This is the question that has been on my mind for quite a while. No, I don't particularly mean a specific church. Of course none are exempt. This question plagued me after walking around the baseball's Opening Day festivities one Monday.
As I strolled down the street I was taken away with the excitement and the anticipation of the people. Without a doubt, there were many people there who didn't even have tickets to the game and couldn't have cared less.
So I openly asked God, why isn't the church anywhere this close to fun and exciting?
I am learning fast that if I ask a question I had better prepare to be up all night. If this message seems a bit scattered it is because the writer only got 1 hour of sleep last night.
So what has happened to the Church?
Almost without exception, the Church is in decline as far as numbers and participation. Even the few rare exceptions are pretty short lived!
Here is what I have learned:
Jesus used a couple of word pictures in discussing, so we could easily understand, His relationship with His church. The first is Jesus as the Head of the Body, the church. The second is with Jesus as the Vine and the church being the branches.
Either of these would work to display what I have learned however discussing the following thoughts in terms of the former can be a bit gruesome so I will use the vine/branches picture.
Jesus made the point of what happens to a branch that becomes disconnected from the vine. It dries up and is useful for building fires.
This brings me to what I have learned about what is wrong with the church. We have become detached from the power!
Scripture warns us about"(those who are)...Holding to a form of godliness although they deny its power, avoid such people as these" II Timothy 3:5
Where is the power?
The power risides in the name that is above every name in heaven and on earth!
Jesus said: All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Matthew 28:18
Therefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Phip 2:9-11
Jesus said, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Me John 12:32
There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 (See Acts 4:10-12)
The one who confesses the son has the Father also. I John 2:23b
Jesus said, For not even the Father judges anyone but has give all judgment to the Son in order that all may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. John 5:22&23
By this you know the Spirit of God, every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. I John 4:23
The scriptures go on and on about the power of Jesus's name.
Revelation chapter 5 discusses a dilemma in heaven. There is a book in the strong "right hand" of God which no one can open. Weeping broke out over the problem. Read the chapter and see Who had the power!
As I look back over the last years , I can clearly see that slippage of the church coinciding with the dismissal of the name of Jesus.
Not meant to represent the totality of the issue, nevertheless, the songs we sing are often an indication of what we believe. Consider some to the songs that were once a staple of Christianity and, particularly, their theme.
Jesus, There's Just Something About That Name.
I Must Tell Jesus
Jesus Loves Me This I Know
Jesus Loves the Little Children
I'd Rather Have Jesus
Jesus Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest Name I Know
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Every religion has a "God"
Most religions and several governments have "Lords"
Christ is a title not a name.
Only the true church has Jesus!
Let's hook back into the vine and experience the power!
There is Power in the name and the name is Jesus!