Holding Forth The Word Of Life.
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Many churches today perform well enough without Christ -- the choir still sings, the preacher still preaches, parishoners still tithe and gather for Bible study, and potluck fundraisers supplement church funds. And only occasionally does anyone pause long enough to wonder where -- in all this religious activity -- Christ has gone.
Something about the very nature of modern Christianity has pushed Christ to a place on the sidelines. In fact, in many churches, Christ is given kind words and that's about it.
You could try to imagine what would happen if professing Christians would en masse invite Christ back into their churches. You could try to picture hundreds of Christian churches rediscovering Christ's teachings and reinventing their churches to match the New Testament pattern.
Needless to say, that would be an exciting development.
But ultimately, if Christ is to be invited back into Christianity at all, He must be welcomed back on a very personal level. In other words, regardless of what the churches around you do, you - personally - must open your own life completely to Him and allow Him to set the terms of everday living.
Perhaps you have confessed your sins to Jesus; you must also commit your life to Him for His direction. Do not stop with receiving Him -- obey Him. Do not merely reverence Him -- follow Him. Without this, your Chrisitanity will always be little more than a form or a theology. (Not to mention that your church will continue to be a place where Jesus is figure head, not Lord.)
The real crisis in western Christianity is that so many claim Christ, but so few know and obey Him. In this enviroment, do you have the moral courage to become a sold-out disciple of Jesus? Will you enter into a covenant commitment with Jesus? Are you ready to commit to doing His will regardless of the cost? Will you embrace His kingdom at the expense of the kingdom of this world with its wealth, prestige and fashion? Will you covenant with other believers who are dead serious about following Him?
In short, will you abandon yourself to Him?
Your church may never invite Christ back into Christianity, but you can. You could endlessly criticize professing churches - and you could find lots to criticize. You could wait a lifetime for the church to invite Christ back into Christianity.
But ultimately, the issue comes back to you. What will you do with Jesus? Will you simply profess Christ? Or will you follow Him?
Jesus said, "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. . . . " But "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
It is your decision.
- Arlin Weaver
Inviting Christ Back Into Chrisitanity