In MUST THERE BE CHOICE BETWEEN GOD AND GOVERNMENT? — PART 3, we considered the Christian nature of the American experiment of government. In that post, I argued that Christians must work to make certain their government reflects their values. Nevertheless, government does not exist to force people to become Christians or even to behave like Christians. Instead, government exists so that we each have the rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Church Versus State
The church is where Christians organize to do the work Christ Jesus gave us to do. Often, because others have no compunction against using the power of government to get their way, the Christian church exists in opposition to the state. Christian churches do not seek conflict with the state. Conflict arises because Christians recognize God as the supreme authority, that whatever conflicts with the commands of God is wrong. Unfortunately, much of the human race opposes the commands of God.
What Is The Church?
What is The Church? Here is a good definition.
The Church is the “body of believers.” It is comprised of those who have been saved and redeemed by the True and Living God, based upon the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus upon the cross. Inclusion in the Body of Christ is not by membership in a denomination, nor by baptism, nor or by dedication. It is not received by ritual, or by ceremony, or by natural birth. It is received by faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8). The invisible church is the church made up of true believers. The visible church consists of those who say they are Christian but may or may not be truly saved. Being a member of a church on earth, guarantees nothing. Being a member of the Body of Christ, guarantees salvation. (continued here)
Who Is The Head Of The Church?
Christ’s reign in His Church is that of a shepherd-king. He has supremacy, but it is the superiority of a wise and tender shepherd over his needy and loving flock; He commands and receives obedience, but it is the willing obedience of the well-cared-for sheep, rendered joyfully to their beloved Shepherd, whose voice they know so well. He rules by the force of love and the energy of goodness. (continued here)
What Is The Work Of The Church?
So, what had He instructed them? In Acts 1:4, He had instructed them to return to Jerusalem and await the empowering of the Holy Spirit. He elaborated further in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus issued this instruction, “ And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (from here)
What Is My Role Within The Church?
From the time we get up each morning until we go to bed, we each have responsibility for the choices of only one person. That is true of everyone. What makes a Christian different?Non-Christians can see the evidence of God in His Creation, hear the voice of their conscience responding to the moral law He has placed in their hearts, and can feel the gaping hole in their hole in their being that only God can fill, but only Christians have the whole Word of God.
Matthew 4:4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
As Christians — when accept Christ as our savior — we live by God’s Word. We then can become one with the Body of Christ, His church.
Romans 12:3-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
Serve God with Spiritual Gifts
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
We are all members of one body, and Christ is the head. When other Christians are joyful, Christs has commanded to share their joy. When other Christians are in pain, Christ has commanded us to share their agony. That is our incentive to share our gifts, whatever they might be, with each other. That is our incentive to remember our brothers and sisters, especially those suffering for Christ’s sake, both near and far away.
God, help me not to mistake my passions and Your universal purposes. I know that there are certain things that should be part of every Christian’s DNA. There are other things that are gifts You have given to some. Give me the wisdom to recognize the difference and to be willing to give ground on the latter while holding tightly to the former. Help me to use and foster my gifts, but even more help me to walk in love and unity with Your Body. (from here)
As the Body of Christ, He calls upon us to work together in love for His glory. This above all is how we glorify Him.
John 13:34-35 New King James Version (NKJV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”