Larry Roques

Larry Roques

The Pastor's Journal of House of Joy Church

THE TRULY RELEVANT CHURCH

THE TRULY RELEVANT CHURCH

                                August 16, 2015


Matthew 16:15-19

 

“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.””
Matthew 16:15-19 NKJV

“Who do you say that I am?” It’s the question that should spark a fire in all of us who call upon the name of the Lord. For it is that divine revelation that drives us to follow this Jesus. It compels us to seek His face, to long for His presence, to maintain us until the day when we finally meet him in Glory. It should be the answer to each time we experience doubt, every time we face insurmountable odds, every time we need an answer to a problem in life. We should feel comfortable enough with our identity in Christ to say to ourselves, “Who is this Jesus we serve...and our answer should be...He is the Christ...the SON of the LIVING GOD.

I just love pseudo psychological speak, especially among those of us who identify ourselves as Christians. So now we do not talk about our faith, instead, we “dialog” about “issues” within our “belief system.” And a bigger load of horse manure has never been spotted on land. You see, there is all of this talk about being relevant. There must be relevancy to the church or the church becomes irrelevant and therefore another word sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb and that word is “dysfunctional”. Jesus did not come to die for our sins to bring relevancy to the church, he came to bring hope to the Lost; healing to the sick; life to the dead.

If we are reading the verses here in Matthew 16 correctly, we are seeing Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords say that through divine revelation, God has brought about the appearance of the Son of Man upon the earth that he might establish a spiritual place where those who find him may also be near Him and have access to his power and life that we might flourish upon the earth and that no power in Hell can in any way affect the plans that have been set in motion in heaven. Today, I want to dialog about what is relevant according to the Word of God. Putting to rest the inane distractions social correctness helps us to focus upon what is truly important where God’s divine plan is concerned. So that we can put aside all of the foolishness and concentrate upon doing his work, we must wrap our affections around what is the truly relevant church.

 

Church is a place of Impartation ...spoken into

 

Romans 1:8-12

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”
Romans 1:8-12 NKJV
From the earliest biblical times, God has always shown himself as an equipper. God placed man in the garden, created an entire world around him, gave him company...everything he needed to flourish...and even gave him a set of rules by which he could live. God imparted to Moses, Moses imparted to Joshua. The prophets imparted to hearers. Jesus imparted to disciples, Disciples to the early church, Paul imparted to Timothy. The Bible is sixty six books of impartation. It is impartation of Wisdom, History, Instruction, and even prophecy.

If the church ceases to be a place of impartation, it also ceases to be. From full congregational meetings to small one on one encounters, the church is only the church when she is sharing life and hope and the message of salvation that Jesus imparts to us. Here in Romans 1, Paul wanted desperately to get to the people at the church at Rome that he might impart spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifting is a necessity of spiritual life, just as blood is a necessity to for physical life. A church without God’s spirit is called a club. Many people belong to health clubs here in this town. They are a great place to work out...they fulfill a sociological need in our community, but they do not reach into the soul of man and change the things that linger in places we cannot treat with diet and exercise.

The church must be a place of impartation. It must be a storehouse of God’s spirit where we can draw from each other, the life that comes when we pray for one another. It must be the funnel where worship brings encouragement and power into our spirit man that we might be empowered to spread the Gospel as God intended. The relevant church does not simply deliver a packaged product. It breathes. It imparts. It does Just as Jesus did when he breathed upon the disciples and said, “receive ye the Holy Ghost”.



Implementation ...used of the Lord

 

Mark 10:42-45


“But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.””
Mark 10:42-45 NKJV

When I think of how it all started, the term “thronging crowd” comes to mind. I think of how there was a need on hillside and Jesus showed up. People were hungry and there was no food. Jesus did not go into fundraising mode. He found a kid’s lunch...a happy meal. He turned it into a loaves and fishes miracle. He knew that many only endured the sermon because there was food, but Jesus also knew that he was being used of the Father to bring about a miracle that would ignite faith and hope all over the region. The relevant church is all about implementation. It is about being used of the Lord. It’s not about padded rocking chair stadium seats; it’s about getting out of those seats and seeing your life used for something outside the scope of serving yourself.

 

James 1:27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” I think that is about as relevant as it gets. At some point, the church decided to go from being an extrovert to becoming an introverted church. It became about getting people to come to us. Thus we entered the numbers game. The success or failure of a church became connected to the population of that group. Population then presents the need for facility and that places economic burden upon the church to maintain these facilities which trap the church in that introverted mindset. The church is not the building...the church is the faithful who gather inside that building. That church must be filled with those who are not there to be served...but to serve. Pastors have ceased being fathers and have become facilitators. Remember that the work of the fivefold ministry is to serve....to equip others for the work of the ministry. The truly relevant church is a place of implementation...a place where we are used of the Lord.




Implantation ...rooted

 

Hebrews 10:19-25


“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:19-25 NKJV

 

“Busy”...it’s a word that has become way overused in present day society. We have become so busy that we have cable and satellite television that offers hundreds of channels of diversion and distraction. And if that isn’t enough, we have palm sized contraptions that can offer us any type of entertainment we desire while we are busy waiting for appointments, or a table at a restaurant, or just “busy” at home. Honestly, no one is busy unless they elect to be. New national figures came out showing that the bulk of U.S. households attend church two or less times a month. Most cite their “busy” lives as the reason. It is interesting that these figures do not mesh with other statistics that show most people in the U.S. still eating 2 or more times a day on average. The popularity of Starbucks is another interesting piece of Data showing that at least 70% of the working national population finds their way to a Starbucks at least twice a month. We spend hours of busy time in drive up lines at fast food restaurants and even more hours in line waiting to check out at big box discount stores. Church gets bumped to last place as the choice to abort from one’s schedule as having no time to go.

The truly relevant church is a place of implantation. Just as a seed must bury itself in fertile soil to see growth, fruit, and seed to replicate...so must one find...must make the time...to be in the assembly of the faithful. Without it you will die. Just as a seed cannot grow into anything on the scorching surface of an interstate highway...neither can the human soul prosper in the continual assault of the world without Christian fellowship to nurture the gifts and callings within a person. Yet the so called relevant church touts itself as the revolving door environment where you come and go as you please without concern, directly flying in the face of what Paul the Apostle said in Hebrews 10 about forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. He even warned that we were to pay special attention to this deficit as we drew closer to the return of Jesus. This is not so we can all be at our desk in our class when the principal makes the rounds...but so that we do not become crushed and decimated by a world that is making itself plain as being a hater of God.  The truly relevant church is a place of implantation. A place where we root, and grow, and flourish, and replicate.

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