November 16th – God’s Attractive Church



We are looking at the basic character profile of the early church to see what made it so irresistible to a hostile world.So far from being another weird ritualistic religion, it was a growing joy to serve and change the whole known world within one generation.
We have looked at two of the characteristics so far: the Apostles’ teaching, riveted on Jesus the Messiah, and the fellowship of a loving, spirit-filled community. The most attractive kind of family in this or any world. Let’s just pause a moment today, to draw a contrast. This is a quotation from the great C.S.Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters, which you will recall was a collection of letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil. Remember, it’s the devil writing:
“I wrote with grave displeasure that your patient has become a Christian … There is no need to despair; hundreds of these adult converts have been reclaimed after a short sojourn in the enemy’s camp, and are now back with us …One of our great allies at present is the church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the church as we (devils) see her, spread out through all time and space, rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That I confess is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans … he sees neighbours that sing out of tune or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes … and concludes that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous …Keep his mind full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs …Keep everything hazy in his mind and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which hell affords.” Lewis was a genius at showing how satanically superficial is so much or our religious thinking.
Are you as sick as I am of the charicatures of Christian fellowship which abound in the world’s mocking media? Are you not even more sick of so-called churches, communities, which are really closed religious clubs, or at best socially friendly societies? Don’t you long for Christian communities which truly befriend a loveless world, enfold in its arms and prays for the sick and suicidal and lonely, as well as the polite and successful? Communities lit by the light of love of Christ which, when they ask you how you are, are ready for the real truth? Acts 5:42
Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is Christ.
A Prayer:
Living Lord, enable your people to live your Lordship and stop playing at religion, so that the world may be drawn to you.
Now read Psalm 30.

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Thought 4 The Day

Christianity is not about how to escape from the difficulties of life, but about how to face them. (Brian Edwards)

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Click on any previous date in the above calendar to read the relevant Through The Year post
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