Beyond The Walls Continued

Alright, forward and onward! I discussed the church and how there is an issue especially here in America, where we stay within our own church walls and are reluctant to venture out into the world and make disciples in my post Beyond The Walls. I need to finish defining the Church by addressing what the Church truly is. Here are the points I hope to make between the two post. 

1) Tower of Babel to be used as an example of expanding the church walls, rather than expanding the church Body.

2) Define the church.

3) point out real life connections and how to remedy the issue.

4) What makes a believer? What makes a disciple? (Simon the magician)

5)  Mission minded versus number minded.

I spent more time explaining what the church is NOT supposed to be in the prior post. Here I hope to explain what we are as the Church and what that entails. Scripture will be my voice here, Lord knows I’ll take some long journey to explain it in a roundabout way thousands of words later.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:27

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. – Romans 12:4-5

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. – Ephesians 4:1-7

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, – Ephesians 4:11-12

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, – Colossians 1:24

For you see, the Church is not a building, but rather each Christian makes up a member of the Body. We are the temple of God, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and by the blood of Christ we are redeemed. God does not dwell within your church building, so before you stand up at your next budget meeting and say “We must build a bigger steeple in the name of the Lord!” or “We need red carpets to represent the blood of Christ!” Check yourself and understand that God will not thank you for causing an uproar over carpets. In an instant that building could be wiped from the face of the earth, but the Body of Christ is eternal. We cannot allow ourselves to be so wrapped up in bringing people to the church building we built, rather we need to urgently take the Church to people! We each represent a part of the Church and we each hold a responsibility to carrying out the task of the Church, to make disciples.

 What is a disciple and how do we go about making them? Well first off we have to go into the world proclaiming the name of Christ to all. 

for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” – Romans 10:13-15

Second, we must mentor new converts and guide them as they grow in Christ. We must care for those who are in need and not neglect our fellow brethren.

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. – James 1:26-27

We must also not be fooled by simply believing in the power of Christ and forsaking the name of Christ. In Acts we encounter a man who performs magic and has amazed many. When Philip came to his region to preach he was amazed by the power Philip had through the power of the Spirit. It is said

“Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed” Acts 8:13

Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” Acts 8:18-24

For whatever reason, we aren’t told what became of Simon, but we can see his errors. In verse thirteen he was baptized by water and followed Philip amazed by his power. In the verses to come Peter and John come through the same region and pray for the people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the same power that Philip had could be bestowed on others, he tried bribing Peter for the Holy Spirit. Peter quickly corrected him and made it clear that the Spirit will not enter him due to his heart and intent, by prayer and repentance he could be redeemed. Simon had all the belief in the world that the power of Christ was real, but he did not seek to serve the Lord, he wanted to use that power to continue his magic. His request to Peter in the end, hmm perhaps that was his final request and then he went away. Regardless of what became of him, he believed for all of the wrong reasons. Much like those who seek and expect blessings from God. Simon was a believer, but not a Disciple. Even the Demons believe in the power of Christ and acknowledge His sovereignty, but they serve a different master.

To become a disciple goes beyond belief in power, it’s through a repentant heart and by prayer to God directly to forgive you of your transgressions. The Spirit knows your heart, and He will not enter a person who is unwilling to become a new creation in Christ.

Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. – Romans 10:1-4

You can’t earn or buy your salvation. No number of good deeds will bring about a new creation with a new purpose and desire. If being good was the requirement for salvation, then we are all utterly doomed.

This brings me to my final point on my list, being mission minded. As stated before by Paul, how can they believe if they do not hear? How will they hear if no one is sent? The Church MUST wake up to this reality. Do you know where South Korea sends most of their missionaries? It’s here! In the united States, where we boast being a “Christian Nation”. I say “Christian Nation” because I am not convinced that our population is a majority Christian, neither are South Koreans convinced of it it seems. Believing God exists does not make you a Christian, and that’s how a lot of people answer those polls. We must break through our walls and reignite the flames to spread the gospel like wildfire. If we want to see our congregations grow, then we must first realize our first priority. At home and abroad we must preach the Word of Christ. By our own gifts and talents bestowed by God and the Holy Spirit we must each act accordingly to our part of the Body and together the Body of Christ can truly reach all the nations of the world! We must break down the walls we’ve created for ourselves and go beyond the church building and truly begin building the Church of God.

May the Lord Bless us and keep us as we venture into this endeavor.



Beyond The Walls

Imagine if you will, a great forest fire raging through the landscape. The fire blazes through everything it comes across until suddenly, it reaches a great stone wall. The fire rages for as long as it can, but the wall prevents it from going any further. The fire calms and the flames die down to burning embers, the raging fire has run out of fuel.

Now, how can this imagery be applied to help set a clear picture of a Christian and more importantly, the Church? What I hope the imagery assists the reader with is the fire that rages in our own soul for Christ. Each individual that is Baptized in the Holy Spirit is alight with passion for doing the Lord’s will and carrying out the Great Commission…right? What does it mean to be alight for the Lord? What would that look like for the Church? What is the Church and what is our purpose, our goal, our calling? I hope to answer these questions and more. I pray that I can bring to light walls that are preventing you from raging forward for Christ and together we can go beyond the walls!

To define the church, we need to first look at what Jesus said was our mission, our goal and our calling. more commonly known as The Great Commission.

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:16-20

“Go therefore”, Jesus commands us to GO out into the world and make disciples of all nations. That is singly the most important purpose or mission of the Church. Other aspects that are very important to observe is fellowship with one another. We are called to be as one Body, one people united for Christ. Accountability, teaching and being taught, mentoring and being mentored. All of these are very important aspects of the Church, but they still don’t line up with what we are called to DO. We are called to go beyond the walls of the Church and to make disciples among the nations. Before I go further into what going beyond the walls would look like, let me first point to what remaining in our walls would be like.

Genesis chapter eleven, The Tower of Babel, the birthplace of languages. Before mankind was scattered by force, there was one universal language. The people reasoned with one another to remain in one location and to build a city and tower in order to build a name for themselves. They set out with a mission that God had not commanded them to do. In truth, God had commanded them to go into all of the world and to be fruitful and multiply. In Genesis chapter nine we see God speaking to Noah. 

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” – 9:1 

and again in verse seven.

And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”

The people did not obey, they remained in their walls and built great wonders instead of going into the world as commanded.

Tower of Babel

 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth. – Genesis 11:1-9

What then was the issue of building a city and making a name for themselves? What’s the big deal? Applying that to the modern Church, we can see modern correlations as to why that is wrong.  Notice in verse four how they even acknowledge that they do not wish to do as commanded, they have no intentions of going out into the world. They are more concerned with making a grand city and a tower reaching the Heavens. They have set out to make a name for themselves, their name and their fame outweighed the Lord’s command in their minds. 

You may see this amongst your own congregation, where the heated debates revolve around church projects and church building renovations and expansions. Now, if your congregation is fighting for a seat and people are standing in the halls for service, then expansion of the building is needed of course, but that’s rarely the case. More often we see congregations argue and even split over trivial matters, such as the color of the carpet, or the color of the paint used on the walls. Have we allowed the Church to forget its true purpose and calling? Are we more concerned with expanding the walls of the church than we are expanding the Body of Christ? As individuals we each must evaluate what it is we are fighting to achieve. Is it to bring others outside of Christ to Him and to make disciples or are we more concerned with numbers and how large we can grow a single congregation in a single city? God calls us to reach our local communities, there is no doubt of that. However, if we aren’t willing to go beyond our own cities to teach others of Christ, then how do we expect the locals to be attracted to our faith? It isn’t gimmicks (door prizes, food, gift bags etc.) and huge auditoriums that we need to bring people into the church. The Word of God alone is what is needed to bring people into the true Church, the Body of Christ. Scripture tells us that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that someone comes to know Christ. I can guarantee you that no single person has come to Christ because their local church was equipped with hundreds of stage lights, fog machines, and a professional band. It was because of the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Testimonies are filled with how Christ has saved them from their former selves. Through Christ alone are they saved, it is not due to a single pastor, a single worship leader, or any other. Although those may be the means by which people heard the Words of God or the opportunity the Holy Spirit took to stir people’s souls, it is not by their power that Christ was made a part of people’s lives.

In essence, my point is that we cannot allow the Body of Christ to abandon its true calling to chase after numbers in our pews and in the tithe plate (note: Tithing is a command, not a suggestion). How we spend our resources and how we minister to the congregation is vital to the health of the Church. A certain church comes to my mind that is well known, but widely unpopular in the Christian realm. Pandering to the world and taking tactics that water down the scriptures to limit sermons on Hell and focusing heavily on the blessings of God. This church has grown to be massive and takes in billions of dollars a year, which a vast majority goes right back into maintaining and expanding the building. I am sure that there are true believers in that particular congregation, however, when the pastor’s main focus is to keep the people coming and has painted God as a genie that will bless your life immensely if you continue attending church, then there are major theological issues involved. As humans, we would be absolute fools if we think God owes us anything. Does God bless His children? Of course He does! Out of love He blesses us! All that’s needed to destroy this teaching that God blesses us because we have been good is the story of Job. Having done nothing wrong, Job is tormented by Satan, yet he remains faithful and accomplishes the task God had set before him. He is humbled in the end after He questioned God, but that story alone makes it clear that we are expected to remain faithful to God even if worldly blessings aren’t given in return. He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sake! Who are we to demand more out of Him? God is not someone you barter with, you do not trade goods and services, you serve Him because He is the redeemer of your soul and your Heavenly Father.

Oh boy, I feel like I’m all over the place and I’m long-winded. For the sake of length I think I’ll split this into two parts. Below are some notes and I would like to ask that you please leave a comment letting me know if I have accomplished hitting all of my points effectively. I tend to doubt myself and feel like I’m just rambling nonsense.


Quick notes to return to later:

1) Tower of Babel to be used as an example of expanding the church walls, rather than expanding the church Body.

2) Define the church.

3) point out real life connections and how to remedy the issue.

4) What makes a believer? What makes a disciple? (Simon the magician)

5)  Mission minded versus number minded.