Colossians 1:15-18a (NIV)
The Supremacy of the Son of God
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church;
In my continuing effort to write about the type of church that I would like to establish, I have been met with some obstacles. Numerous hindrances and barriers have been placed in my path in order to prevent me from trying to understand and follow God’s will for my life. I have been overwhelmed with many challenging life situations and they have taken my focus away from writing about my desires to establish a church. So as I continue to battle spiritual warfare, I want to attempt to describe the type of church that I hope to one day begin.
The following are beliefs that I have written about thus far:
• These words from Jesus will form the core belief for our church: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)
• My calling is to establish a church where people of diverse backgrounds and ethnicity come together to worship God the Father, Christ our Savior and Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, who powerfully guides the church
• We will be a church that prays constantly for the Holy Spirit to lead and inspire the church
• We will be open and accepting of anyone but we will not compromise and give in to the “world” when it comes to preaching the Gospel message
• Jesus is the only way to God and eternal life – that truth from Holy Scripture will be a foundational belief for our church
• Our church will be non-denominational so that we can attract people from different faith backgrounds who recognize Christ as head of the church
Today, I want to write about forgiveness and mercy. There is a quote that you may have heard that goes like this: “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” Too often in the church today, we pretend that everything is ok in our lives. We don’t like to admit that we are struggling spiritually, emotionally, or financially. We put on a mask or a brave face when we enter church because we want others to think that we have it all together. What a terrible mistake we make when we do this. The church should be a safe place where we can confide in others our fears, struggles, and weaknesses. As we are able to extend mercy and forgiveness to others, and to ourselves, we are in the beginning stages of learning how to achieve spiritual growth and maturity in Christ.
Morton Kelsey writes, “Christianity is the only major religion that promises free forgiveness and mercy to anyone who genuinely asks for it.” Kelsey goes on to write: “I get so discouraged with Christian ministers who preach judgment, and more judgment, when the essential message of Christianity is loving mercy and forgiveness. Preaching judgment or acting it out only walls people off from us and shuts them up with their problems. Judging is very close to the essential idea of karma, which says that individuals must pay for every sin and error they have committed. Reflecting on my own life, I hope and pray that this is not so. I am very sure that judgment and punishment seldom, very seldom, redeem anyone.” ( Morton Kelsey, What is Heaven Like? The Kingdom As Seen in the Beatitudes, p. 34).
I believe this in my own life as a believer and in my ministry as well. Seldom do people remain or grow in their faith when they have been pressured or made to feel guilty in accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior. Over the years, I have been witness to the fact that a growing and lasting faith in Christ comes about only when the individual realizes their complete inadequacy as a fallen human being and joyfully accepts the forgiveness and mercy of our risen Lord and Savior. If you are like me, you probably beat yourself up way too much already as you try to lead a good Christian life. Jesus tells us that, while we will never attain perfection on this earth, He will forgive us and heal us if we will only place our faith and trust in Christ alone.
I want to establish a church where we help individual believers to repent of sin in their life and then to accept forgiveness and mercy from God, so that they can lead the kind of life that leads others to Christ. If you share in this belief, I ask that you pray for God’s will to be done, so that a church can be started where people feel safe in confiding to others their sin, knowing they won’t be judged or criticized for their honest admission. Then, and only then, can we begin to grow in Christ and start the process of spiritual maturity as we seek God’s will for our own individual lives and God’s will for the Church Of The Way.
The Church Of The Way:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”