The most impactful reason given is the exposure of leadership (some, not all) in their moral failure, which leads others to believe the church is hypercritical.
What does it mean to revive the church?
Many would mistakenly associate the question to church growth (membership) and larger buildings. It is neither of these. The church in this instance refers to followers of Jesus (believers) and is known also as the Body of Christ.
"Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church."
In recent years, church attendance declined, especially among the Millennials (ages 23-38) for various reason. The most impactful reason given is the exposure of leadership (some, not all) in their moral failure, which leads others to believe the church is hypercritical.
Ask yourself, does the younger generation have legitimate claims to this charge?
Many would say it was the enemy that causes this perception of the church. Not true. We give the adversary too much credit for something man chose to do all by himself.
Now is not the time to point the blame on any one group or person. We have entertained the negativity against the Body of Christ (the church) long enough, and it is time to reclaim the church, clean house, and get on with God's business for which he called you and me.
"And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'"
It is time to take back our youth with whom the enemy has his sight upon.
It is time to revive that which is restoring life and to give new energy and strength back to the body of Christ.
How do we begin? Remember the three "W's" when it comes to the church.
Who do we represent?
As representative of Christ we have a moral (understanding of right from wrong) and ethical (set of rules that determine corrective course of actions) standards that must be upheld at all times.
Does this mean mistakes will not be made? No, that is not what I am saying. We are to be true imitators of Christ and when fail, repent, seek his forgiveness and get back in the race.
"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
What are the ramifications for misrepresentation of Christ?
Danger lurks ahead for those who are seemingly called to lead in ministry and live a life of misrepresentation of Christ before others.
Our conversation and walk in life should mirror our testimony before others. Never speak like the world (swearing and vulgar language) and display righteousness when convenient. Do you not know there are others watching you and perhaps you are the only truth they will ever encounter.
"Woe to you, (self-righteous) scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and robbery and self-indulgence (unrestrained greed). You (spiritually) blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the plate (examine and change your inner self to conform to God's precepts), so that the outside (your public life and deeds) may be clean also.
Why did you and I choose of our own free will to surrender our life to Christ?
Out of his love he laid down his own life for me and you.
As representatives of Christ we are to be a light in a world of darkness. It is written: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin."
We will be held accountable before him when leading others. It is imperative to remain pure in heart (love and forgive) and led by the Lord in full obedience to his command. Where there is obedience you will find blessings to follow.
"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ's sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."
Are you ready to raise the roof for Jesus?
Can you feel the stirring in your spirit to run the race for Christ?
Will you accept him into your heart today?
The rewards awaiting the believers in Christ are his amazing love and eternity with him.?
When you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Please repeat this prayer: "Lord Jesus, forgive my sins I committed against you. I believe Jesus died for my sins and has risen again. Please come into my life and heart and lead the way. I confess you as my lord and savior from this day forward. In Jesus' name, amen."
Welcome into the family of Christ.
Until next week, go in peace. I love you!
(Bible references: Colossians 1:24: Mark 16:15; Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV; Matthew 23:25; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 John 1:7. To obtain the full benefits of each verse, please read the five verses before and after each verse.)
Contributing Writer Edith Nevis can be reached at 985-857-2200 or at email@example.com.