Since my connection to Christ in 1978, I have observed many models or concepts people have regarding how they connect to the body of Christ. The following are some of the popular concepts I have observed regarding how believers define the church for themselves.
The Protestant Reformation correctly brought the Scriptures back into the hands and vernacular of the common people. Because of this, those who did not understand the Latin version (the Latin Vulgate translated in the 4th century by St. Jerome) could read Scripture in the common tongue (the King James Version of 1611). Thus, the pendulum swung from one extreme to another: from professional clerics interpreting the word for the people to individuals with no theological training interpreting the word without the church’s hermeneutical aid.
As a pastor for more than 30 years I have seen many people serving in ministry burned out in the name of Christ, then fall away from their purpose. This is even very common among senior leaders, but it can be avoided. In the past several years, I have personally experienced my mind being tired, requiring me to pull back for several months lest I burn out! The following are signs that show whether you are on the verge of burnout or breakthrough:
Many today desire to realize the purpose of their lives. Pastor Rick Warren capitalized on this by writing a book that has sold more than 50 million copies entitled “The Purpose-Driven Life”. Many believers in Christ are obsessed with understanding their purpose. This has resulted in millions of Christian books being sold related to this subject.
Most people agree that the nations of the West are headed in the wrong direction regarding morality and culture. While it is very popular in some circles to blame presidents, congress (or parliament) as well as local elected officials, the Word of God makes it clear where to place the blame.
The Bible teaches that the church is supposed to influence the world as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), but instead the church has often been influenced by the world. The book of Ezekiel 22:26 sends a stern rebuke to believers who make no distinction between that which is common and that which is holy (by “common” I mean worldly things and values).
All of us have numerous areas in our lives that are broken and out of place. This is the result of a chain reaction through multiple generations due to the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve.
Although all human beings have been confronted with the guilt of their own sin (whether they have heard the gospel or not, the Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of sin; read John 16:7-8), those of us who are believers have responded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
In this day and age, gifts and personality seem to be of premier importance in the Evangelical church. Many are building their ministries on the aura of gifted people with the manifestation of persona overshadowing the presence of God! All this, in spite of numerous biblical passages telling us that God opposes the proud and unbroken, and lifts up the lowly (see Isaiah 57 and Psalm 138:6).
There is no such thing as neutrality; everyone operates from a bias. The word of God teaches that our foundation for knowledge should be the fear of the Lord–not human reason, culture, science, or anything else.
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