Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The polity of the church pollutes the purpose of the church every time (Colossians 2:9)

 SCRIPTURE: Colossians 2:9 (TM)
Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don't need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him.

One day Hudson Taylor was traveling on a Chinese junk from Shanghai to Ningpo. He had been witnessing to a man named Peter who rejected the gospel but was under deep conviction. In the course of events, Peter fell overboard, but no one made any effort to save him. Taylor sprang to the mast, let down the sail, and jumped overboard in hopes of finding his friend. But no one on board joined Taylor in his frantic search. Taylor saw a fishing boat nearby and yelled to them to help, but they wouldn't do it without money. Finally, after bartering for every penny that Taylor had, the fishermen stopped their fishing and began to look for Peter. In less than a minute of dragging their net, they found him, but it was too late. They were too busy fishing to care about saving a drowning man.

We sure get caught up in things that really do not matter. Want to do an interesting experiment? Next chance you get begin to ask around the church as to what people think is important as in, “What can you not live without in church?” I believe that we would all be amazed at what we hear.

Colossians speaks a word of warning of those who use fancy words and double-talk. Those items people would place on the list of “things I cannot live without” could just possible be understood as the “fancy words and double-talk” that only confuses us and diverts our attention away from the clear message found in Jesus Christ.

The polity of the church pollutes the purpose of the church every time. A painful personal example: I was privileged to serve an old downtown first church at one point. Grand old buildings. Rich stained glass windows. Beautiful pipe organ. We had a large preschool and twice a week the associate pastor or I went in to read stories to the various classes. It was Christmas or Easter, I forget which season, but I picked an appropriate story to match the season. That afternoon the preschool director met me in my office to inform me that I could not read overtly Christian stories to the preschoolers. When I asked why she informed me that they have Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish students and they had promised the parents that there wouldn’t be any Christian messages shared. “Besides,” she went on to share, “we have a budget to meet and a school to keep open. We cannot run the risk of offending any of our paying clients.” I didn’t argue with her, but I simply took the issue to the Administrative Board for the ultimate decision. Unfortunately, I lost. The polity of that church polluted its God given purpose, namely to proclaim Jesus Christ.  

Could it be that old historical church was too busy fishing to save drowning people?

Without Christ there is an emptiness in the world. With Christ there is an indescribable fullness that is unmatched by anything the world could offer.

May our message Lord be clear and rich with the fullness of Christ. May we take every opportunity to share that message. Help us to save as many drowning people as possible. 

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