The Church in Perspective
The Church in Perspective
The more I travel from place to place (being involved in church activities) and the more I participate in various church meetings at all levels, I keep arriving at one conclusion; and that is, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, whether in Cayman, Washington, Haiti, or Italy, is the same –the Church of God. A sense of mission drives us to be about the business of preaching, teaching and living the word of God. Though strangers in some ways when in a new area, the fact that we are Seventh-day Adventists peels through what would be obvious barriers and blockage. It must be our love for Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit that propels us to welcome and receive strangers almost immediately into our homes. I can only imagine what heaven will be like.
The Danger of Pride
As I reflect upon this disposition, I am heartened. Furthermore, as I behold our various structures and facilities at the General Conference Headquarters in Washington, the IAD Office in Miami, Florida, or the new Union Offices in Honduras, Chiapas, Mexico, Nassau and other territories, I have to resist seriously the temptation to take extreme pride in these- overlooking that these are but means to an end. The mean thing is to have the where withal to proclaim the gospel, inclusive of Daniel and Revelation, with a clear ring. The end is the salvation of people- culminating in the return of Christ. We look forward to that day as noted in our name. As long as we keep these facts and realities before us, we are safe. For this reason, I advance to my next point.
Not to Miss the Point
Jesus is very clear in Matthew 28:19, 20 as He enjoins His people to go into the entire world and make disciples of all His people; for according to John 3:16, He is interested in the world. Additionally, Ellen White explains, “The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world.” In fact, she adds, “From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency.”
As members of God’s church, having been called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light, we “are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to ‘the principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ the final and full display of the love of God” (Ephesians 3:10 --Acts of the Apostles, p. 9).
Evaluating the Church
Therefore, when we look at God’s church, we must never forget to go back to that mandate of Matthew 28:19, 20. As for a church board, should not the first business be to a revisiting of that mandate? This also applies at the local field and Union levels. If we are not strategic in this regard, we are likely to take pride in the means and forget the end. At the end of the age, God’s question will be one of faithfulness. How faithful have we been in fulfilling His will and purpose for all people? In this vein, it is crucial that we evaluate ourselves daily to ensure we are faithful to our call to mission. We must be about employing our talents to fulfill the church’s agenda. In the lyrics of a song sung by Steve Greene, I say, “May all who come behind us find us faithful.”