A couple days ago I came across this stirring story from a Bible teacher …
Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old … and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”
When I read that last line, I gasped.
What a true statement.
Not only was the first sentence a great simplification of Church history, the quote itself reveals a big problem the Church today.
Leonard Ravenhill put it this way, “In the New Testament Church it says they were all amazed—and now in our churches everybody wants to be amused.”
We have become all wrapped up in anything and everything but Jesus—yet He and He alone should be the center and preeminence of our lives (see Colossians 1:18).
Jesus, in His rebuke to the Church in Ephesus declared, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4).
AW Tozer wrote this along the same lines—”The evidence is all around us that it is difficult to break the tyranny of the world. Once the world gets a hold on us, it refused to let go. And it is not hard to see this in, for example, the impulse for entertainment and fun. We certainly live in a fun generation. Unless we can have fun, and unless that thing is going to entertain us, we will wander off to something that will. I am not surprised that this is out in the world, but I am greatly disappointed that it has come into the Church” (from Experiencing the Presence of God, page 205).
May we not become distracted. May our lives and churches be about “Body life” and may be found to be a pure and spotless Bride of Christ.
I’m cheering you on unto that end!