The Absolute Number One Priority Of The Church?
“…. And now I will show you the most excellent way. 13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” First Corinthians 13
Last week when I was driving home I was flipping through radio stations and landed on a John MacArthur program. He is a famous preacher and he and the announcer were discussing the “absolute number one priority of the Church”. Their claim was that the “teaching and preaching of the Word Of God” took total preeminence over anything else that the Church ever does. As they were discussing this topic I felt very grieved in the Spirit and my heart was greatly saddened.
In that moment three things struck me pretty hard as to why what they asserted was such a lie from the enemy. Since that moment I have prayed and sincerely pondered the magnitude of their complete lie and this is what was revealed to me.
Number one…. They perpetuated the myth that the bible is “the Word of God”. The bible is a great book and I believe it to be God inspired and extremely beneficial to the life of every follower of Christ. However, the bible NEVER, EVER claims to be “The Word of God.” In fact the bible clearly states that Jesus is The Word of God and not a mere book about God and HIS will and ways.
Number two…. To elevate the “teaching and preaching” of the book to the very first priority of the Church places the Clergy ( Pastors, Preachers and Teachers) on the highest possible pedestal; totally re-enforcing that there is a human hierarchy and spiritual caste system in the Church. It destroys the concept of true unity among all believers and the fact that we are ALL equal peer siblings in the Body of Christ. And in a very real way it affirms that those who deliver the message in Church are equal to or greater than even Jesus. Think about it? If their job is delivering the utmost important thing it by default makes them, and not Christ, the most important person in the Church. Yikes! No, make that major Yikes! We in the simple, organic, home church crowd try to avoid this problem altogether by having free flowing conversations rather than sermons and monologue.
Number three…. The flat out truth in love is that neither preaching, teaching or the bible are God’s priority. Because LOVE and LOVE alone is the greatest and most excellent way. The number one call of the Church is to LOVE God and LOVE one another and one another includes the “least of these” whoever they may be. In the end only three things remain…FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE, but the GREATEST of these is LOVE. Giving ANYONE ANYTHING LESS THAN LOVE falls WAY short of God’s plan for us. We are to always walk in LOVE and to LOVE is THE Greatest command that The Lord has ever given us and ever will. Yes, I am very passionate about this and I often fall short of loving others as I should; but that does not negate this message. If the Church at large fails at love is it really HIS Church to begin with? THE ONE thing we utterly need to get right is loving others. Love opens the door to all the other things we can do or say to help others in their state of need. Evangelism, teaching, equipping, and healing can NEVER truly happen if we don’t lead with LOVE. I need to end now and get on my face before Jesus. For I cannot escape the conviction this has brought to my heart and mind.
Kirk Out !