We have been hearing a great deal of talk about a government shutdown and the implications it would have upon us and the world. Have you thought about what would happen if there was a church shutdown? The Bible tells us that God planned that the church should make known “the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph. 3:9-10). If the church were to shutdown, what would happen to the influence of the Gospel?
WHAT ABOUT THE GOSPEL’S INFLUENCE UPON OUR FAMILIES?
The local church is the greatest aid to the family the world will ever know. Every parent should agree that “I have no greater joy than to hear my children walk in the truth (3 Jn. 4). This is the chief goal of every right thinking Christian parent. Colossians 1:28 says, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
We can see the painful results of families dying without the influence of the Gospel. What happened to the family in our country? How did the home fall apart? The home left the church. Jesus described perfectly what happened to the home in Matthew 13. The cares of the world and the deceitfulness of sins have put a strangle hold on the religious fervor of the home.
How can we restore the home? We must repent/reform. Jesus said, “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). That not only applies to me, it also applies to my family.
WHAT ABOUT THE GOSPEL’S INFLUENCE UPON OUR COMMUNITY?
The local church is the greatest asset to any community. We have seen church buildings move out of the middle of town into the suburbs, and now we are seeing church buildings being moved completely out of sight. Look at this sobering example cited by http://www.manhattan-institute.org/email/crd_newsletter12-07.html:
What would New York neighborhoods be like without their churches and synagogues? If current development trends continue, New Yorkers will soon find out. Nearly every neighborhood in every borough is anchored by a house of worship. Yet many of the most historic and beautiful ones are crumbling, due to soaring maintenance costs, changing demographics, and declining religious attendance. A celebrated example is St. Theresa’s, at 10 Rutgers Street, in Lower Manhattan. When its vaulted ceiling collapsed in 1995, St. Theresa’s looked doomed.
We aren’t regretting how bad it would be for a building to collapse. We are talking about how terrible it is when the church ceases to function as the church.
Acts 2:42-47 shows us how to do two things: 1) how to function as the church, and 2) how to solve community problems such as crime, poverty, and immorality. The church teaches God’s standard of morality—Acts 2:42. The church offers worship and service as the greatest thing in which people may be involved—Acts 2:42-43. The church offers cure to the economic problems crippling our nation—Acts 2:44-45. The church offers the cure to broken homes and loneliness—Acts 2:46. The church offers the cure to aimlessness—Acts 2:47.
How can we restore the church in our community? Repent or reform. Do what Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). The Lord’s church is the answer to many of our social problems.
WHAT ABOUT THE GOSPEL’S INFLUENCE UPON OUR WORLD?
If the local church were to shutdown, would it impact the world? It should. Remember that the job which Jesus has given us is not only local it is also global. We have the responsibility to reach our neighbor, but we also have the responsibility to bring the Gospel to the opposite side of the world.
The local church and individual members can and should influence the world through global missions. We have a global mission from the God of all the earth—Matthew 28:19-20. We have the example of global missions before us in the book of Acts—Acts 1:8.
How can the church be influential throughout the world? Repent or reform. Do what Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
WHAT ABOUT THE GOSPEL’S INFLUENCE IN HEAVEN?
The church is the only thing on earth which, as a group or individually, can influence eternity. Christians are members of the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ and share in the spiritual purpose of Jesus Christ. If we know what Jesus’ mission was, then we can know what our mission should be. What did Jesus say? “I must be about my Father’s business” (Lk. 2:49). He said, “I came to seek and to save the lost” (Lk. 19:10). Jesus said that the Son of man came to serve rather than to be served (Matt. 20:28).
How can we then influence the world as Jesus has? We must be about our Father’s business, even when we are expected to be elsewhere. We must seek and save those who are lost (Matt. 28:19-20). We must serve others rather than expect to be served. Try to help rather than be helped.
Our families, our community, our world, and eternity need the church. We need church revival not church shutdown. Congregational revival begins with individual revival and then with family revival. Will you do your part to keep the church running and begin revival in our congregation?