My cup looks a little bit like Egyptian hieroglyphics, with a splash of 3 year old crayon drawings, with a touch of ancient Sanskrit from 4th century BC.
Actually it is the marker-writing on my Iced Grande Triple Espresso with 2 Pumps Sugar-Free Vanilla. But if I didn’t know better, it could just as well be launch codes for a Soviet missile.
To the average person, the scratches on my espresso drink cup is pure chaos, but to me…they are the words of life. The combination of letters, symbols and numbers forms what I call “liquid love”. To the average on-looker however it is nothing more than mumbo-jumbo.
I wonder if this is how the Bible looks to those that come to our churches. Understandably, the Bible was written a very long time ago in languages that most folks living today simple do not understand. This can be a major hurdle for many in terms of comprehension. What should we do? Do we dumb it down? No. Should we insist that everyone translate it from the original Greek and Hebrew? No. What’s the balance? How does the ancient Word of God remain “living and active” in our current culture? These are important questions. Let’s look at the final part of How I Approach Church to discover some potential answers.
Continued from Part 3
How I Approach Church
Over the last few weeks we have looked at Colossians 2:2,3:
“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
In this passage I see that our church services must be:
1. Uplifting: “encouraged in heart”
2. Unifying: “united in love”
And now, I want to add the final element:
Each service must bring Understanding – “complete understanding”
This final service component is described in Paul’s letter to Colosse, “so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
This is no small task. Each service needs to bring about a level of understanding into this incredible mystery. To many, it is still hidden and needs to be unearthed by a “workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).
Our heads are the key to understandable services. Our minds need to be engaged on some level so that we are challenged in our thinking and forced to wrestle with the issues presented in the Word of God. The goal of understanding is change. We want to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind.”
I have discovered that nothing brings about understanding like teaching. It is the third and final primary priority for the church service that I have come to focus on. The first two were worship and fellowship.
A healthy environment of teaching and preaching is key to helping people understand the Word of God. This should be a primary focus in the life of any local church. Of course, I’ve been in a few churches that when I leave I am more confused than when I came in. This is unfortunate and can be changed. It’s so important to clearly communicate the living and active Word of God in such a way that brings about clarity without compromising it’s mystery.
I love the Word of God. I love the Church. But, guess what, Jesus loves the Church even more. It’s His Church – we are His Body. I want to apprehend His heart and approach each and every Church service as He would!