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When a Church Stops Being a Church

When a Church Stops Being a Church

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Category: Hope for Life

In the New Testament, we read about a church that was very hard-working and careful to defend all the correct teachings. They were quick to expose those that tried to teach mistruths. They had maintained their faith during difficult times. They had done all of these things ... yet Jesus told them that if they didn't change, they could no longer be counted as one of his churches!

Jesus said this to the church in Ephesus: "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love" (Revelation 2:4). Just as married couples can lose the romance from their relationship, churches can lose their love. They begin to focus on ritual perfection and doctrinal hairsplitting, and they forget their reason for existence. They lose their first love. Instead of being an organism, Christ's body, they become an organization. Rules, regulations, and rituals replace relationships. What gets lost along the way is the loving spirit Christians should have.

Jesus rejects empty rules and hollow rituals. That's not how he envisioned the church, nor what he will allow his churches to be. The church must be a community of love, characterized by a fervent love of God and of fellow man. It is to be an accepting place, not accepting intentional error, but accepting imperfect people.

If you haven't found the church to be this way, don't give up! There are churches out there who remember their first love and continue to live it. There are Christians who work every day at becoming more like Jesus.

If you are a Christian but have forgotten what you are supposed to be about, it's not too late. Jesus said to these Christians in  Revelation 2: "Repent and do the things you did at first" (Revelation 2:5). We can go back to our first love, living out that love in our daily lives. We can replace empty ritual with a fulfilling life of love. We can return to being the body of Christ.

The church is an organism, not an organization. It is fueled by love, following the God that is love. We must never forget.

To learn more, write to me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org or leave a comment at http://www.hopeforlife.org .

(Expressed written consent must be obtained prior to republishing, retransmitting or otherwise reusing the content of this article. Contact us at info@hopeforlife.org)

Are you presently experiencing a new life? God's word says, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

This new life is a free gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about this life that only Jesus can give you, sign up for one of our Bible courses. Wherever you are in life, whatever you've done, you can begin again.

You may also contact us at info@hopeforlife.org if you have questions about becoming a new creation.

About the Author

Tim Archer
Tim works for Hope For Life/Herald of Truth Ministries in Abilene, TX, and writes for HopeForLife.org

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