to need each other. If you find yourself lacking a team or on a team that is missing some parts stay close to Jesus. He will provide. He knows where you are and what you need. If the thought comes into your mind that you don't need anyone and you can fly solo just fine reject the thought. It may sound heroic but it's not from God.
 
"Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together and even more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:26
 
No man is an island and no man stands alone. Church means "the called out ones". Called out of individualism and selfishness into teamwork and self sacrifice. Called to create the image of God together!

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