The Church that Jesus is building will not look much like the church we now see functioning in our local neighbourhood. So much of what happens in most local churches – especially on a Sunday – is not biblical and is often not even godly. So much of the world’s way has slowly crept in to the life and structure of the church over the centuries – even recently. And, even elements from the domain of darkness have entered in to our Corporate Christian life and are accepted as normal and correct.
As the Bible states, “So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quiet plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.” (Hebrews 12:25-27 The Message Version)
The problem, of course, is that we are comfortable and very familiar with a lot of this clutter and religious baggage. And, as a result, the foundational truths are often buried deep underneath and no longer thought about or even noticed. And, as a result, we have accepted many teachings that are not in line with the buried foundational basics. And, change is never easy for any of us because it means we have to “change.” Change is hard work and throwing out things we thought were biblical and right can be painful to say the least. But, we are in a season of “purging.”
One of my daughters regularly “purges” her home. She says that if something has not been used in the past 6 months then she tosses it. Maybe that is a bit extreme for some people but it does bring you back to the basics and the things that are needed to have a healthy home and family. It allows a person or a family to “travel light.” And, travelling light emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually is essential if we are going to move into the next season coming upon the Church. Of course it is much easier to purge a household of physical baggage and junk that is no longer used or needed than it is to purge your own heart, soul, and mind. But personal purging is so much more essential and important.
Purging as a person means searching your heart and soul to see what is in there that should not be. You know, things like unforgiveness, resentment, offences, bitterness. Two big ones not always looked for because they are part of our normal life and the way we operate – judgmentalism and rejection. We judge and reject people who do not fit our mould. We judge and reject thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that make us uncomfortable or nervous. We judge and reject lifestyles that we are not comfortable with or disagree with. Clothing that others wear, tattoos, piercings, sexual preferences, lifestyle choices (alcohol, drugs, smoking), and on the list may go.
And, needless to say, purging of wrong beliefs is even more difficult because often the ‘error’ is harder to find. However, with the help of the Holy Spirit who guides us into al truth it is more than possible and doable. It means going through (in your mind) the things that you believe and assume are biblical. Then checking your beliefs and values to the New Testament to see if they truly are biblical – tossing what is “historical and religious junk.” The Bible, the Holy Spirit, and a mature believer or two can help you with this task.
As you change the Church changes – because you are the Church.
Again, change is not easy – but it is essential if we hope to stay in step with the Holy Spirit personally and corporately as the Church that Jesus is changing and building to step into the next season that will soon be upon us..