"And some of the disciples . . . went with us, . . ." Acts 21:16
The church is the living extension of Jesus Christ in time and space. It is countercurrent to the drift towards secularism, materialism and self-indulgence. The church in our society today is a community of resistance to the gods of modern life, pride, prejudice, and ego. The church is a peculiar group of pilgrim people of God, a community of free people whose freedom is not limited by the frontiers of the world.
Paul's close friends did not understand the path he was taking. It seemed costly, strange, and foolish. Paul's call was perplexing to his fan base. Paul appears to be such a failure, that by the end of his life, everyone had deserted him. All this can take its toll on the emotions of God’s servants. It's the ever-strengthening compulsion of the Spirit that helps us go on.
To the on-looking world, following the call of God seems ridiculous. But the only way to answer an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that the very act of existence is an act of rebellion. There's nothing more maddening to the world than a free man or woman in Christ. The community of faith is not here to reinforce the values of the culture, but to bring the values of King Jesus into the culture.
The early church was built on small groups of people who came together to support one another in a whole new way of living. The church is the visible evidence of an alternative to the status quo of the present.
Today we need bands of believers who will take the gospel at face value, who realize what God is doing, and who are living proof of being in the world without being of it. The church gathers by the hundreds on the hillside and by the dozens in houses all across the city in the name of Jesus. The church is empowered to incarnate into our lives what we believe in our heart and proclaim with our lips.
Are you an active part of the church?