Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Mortar That Holds the Church Together

I'm reading through John Hammett's Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology. In chapter 1, Hammett surveys the Scripture's popular imagery of the church as the people of God, the body of Christ, and the temple of the Spirit. As I was reading the section on the temple of the Spirit this morning, this paragraph struck a real chord:
There is another reason why many churches have a problem holding their living stones together. We call the church the temple of the Spirit because the Spirit is the mortar that holds the stones together. The church is not to be held together by social bonds such as being of the same race or class or income, but by the spiritual bond of a common possession of the Holy Spirit. Church growth strategists tell us that churches grow fastest when they target people most like those already in the church. They are no doubt right; people are usually attracted to those with similar backgrounds and lifestyles. But the New Testament is clear that the church must not become a club of one type of people but a community that transcends those things that divide people in society. In Paul's day, the call was to transcend the barriers between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, and find unity in Christ (Gal. 3:28). Today's barriers include race (white, black, Hispanic), social class (rich, middle class, poor), and even age (young families, senior adults). Contemporary churches need a greater reliance on the Spirit and a deeper experience of his gift of fellowship if they are to be temples fitly joined together.

I love that last line: "Contemporary churches need a greater reliance on the Spirit and a deeper experience of his gift of fellowship if they are to be temples fitly joined together." Yet one more way we see our need for the presence of God the Holy Spirit in our corporate and personal lives. Yet one more excellent way for us to pray for our local churches--a fresh outpouring of God's Spirit Who cements together the living stones from every quarry until we're fashioned into a spiritual temple suitable for His glorious indwelling.

God has poured His Spirit into our hearts. Such an obviously-stated biblical truth with an extraordinary, ineffable implication and reality for us. God with us--indeed in us!


Anonymous said...

I am giving a series of messages titled "What does Jesus think of our Church?" You can listen to this series at http://chris-kratzer.blogspot.com

Love to hear your comments.

Hayden said...

Thank you for this my brother. It can be difficult to remember this when all the voices around you want to 'do it like all those successful big churches do'.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Thabiti! Amen.