Posted by: pastordarren | February 9, 2010

Chosen People of God

The surveys show it, the experts talk about it, and the attendance proves it – people are not as committed to the church as they were in the past.  We talk about the need for people to fill the seats and the positions on the board; to be a part of the education ministry and the small groups; to participate in the activities and programs that are apart of church life.  But what are we being committed to?  As I look around the church (in general) I see less people doing more and they say they are getting tired – or are they getting board.  Bored with the status quo and just filling positions and doing activities.  Maybe that is why people keep saying that we need new and exciting programs to get people excited and involved in the life of the church, but you know as well as I do that soon the excitement and newness wears off and we are bored once again.

How do we get beyond this?  How do we move from boredom and “programmed excitement”, to truly living and being the Body of Christ?  Read below what Peter has to say about this (especially the bolded text).

1 Peter 2:4-12  As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”  So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Peter deals with two basic topics here – the centrality of Christ and the call upon and position of believers.  Both of these are important and interconnected.  Many times when we are a part of the church, we are seen (overtly or not) as “pieces that keep the church alive”, cogs in a machine.  This is the wrong way to look at the church and our place in it.  How would our perspective change, how would our energy be channeled, how would our focus be different (as individuals and the church as a whole) if we were to know in our heart and head and live out that belief that we are a chosen priesthood and holy nation.  It is not up to the hired hand or those who take on leadership positions to do the ministry.  It is not up to us to keep the church alive or open.  We are called as a people who have received mercy to share that mercy with others.  We are called to be a holy people called by God out of darkness into the light and then to shine God’s light for others.  That is exciting to know that God uses us to touch the lives of people where they are and not just to keep the church building open and functioning.  Our task is to remain faithful and live as God’s chosen people.  We do this by keeping our focus on the centrality of Jesus.

I am reminded of kids on summer vacation who begin with such great enthusiasm but get drawn into the mundane activities and ruts of watching TV, sleeping, video games and then say that they are board and there is nothing to do.  They get bogged down with the mundane and forget about the exciting and world that awaits them outside.  We in the church have gotten bogged down by the mundane tasks, the rules and positions, the maintenance of the structure (physical and governance) and even those that are meant to be engaging and energizing have become monotonous and we are bored.  We have forgotten about the exciting world that awaits us as we are faithful and live out the truth that we are God’s people called for His service.  We are called to “go into the world” yet we prefer to stay in our walls and expect people to come to us.  That worked in another time.  I don’t think it works now.

Are you committed to the church because you think you have to in order to keep in open and functioning?  This is maintenance of the institutional church.  Are you committed to God’s call on your life to be a holy people chosen to live in this world in faithful ways that show the mercy we have received and call others to God’s light?  This is the true nature of the faith and God’s call to His Body, the church.

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Responses

  1. I think as a whole, we are committed to the task of running the church. In our busyness of that, we have lost sight of our call to build the kingdom of God. We don’t do that through committees, boards and structure. We do that through loving each other, supporting each other, and showing the world who Jesus is. We may love and support our fellow christians at church. But, our call is to go outside of those walls and show that love to the rest of the world.
    The hurting outside of church are not interested in our traditions, our religious speak, or our boards and committees. They are looking for a way to heal their pain, a source of hope to get them through another difficult day. That has to come from us offering them the same grace, mercy, and love that Christ has offered to us. It is through those acts that we will begin to build the kingdom of God. To see that in action would truly be something exciting.


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