About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
In 1978 I preached a
Sunday morning message to a local Pentecostal church congregation.
I asked those in attendance this two-part question.
"If you no longer
had this building to gather in, and, if you no longer had any regularly
scheduled meetings, would you still have a church?"
This question is always
relevant, but because of recent government Covid restrictions imposed on
church, it's even more relevant today.
If these restrictions irritate you, know that as culture becomes
more anti-Christ in nature, things will only get worse for church.
You should get used to it, but more importantly, you should start
living church instead of just attending church.
Many local congregations
who call themselves church can't provide a positive answer to my
question. If they suddenly
lost their building and could no longer meet in regular scheduled
meetings, there would be no church because the church's existence
depends on a building and meetings.
I believed this to be true in 1978 and the resent Covid
restrictions have proven it to be true today.
Public health statistics show how many people have died due to
Covid, but they fail to show how many churches have died due to Covid
restrictions. If a
church can't survive government restrictions, I question the Biblical
legitimacy of that church in the first place.
I'm not discounting
buildings and meetings, but they are not church.
They are mere tools to help us collectively accomplish God's
will. According to 1
Corinthians 12:13 church is comprised of believers who have been
baptized, or immersed into, each other's lives.
"For we were all
baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or
Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to
Ephesians 4:16 speaks of
this baptism this way.
"From him the whole
body [church], fitted and knit together by
every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building
up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part."
Church is more than
attending meetings in a building we mistakenly call church.
As a sweater has been knitted and fit together with various
threads, so a local expression of church consists of various and
distinctive personalities that are knitted and fit together to form one
unified body of believers. Church
is about the Holy Spirit immersing you into the lives of those to whom
Jesus has placed you alongside to accomplish His will.
There is a dual functionality when it comes to Christian
ministry. You minister on
your own and you minister with those you have been baptized or knitted
If being knitted with a
few others in supportive and functional ministry is your experience in
church, you are blessed. If
this is not your experience, I pray that you find your place where you
are knitted alongside others in Jesus' present-day, physical human body,
so that both you and church can be what you and church are meant to be.
Church is all about
living church, not just attending church.