“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”– these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”
(1 Corinthians 2:7-10)
Recently I was told by a friend, after a brief discussion of Church life after the Day of Pentecost, that the “Church life” displayed following Acts was, and is, un-sustainable in light of future developments of culture. I would have to agree, if what we have as our guide is the bulk of recorded history, and the record of the obvious failures of the modern mega-church complex.
My position is that the Church life we see lived out in the Book of Acts is sustainable, although not evidenced through the organizational church of today. I contend that what we see as the “church” today is a prostitution of a Divine design, repackaged to accommodate the ego of men, and presented with enough choreography and ambience to simulate, to ignorant men, the moving of the Spirit. This form of church is not sustainable, as my friend said, and I agree, but this is not the Church of God, this is the church of man. The church of man does not resemble, even remotely, the Church of God in Acts! Why? Because God has not built that church, it was built by man, therefore it has all the earmarks of man in its architecture and organization. The church of man is a vain attempt to finish in the flesh what was started in the Spirit. Scripture tells us that, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1).
My contention is that if the Church of Acts is unsustainable, then Christianity as a whole, is unsustainable. What is the Church but Christians, the Body of Christ? If the Church of Acts is not the church that we witness today, then is it conceivable that the near totality of Christians who flood the doors of these buildings are not really “Christians?” Why should we believe that a “church,” a body of believers, that is not sustainable is of God? Has God given each age or generation a different pattern by which to build His Church? Is God dictated to, by the flightiness of men’s desires and wishes? Does man’s inability to sustain anything limit God’s ability or demands. If God is to build HIS Church, is He like the man who started out to build a house, but forgot to count the cost, and is now made to look like a fool? Is there really a cultural context or formula by which we are to interpret or determine what the “Church” is suppose to be like or act like? With the smorgasbord of church activity presented to the world today, how can we know which is the “real” Church? Should we be looking for something that is pictured in Scripture, or something else? Has the “Church” morphed into something different?
The Scripture above, if read carefully, will lead the enlightened seeker to examine cautiously all the merchandise offered as authentic gems of ancient wisdom. Out of all the fake jewels the world of men and the Devil have produced there remains only One True Gem, do you have it in you to know the difference? The above Scripture holds a clue to the question of, “how can we know which is the ‘real’ Church?” Can you solve the riddle?
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing (and with fake jewels) but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.’”