I have heard it said many times that the church is failing. That she is laying down on the job and wrinkling her wedding dress. I’ve heard it said that the world is passing away in degradation, while we the church are fluffing the pillows in our pews. Today I am going to show you how this is not true. Not with a rah-rah message to encourage the weary troops, but through a revelation of a heavenly reality.
Is it true, the Church is Failing?
The church is not failing the world! What we do have happening is the failure of those who call themselves the church. No, this isn’t a finger pointing post; I am not calling out any denomination or sect. I am shooting so much higher than earthly organizations. Today I am going to discuss a heavenly reality.
First, I think I have to define who the Church is. The Church is not a group organized under the name of Christ. It is not a gathering of people with a message. And it is not a building established for members to have a community and preach the gospel. The Church is Christ! Not for Christ, not about Christ and not even with Christ—just Christ.
What we tend to find out there might be a church, but it’s not the Church. The Church isn’t relegated to an organization or a building; it’s identified by the Life of Christ. It is either Christ or it isn’t actually The Church. It might be a nice club, a community circle, or an outreach group for charity but not Church. Again, Church is Christ.
Church is Christ
Therefore, the actual Church can’t be failing. Unless you’re willing to say Christ is failing, you can’t say that His Church is failing. How can I say this? Because Christ is Head of the Church and the Members of His Body are Christ. Whoa, bold statement, huh? The Word says this very clearly. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). If I have died and my life is hidden with Christ in God, then it is Christ not me (Colossians 3:3). The great mystery of the ages is that I am not and He is (Colossians 1:26-27). This means when you witness the Church, you are witnessing Christ. We are all one in His Body (Ephesians 3:6). Not like many people all under Christ, but Christ Himself. The Church is Christ!
The Church is His Life, His Energy, His Purpose—Him. All else is just man’s efforts for Christ, but that isn’t the Church. It might be a valiant effort, but it’s not Church. Church is Christ living His Life through His Body. Many have defined the Members of the Body of Christ like we would define members in a service organization. But Members of His Body aren’t just individuals with a similar focus, any more than the members of your own body. My body is me. My arm isn’t just giving it a gallant effort to be unified with the rest of my body. It is ME! In the same way, Christ’s Body is Christ.
I Am the Church
As with everything in the Bible, reality is paradoxical. “I am here, how can my life be Christ? How can my life be hidden in the heavenlies, when I am so apparently living? How can I be crucified with Christ and still walking, talking and living now?” Only by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20).
Cain brought an offering but the offering was not accepted. God required blood not good intent. And this is true even today. God is looking for the acceptable Life of His Son, not my offered attempts to serve, please or placate.
The Church is not failing, because Christ is not failing. The question isn’t whether the Church is failing the world or not, it is whether I am the Church. Am I living the Mystery of the Gospel? Is Christ my Life or am I just giving it a courageous effort? Jesus paid a high price so that my living earthly expression would be He not me. He made the reality possible. Yes, it is mind-melting, but this great Mystery is the Gospel. My struggles and failure are not needed to attempt to please the Father. He gave the Life of His Son and the Spirit to perform His very own Life in my body. I am the Body of Christ and the Church is not failing. The Church is flourishing to bring in His Life and Kingdom. I am He, He is me, and we all are One Body.