We have all heard the tired joke about what kind of car Jesus drove based on the verse above. There is wisdom in never repeating a joke that is not funny, so, I spare you. What I would like to point out however, is why the above passage is as important as ever to a church that has divided itself up by denominational, racial and economic lines.
Would it surprise you to learn 87% of American churches are completely segregated by race? Denominationalism goes without saying as the Baptists would never deign to worship with the Methodists. Catholics and Protestants still distrust one another over 500 years later. Yes, doctrinal differences come into play, but if we are all reading from the same Bible and are all indwelt by the same Spirit, should we not be able to sit down and come to doctrinal truth. (Oh yeah, I forgot, it's more important for many of us to be right than correct...) And let's not forget the economic divide of the church: wealthy people have their congregations, the poor have theirs and the middle class have theirs.
Every bit of this is condemned by scripture! Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
1Corinthians 3:4-7 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
Acts 4:32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
According to scripture we are no to have a distinction based on heritage, we are not to divide up into denominations and we are not to have an imbalance of wealth.
According to scripture, the American church is a fundamental failure. No wonder we lost the culture war! Today's church is far more influenced by the world than any influence the church thinks it may have. The Biblical mandate: "Be ye in the world but not of the world" seems to not apply to the modern church.
What can we do? REPENT REPENT REPENT!! Unless we recognize our sin, unless we get rid of false prophets and ear tickling preachers, unless we expel from leadership all those who are there to benefit themselves we will never see the church fulfill it's scriptural mandate of being salt and light.
There are some individuals and congregations doing this the right way, unfortunately, these are few and far between. So many congregations have become exclusive clubs concerned with status quo and growth from those leaving other ministries rather than growth through evangelism. If you are part of a congregation, when was the last time an unchurched person was baptized or even welcomed into the fold? When was the last time a new member had never been a member somewhere else?
Ministry has become business and business stinks! Until we are ready to be the church rather than go to church, revival will elude us. Examine your heart and see if you are actively pursuing God's will for your life or are you merely going to church and indulging in the culture with little or no conflict.
Revival begins with individuals who are ready to submit wholly to God and not be dictated to by traditions or culture. The early church was united under the cause of Christ and Him crucified. The early church members saw the Great Commission as a mandate from God and took it seriously. Nothing we have and nothing we indulge is worth someone going to hell. Do not merely go to church, be the church!
Now, go live as Christ.... and give the devil hell!