The Church Needs to Rise

Have you ever wanted to be part of a cause that is making a difference? Apparently there are quite a few folks that do - whether it's fighting global warming, saving the whales, emptying the jails, stopping AIDS, or just plain recycling.

If you're looking for some causes to join, just hop on Facebook. They have everything from helping alleviate hunger in third world countries to teaching hearing impaired dogs how to read sign language.

Just kidding about the sign language for dogs - but you get the point. And I think another point is that the desire to be part of something bigger and meaningful is in our nature. Check out these lyrics:

"Were different people. But were not scared. We ain't never scared, To pave a new path, Make a new street, Build a new bridge. Say can you see by the dawns early light. Free slaves running. Songs words weren't right. Now a new days coming. The few stay stunning while the many are handsome. Your soul is alive but they want it for ransom. The base drumming is the anthem. We step to the heartbeats of our granddaughters and grandsons, And... Rise together, We rise together. [repeated several times]

If you believe in redemption, I'm calling to you from another dimension."

These are the words from the song "Rise" by Flobots. This Denver based band is making a quick rise up the charts and on the popularity meter on radio and television alike, and they have definitely tapped into what I mentioned earlier.

So do you believe in redemption? If you didn't know this - there actually is Someone calling to you from another dimension. He's the One who started the original 'cause' of all-time. In fact, if people would rise up and join this cause, most if not all of the other causes out there would be taken care of.

The original movement I'm talking about is the church. No, not a building or a label like 'Baptist' or 'Church of God'. What I mean is 'church' as in 'cause'. It's the one started by Jesus Christ Himself when He said"

I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (Matthew 16:18).

The word for 'church' here in the original language is 'ecclesia' - and back in the day it meant a gathering of people called out for a purpose - so literally, 'church' means 'called out ones'.

Called out for what? Simple. Called out to completely change the world. Called out to share the good news about eternal life by trusting in Jesus for salvation. Called out to feed the poor, help the sick, relieve the oppressed, visit the prisoners.

Bottom line, the church is a group of sinners saved by grace gathering together so we can go out and be Jesus Christ in the world around us.

Here's our job description - and really part of the motivation calling to us from another dimension:

But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me."

Then these righteous ones will reply, "Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?" And the King will say, "I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!"

Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, "Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me."

Then they will reply, "Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?"

And he will answer, "I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me."

And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46).

I know that the church is seen by many as 'the sitting down ones' instead of the 'called out ones' - but our cause is not to complain or bail out. Our cause is to join the cause that Jesus Christ died to bring about. Our job is to not only go to church - but to BE the church.

Ready to rise?

Head: What you need to know about this truthThe church is a cause that the 'called out ones' need to get behind and change the world for Jesus Christ.

Heart: What you need to feel about this truthI know that many folks are discouraged about the church, but that's exactly what the enemy likes to see. You'll never find the perfect church, especially since the moment we join it, we add our own imperfections. The point here is that if we took our eyes off the petty problems and fixed our eyes on Jesus, the church that He is building could crash through the gates of hell and make an eternal difference in the world.

Hands: What you need to do about this truthThis week, ask your pastor, youth pastor, or other leaders in your church how you can get involved in what your church is doing in the community and in the world. You may be surprised at all the ways you can join the cause!