Whose Dwelling is your Church?

The Living Stone is defined as a dwelling! Dwellings need to be cared for, maintained, preserved, and, of course, used. His dwelling is where we can take rest and comfort out of the “weather” of life, and then regroup, recharge, and go out into the world with His Word in our hearts, attitudes, and minds.

The incredible news of this is we still remain in His dwelling. When we go out, we are still inside His presence and care. His Living Stone is also the mobile Stone; thus, wherever we go, we are still under His shelter and care, no matter where we are or what we face.

When we care for Him, we are being “acceptable to God” (Rom. 15:14-16; 1 Pet. 2:5). God accepts us by His sacrifice for our sins (Heb.13: 15-16). Because of His work, we are complete in Him, we are deeply loved and accepted, and we do not need acceptance by any other person or means to be fulfilled (Col. 1:21-22; 2:13-15; James 1:4; 1 John 4:9-11)! 

The cornerstone in building construction was of the highest quality, and cut in precision to the design. It was either the top cap of an arch or the corner of the foundation, each one critical to design integrity and stability. If we guide our church incorrectly or without the pursuit of excellence and holiness, the structure—the purpose of His Church—will not be built accurately and might fail. The matter of choosing how we see and use our Cornerstone is essential to where we are going in our faith both personally and collectively. Do not go astray; do not compromise to please anyone, or your church will be the Church of Perfidy! 

The propose of the Church is to know Christ, encounter Him, worship Him, grow in Him, and then, when we leave those physical doors, make Him known to others. We cannot let our pride, petty whims, and trends derail us from our core principles distilled from biblical precepts.

The bottom line is that we must be willing and able to get rid of anything that contradicts or compromises the Word of God! It is OK to search and use insights from varying sources. In fact, that is what we do here at Into Thy Word as we research and develop curriculum to help you grow closer to Him personally, and run your church more biblically for His glory. However, it is never too late to repent and turn your church around! I have made many mistakes, personally. I have followed bad trends and have started some. I have been prideful and perhaps broken all of the above precepts from time to time. But, God is a God of grace and forgiveness; He still uses me, and He will use you, too. However, we can be better. Let us be willing to grow in Him and serve Him in love and faithfulness, setting aside our pride and will; then our churches will be healthy and vibrant for His wondrous glory!

 

The Slippery Slope P XIII

 

Is Jesus Lord or are Culture and Trends “Lord?” 

This indicates the replacing of biblical thinking and teaching with the latest trends in church growth, or ministry models that are not Christ-centered. This can come from outright rejection of His Lordship to a weakening of it, such as liberalism. And, it usually comes in to the Conservative Evangelical and Reformed churches as embarrassment to proclaim Him boldly, or as the embracing of weak ministry models. Perhaps, we fear reprisal from liberal-minded people, or even misguided fellow Christians, if we are fundamental (as in from convictions with his Truth) in our approach. So, we keep to ourselves and no one knows who we are either at work or in our own families. His Way is not being lived out. This also comes to us by our thinking that we are being relevant and accepting, when we are actually betraying his Lordship. 

Yes, we can be relevant and not compromise! We are to be real and accepting but not compromising; a line must be drawn to which we must be held.

If this is not so in the leadership, they must be stepped down, then trained and discipled. The leadership must set the example to model His Way in humility, servant hood, and in the boldness to exercise discipline when necessary. There is never a call to be offensive to others; rather, we are to be bold in His Fruit. Make sure, if you follow any models or trends, that they are biblical and not compromising or you will have a Church of Perfidy!

The Slippery Slope P XII

Does Your Church Buy into the Relativism of Your Culture?  

Does your church teaching or ministry model consider that Jesus is just a way but not the Way? He is to be THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life (John 14-15; Acts 4:12). What about teaching that there are no right or wrong absolutes, therefore neglecting morals and virtue? What about trying to be so careful not to offend anyone that we do not say anything to convict or to instruct?

How can a person be challenged to grow if we do not redirect his or her path in love, and, when needed, call a spade a spade? What about the embracing of sin, saying it is OK in an attempt to show love and acceptance?

This might include embracing homosexuality and saying it is OK. We are called to reach out to all those who are in any kind of sin, including homosexuals, but at the same time, we are not to accept the sin. We are to care and love and show them Christ without compromising morality or His precepts. What about failing to confront people in sin or to condemn the sins of our culture? We must live by example as well as point out errors—not only in our church but also in our society (Exodus 20:1-17; Rom. 1:16-32; 1 Cor. 6:9). We must be careful here, as we can easily slip off His Cornerstone and become a Church of Perfidy!

The Slippery Slope P XI

Are you Watering Down His Word with Trends and the Ideas of Men? 

Perhaps not, you think. What about the preaching in your church? Is it Christ-centered or human-centered? Are you being seeker sensitive yet not communicating Christ’s Sovereignty and Lordship, His holiness and Supremacy (Col.1)?

Are psychology and the over-use of illustrations and stories taking the place of expository preaching?

There is nothing wrong with using the insights of science and behavioral science, as long as we come clean with the veracity of sin and personal responsibility. Are you just teaching popular topics that please people rather than going through the Scriptures verse by verse, thus not teaching? A church does not have to be liberal to water down the Word; it is done in conservative churches all of the time by the neglect of it! If your preaching is weak from a biblical standpoint, you have a Church of Perfidy!

The Slippery Slope P X

If you think your church is ok, consider these points:  

Does Your Church have a Weak Bible? 

Maybe you think not. But, does your church teach that the Bible is not inerrant or inspired? God’s Word is for faith, practice, and is to be our authority for all that we do. Is God’s Word central to the everyday life and happenings at your church?

If not, then books, movies, and philosophy or psychology will take its place such as Bible studies started to study someone’s book (Can I say that is ok if it is one of my books? Oh, I guess not.), and not one of the 66 God has given, taking the words of men over the words of God. Of course it is ok to read and use good Christian books, curriculums, study helps, and such, as long as the Bible is studied first and foremost.

Make sure that any programs of study, even those of ITW, are used only as an addendum alongside God’s Word. His Word is the authority and not some other book. If your church thinking or ministry model takes the words of mere men and uses that to supersede or replace His Word, this is apostasy in action. If your Bible is weak, you have a Church of Perfidy!

How is your Churches Alignment?

Psalm 118:18-27; Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20 

The church is more than a building. In fact, a church is not a building at all. Rather, it originates with the people being supported on the footer of our Lord and Savior. If we are off in our alignment with Christ, then we are off in all other things, too. Thus, we become a Church of Perfidy. This puts our church in a really perilous position in Him, with one another, and in the community. The perfidy of a church means a betrayal of a trust of who Christ is and what He calls us to do. If our church is not lined up to Him and in His Word, and is not practicing His call and precepts, we will start to fall off the “plumb line” of His foundation and cornerstone. Remember, even a small fraction of an inch off center or off level will cause a building to be ruined. So it is with how we run our churches. When we stray from Him, everything that comes from our church will stray, too. We are called to be “plumb” in Christ. A plumb line is a length of rope from which a metal weight is suspended on the bottom end. This allows the earth’s center of gravity to hold the rope in a perpendicular, vertical line to make sure the building that is being erected is “straight” and “plumb.” This simple device has been used for thousands of years and is still a valuable tool today. If you place studs or stones upon a foundation that is not perfectly level or if you do not use a plumb line, then the walls will not be straight and will not join up with the other walls and be a safe haven. Can you see the parallels here from construction to the practice of our faith and how we lead a church?  

Being off a small fraction will cause a much greater loss down the road. If we start to follow trends, ideas, teachings that are not from God’s Word or are not clearly distilled from His precepts, then the running of our church will be skewed because our “direction-finding” is skewed. 

In navigation, if you are off a fraction of a degree from your course heading at your start, then a few hundred miles away you will be many miles off your mark. This type of error brought down the passenger jet, Korean Air 007 in 1983, when the then Soviets shot the 747 airliner down as it mistakenly veered over their airspace. Conspiracy theories aside, it was concluded that the 747 pilots put the wrong heading in the autopilot. They were off a very small degree that slowly ventured the airliner off its course and the instrument guiding system, ending the lives of the 240 passengers and 29 crewmen and crewwomen aboard. When our churches start to veer off His path even a fraction, down the road it can escalate to heresies or complacency that will lead the people with whom God entrusted us astray. This 747, after flying over sensitive areas, was shot out of the sky by MIG fighters. Take heed. When we veer off God’s path, we too will be held accountable (Matt. 16:27; Acts 2:22-24, 36; 3:13-15; 5:30-32; 7:51-53; Rom. 2:6; 14:12-13; Gal. 6:1-5; Eph. 6:21; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Rev 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).

What Type of Foundation Does Your Church Have?

What Type of Foundation Does Your Church Have?  

1 Kings 5:1 to 9:9; 2 Chronicles 3:3 to 5:1; 6:1-7:22; Psalm 118:18-27; 127:1; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-10 

The foundation of your church will set up the attitude and theme of your church. Thus we need to ask, is our church lined up properly to its foundation? Do you realize that if it is not, your church building will fall off of it? Your church building, if not properly erected on good foundation “footers,” will fail and perhaps collapse upon the congregation, literally. In constituting a building  whether it be a church, an office, or a home–it is absolutely essential that the footers of the foundation are perfectly level and plumb. Footer is a very large block of concrete that is placed in the soil below a building that is being erected. This footer is part of the building’s foundation, which supports the load-bearing portion of the building. Its prime purpose is to prevent the structure from moving or sinking. Footers also provide a stable base upon which the rest of the building is built. If these footers are not lined up correctly, off even as much as a fraction of an inch, then each piece of the building to come afterward will not fit or line up with the other. If we are not personally lined up to Christ, then everything we do will be skewed and will not fit, including relationships, activities, outreach, and the day-to-day activities of a church. All will be off-center and flawed because our alignment is off from Christ who is our Foundation. 

How is your Churches Foundation?  

Is it made from the precepts of the will of man or from God’s Word and Will?

There is something much more important than the foundation materials and placement in constructing a church or in navigational procedures, and that is the understanding of who and what the “cornerstone” is. A cornerstone was a large stone laid at the foundation of stone buildings prior to the 1950s to be a “footer” and to “plumb” the rest of the building so it was square and secure. This cornerstone was the first stone, usually an exceptionally large one, placed above ground on top of stones placed underground at the beginning of the northeast corner of the building. This was essential to the structure of the building. These buildings were laid with cut stones, interlocked by gravity and force and without mortar. They were stacked stone on top of stone, all relying and leaning on one another. Many such structures have lasted for many millennia. Without proper stone placement, buildings in the ancient world would not have lasted long or would have fallen during construction. Here, we have an image of how our Lord is our Cornerstone (Psalm 118:18-27; Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20).