“Where is the Church?”
The Rev. Louis B. Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
We’re watching our “house” burning down, and I ask, “Where is the Church?” The “house” is our nation and the “fire” is Marxism.
However, here is God’s call to His Church: James 4:7 declares, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (ESV) 1Peter 5:8-9 states, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” (ESV)
Submit to God and resist the devil. Resist the devil while being firm in your faith in God. These are timeless exhortations given to the Church. Yet, as the saying goes, “When you’re up to your neck in alligators it’s hard to remember that your mission was to drain the swamp.” It takes perseverance and patience to keep your mind fixed on your purpose. It takes trusting in the power of our Sovereign God to cause you to focus on doing His will.
The culture is relentless. Passions of the flesh are overwhelming. Some in the church have acquiesced to the pressure of culture and have sought to find the good in evil. Some seek to find reasons to justify the evil. Some have concluded that we, the biblically faithful members of the Church are to blame. It is, they say that the hardline, unloving adherence to God’s word that has prompted the evil behavior we are experiencing. Church leaders conclude that the Church needs to be relevant and avoid alienating herself from the culture.
If indeed we are the Church, we are aliens to the culture of man-centeredness. Genuine believers are citizens of heaven. We are not of the world, though God has ordained that we live in the world for His glory. God’s command to His Church is to be holy, Leviticus 11:44; 1Peter 1:15-16. He has issued a dire warning to those who would call evil good and good evil, Isaiah 5:20.
So, what ought the Church be? The Church is God’s called out people. He has set us apart to Himself. We are a royal priesthood to declare His excellencies. He called His people out of darkness into His marvelous light. In this current climate, it is especially important for the Church to be the Church! We dare not make excuses for the evil men do. We must be clear about our heavenly citizenship. We must never compromise the truth or negotiate with evil.
The sixty-four-thousand-dollar question is “How is the Church to be the Church?”
Above all, believers must remember that they belong to God. It is His Church. He is sovereign over everything. He has ordained all things that come to pass. He is good and only does good. The evil that we see is under His sovereignty and we know that He will use it to accomplish His good purpose and judge evil.
To be the Church, her members must know the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent, John 17:3. The practical application of knowing God is to live in intimacy with Him under His word. He has shown the way of blessing and He has declared that cursing is the result of disobeying His commands. Members of the Church are called to think critically. We are people who communicate with words. God has communicated to us using words. Never engage in debate with the culture without first defining terms. Liberal advocates of change tend to pour their own meanings into words and phrases that have traditional meanings. For example, the phrase, “social justice” has no connection with justice. It is an expression that means the movement to transfer wealth and power from one ethnic or economic group to another. In short the movement called the social justice movement is rooted in cultural Marxism.
Further, to be the Church is to pray! Prayer is the most significant thing the Church does as the Church. Sadly, weekly prayer meetings have faded out of practice. Yet, prayer is a significant demonstration of our trust and dependence upon God. God has commanded prayer. Prayer is the means by which God has chosen to demonstrate His providence.
May the Church be the Church growing in knowledge and dependence upon God who hears the prayers of His people and answers them in ways that are best for us and most glorifying to Him.