There Is No Such Thing as the Perfect Church

Friday, May 18, 2012

There is no such thing as the perfect church.

I've been rolling that phrase around in my head for days now, and it suddenly all came to a head in my Bible study time today.

I know so many of you whom have told me that you just can't find a church that you like or that you feel welcome in. I get it. I understand. It literally took us years to feel at home and comfortable in our church.

But it's our own fault. We walked in expecting perfect people in an imperfect world. We are sinners. All of us. Christian or not, we are all constantly battling sin in our lives. We are sinners by nature. And yes, we are saved by grace when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, but that doesn't make us perfect.

A lot of people have a spear to throw at Christians because we often claim to believe one thing and then act in another way. It's true. We do it all the time. And it's because we know and understand the way we should act and live but often fall short of even the expectations we set for ourselves.

The church is simply a body of believers all striving to be more like Christ day in and day out. We all fall, we all sin, and we all fail to meet expectations. The physical building of the church is just that.....a physical building. The name on the outside isn't what makes it a church. It's the sinners on the inside that make it a church.

But our expectations of what a church should be are often too high. We want the church to serve us, to save us, to be the foundation for our lives. In reality, we, as believers, are the church. We are supposed to serve. We are supposed to save. We are supposed to be the foundation.

I love Peter's words in 1 Peter 2:4-10. He says this about Christians:
4 As you come to Him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him—5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.6 For in Scripture it says:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in Him
will never be put to shame."
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
"The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,"
8 and,
"A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall."
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
In this passage, Christ is referred to as the Cornerstone. The beginning of the church and all that we as Christ followers believe.

Peter refers to believers as "living stones"....part of the spiritual church built where no one person or one thing would be able to tear down its walls.

You see, the church is not a building. It's a group of believers (living stones) who have been added to the multitude of other stones laid generations before them to build something stronger than brick and mortar.....something that no one would be able to destroy.

But just because we are part of this spiritual building that Christ has built, doesn't mean we won't be free of sin or disappointment. We will fall short of perfection every single day for the rest of our lives. We were not made for this world. And we cannot live in it with any semblance of victory without a relationship with the cornerstone....Jesus Himself.

We cannot expect for a church to ever be perfect. A church, made up of imperfect people, will never live up to the expectations that we may have of it.

We have to remember that if we are believers in Christ, we are the church. We are the the people who are supposed to serve, lead, and steward others. That doesn't mean that you should shy away from getting plugged into a church. It means that you should absolutely be plugged into a church...serve in a church.....give in a church.  But don't expect perfection from a church. People will sin. The devil will attack, and people you love will be deceived. But as a living stone of Christ's church, you have to persevere. Perfection can only be found in one place. He was tempted and tried and never faltered. Jesus is the only perfect one. On Him we should lean. On Him we should place our trust. And through Him should we serve His church.

{Thanks Ms. Beth for another very timely and necessary lesson for my's post came from ideas and writings in Beth Moore's James Mercy Triumphs study....week 7 day 4.}

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household,20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 280 of a year of writing..... 

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