Oct. 11, 2005
"Chruch Belongs to Jesus"
Adam Hamilton in his book Leading Beyond the Walls asks the question, “To whom does the church belong?” This is what he says,
The church does not belong to the denomination, the bishop, or the denominational hierarchy, even if each has a ‘trust clause’ in the church’s legal deeds stating the contrary. The church does not belong to the pastor. The church does not belong to the choir director or any other staff member, even if these if these people have been in leadership for decades. The church does not belong to the lay leadership, the board, or any other official group in the church- not even the trustees. And no, the church does not belong to the members, though without them it would cease to exist. The church belongs to Jesus Christ.
I think this is a message the Jewish people had forgotten in the Old Testament as well. In Jeremiah 7, Jeremiah goes to the Temple and says, “Do you think that because the Temple is here you will never suffer? Don't fool yourselves! Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and worship Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, "We are safe!" – only to go right back to all those evils again? Do you think this Temple, which honors my name, is a den of thieves?” They had taken a place designed to honor God’s name and use it to honor their own.
As we reflect on this passage we are reminded that the church should never be a place designed to honor ourselves. The church is not in existence to satisfy our own wants and needs. The church is not a place where we can come and “be in charge.” The church is not a country club for us to meet friends. The church is here to give honor and glory to Jesus Christ. I do hope we get our needs met at the church, but I hope our needs are met because we are worshipping God and through our worship, our lives are being transformed and we are living out God’s will for our lives. This passage challenges us to look critically at ourselves rather than look critically at the worship leaders. Remember, the church belongs to Jesus Christ.