Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
As we saw last Sunday, the ancient church at Sardis had a serious problem: they had a reputation for being alive, but Jesus said they were dead. While others thought well of them in light of all the activity taking place in that church, Jesus revealed there was no true spiritual life present. So, we might ask: What does it mean for a church to be truly alive?
Most importantly, an alive church is one that is deeply connected to our Lord. In Jn. 15, Jesus said that He is the vine and we are the branches. A branch cut off from the vine will obviously die, for it will have no source of water and nutrients. A church (or an individual Christian) that does not remain securely in the Vine of Christ, will have no source of spiritual life flowing into it. Religious activity may disguise the death that has overtaken a church, but such activity cannot reverse death.
Thus, it is essential for us that we abide in Christ, recognizing we can do nothing apart from Him. We do this by regularly praying, acknowledging our need for Christ and opening ourselves to the filling, leading, and empowering of the Holy Spirit. A spiritually alive church is one that diligently seeks the guidance of the Lord rather than following a purely human agenda. An alive church is one that delights in giving God authentic praise and worship.
An alive church is one that embraces the fullness of God’s love, and then shows that love to others in practical and meaningful ways – both those inside the church and those still outside the church. An alive church is one where the members truly care for one another, bearing one another’s burdens, offering healing, hope, and encouragement.
An alive church is one where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central and clearly proclaimed, so all can grow as His disciples. An alive church is involved in taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
What a joy and privilege to be in that kind of church! By God’s grace, may IBCZ be exactly that, and may each of us do our part in making that a reality!
Grace and peace,