This whole week I have been down in Daytona Beach at NewSpring Church’s Youth Camp called “The Gauntlet.” We have heard some very powerful and very encouraging messages, but one thing has stood out to me thus far.
Our student director, Brad Cooper, has been speaking about the D.N.A. of the church. What is it? What does it look like? He made a statement in this morning’s message that I would like to press down upon a little more in this post. The statement is “I am the church.” He said the church is not brick or mortar. The church is not a building. The church is not a steeple. The church is not a denomination. But the church is the people. He went on to say “Jesus didn’t die to redeem buildings, but He died to redeem people.” Think about that for a minute. Let that sink in. Because I think so many of us have grown up with the belief that the church is this place we go to on Sundays when in fact it is impossible to go to church when you are the church. God does not show up in buildings anymore. God does not dwell in a structure built by man. God lives inside of you and inside of me. Paul said it this way:
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11 ESV)
After establishing this truth about the church, Brad went on to challenge the students and even us leaders as well. He said “What are you waiting for?” You are the church. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of you. The same spirit that empowered Jesus to open blinds eyes, restore hearing to deaf ears, heal the sick, make the lame leap, raise people from the dead; also empowers you. So what are you doing to be the church? The church is proactive. We don’t wait for people to come to us. Just like Jesus, the church is suppose to seek and save that which is lost.
So what is it that is holding you back from being the church? Is it because you are too young? Paul answered Timothy like this pertaining to that question “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 ESV) Is it because you are too old? It is never too late for God to use you. He used Abraham when he was 100 years old. He called Moses when he was 80. He had Noah build an ark at the age of 120. Is it because of your past? Paul writes that there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1) and that all things have been made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). I could go on and on, but whatever it is, don’t let it keep you from being the church. Don’t let it hold you back any longer. What are you waiting for? Be the church!