"its our building!!" ..."no, it's mine- you didn't earn it!"...

not long ago, i read about some turmoil at a large church in florida. after calling a new pastor and merging with another congregation, everything seemed to be going smoothly. the church was growing, reaching new people and preaching the gospel faithfully. still, some of the members who had been at the church before the merge began to grumble and went public with their displeasure. the quote that grabbed me went something like this; “it’s not that we don’t want these new people. it’s just that they were meeting in a school cafeteria and now they are here in our large and beautiful facilities and they didn’t earn it!”.

this is both tragic and sad on multiple levels, not the least of which is that in their community and now nationally, rather than being known for its gospel witness, this church’s reputation is that new members didn’t earn the building they worship in (whatever that means).

unfortunately, similar situations play out in churches all over the country. in order to avoid these tragic situations we must remember that the church is a people, not a building, and that those people are believers in jesus christ, who loved them so much that he gave himself up for them so that they would be holy. (eph. 5:23-27) then we must remember that not one member of the church deserves anything but the wrath of god. we do not deserve nice buildings, furniture, large offerings, etc. all we deserve, like all of mankind, is the wrath of god. but it is by grace we are saved- and we are saved to salvation in christ- not to big nice church buildings. (eph. 2:1-9)

all of us stand on equal ground at the foot of the cross. we are all sinners in need of the grace of god. there should never be a time when we look down on anyone coming to our churches because they haven’t been there as long as we have, or don’t know the local traditions that we fight so hard to protect. the purpose of any gospel church is the glory of god through the gospel of jesus christ. the moment we become more concerned with protecting our buildings, our programs and our local traditions than with reaching the lost and promoting the gospel, we begin living as if the cross was merely a past event that provides us with a symbol, rather than the ultimate act of grace and mercy that should daily cause us to walk in humility and gratitude. maybe then the world will see us less as a dysfunctional family fighting over our toys and more as people consumed with joy for the lord and his gospel.

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