What would Jesus have to say about our church?
I am visualizing one of the ordinary weekly staff meetings where we are going through the “connection cards” that visitors fill out. Suddenly we realize that Jesus himself had visited our church that week and filled out a card, leaving his comments on the state of our church. Just thinking about it, my palms are get sweaty and my throat swells. What would the Son of God say to us if he literally visited our house churches or our Sunday meeting?
In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 we have a great insight into the heart of Jesus towards seven churches in Asia Minor. We know that Jesus cares deeply for his bride, the Church. He wants a righteous and powerful witness in the earth, so he encourages and corrects the churches in these chapters. There is a general pattern as to how he addresses them:
- For each church, there is a descriptive title about Jesus that reveals something of his character and nature to that church.
- There is an assurance that Jesus knows the individual churches and their works – the Living Lord is intimately acquainted with each local expression of His bride.
- Jesus describes the things that please him about each church – he encourages them for the good things they have done and for their stand against evil.
- Where necessary, there is criticism and a call to repentance.
- Jesus never rebukes without telling the church how to correct the issue.
- There are promises and assurances for those who repent and overcome.
There are some things we can know from this interaction between Jesus and his churches. First, Jesus knows the true state of Trinity Community Church. He will reveal more of himself to us. He sees and is pleased with the many good things that are going on here corporately and in the individual lives of our partners. By His Spirit, he will encourage us in these areas, but he will not leave us alone. Jesus loves us just as we are, but he loves us too much to let us stay as we are! He will correct us and cleanse us and make us consistently more pleasing to himself. And, in the end, there are great promises ahead as we respond to his correction.
Success for us as a church (and as individuals) means that we are pleasing to Jesus. Let this be our prayer: “Lord, give us grace to have ears to hear what you are saying to the church, and to respond to you as you invite us into your heart and into your mission.“