February 19, 2011

Lifeblood Part II

What happens to the life of a body once discipleship is compromised, or dilluted.  Discipleship is the lifeblood of the Body!  If you do not have discipleship, you do not have a Body church.  You may have a great community of people, but it isn't the Body of Christ.   The Body of Christ is, before anything else, the redeemed of the Lord.  The redeemed of the Lord are, before anything else, those who have been made disciples of Christ by accepting His call on their life.  You can have people gather together in the name of Christ without being a part of the body of Christ.  Christ said that many people would honor Him with their lips, but not give Him their hearts.  Being a disciple is not about promulgating His teachings or claiming to belong to Him.  It is much, much more.


If you have compromised discipleship, there is a body, but what you have is a decaying body!  The problem is, in a decaying body, members don't know that the body is decaying.  The members in a decaying body mistake activity for vitality.  It would be like walking into a morgue and seeing a cadaver suddenly twitch one of its limbs, or release what sounds like a long breath.  It happens quite often due to various biological processes having ceased.  To confuse the activity for life however, would prove to be a monumental mistake.


In Revelations 2, Jesus speaks to the Church in Ephesus:
"1"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: 'The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.







 2 "'I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent."


Do you know where the Church of Ephesus is today?  Nowhere.  It was eradicated by the will of God through the hands of men, because...what did He say would be the reason?  


 "But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent."
They forgot the love that drove them in the beginning.  They became busy ministers, but their hearts were wrong, despite their good works.  The King of Kings said repent or be removed.  The Church in Ephesus was destroyed less than a century later.

How many churches today think their busy activity and endless ministries are proof of godliness and righteousness?  Jesus said, repent of your fallen motivation (business and pride) and get back to works based from the right motivation (the first love, serving and glorifying God by exalting Christ in the power of the Spirit).

There is a lesson for us today.  We can serve in the name of Jesus and accomplish great things, but Christ desires the Body to serve in the design of His headship, and in His power.  It is a dangerous place to be when the love of fellow man trumps the love of God's glory and sovereignty and turns our focus inward to our own designs and the false security of our abilities.

Many people say that you can't stop a train once it has picked up enough speed.
Nonsense!
Jesus does it all the time.  He asks us to do it before He has to so that He can display His glory through our fidelity, obedience, humility, and dependence.

We live in a country that is planting less churches every year than it is closing and some cry that this is a catastrophe.   The real catastrophe is that fewer churches are willing to humble themselves to say, "we have been wrong" and change course to save that local body.

Discipleship is the lifeblood of the Church.  Disciples are those who grow through discipline.  Those who grow are the ones who allow themselves to be trained by it (Hebrews 5:14; 12:11).

I pray for your church.  I pray for you if you are reading this, that you may be one of His true disciples and that His Church will be alive where you are because of it!

With you for His Glory-