Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called " Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands - remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:12-18
Listen also to these words by Jonathan Cahn:
The Scripture is saying that the Gentiles were going through their lives as if He didn’t really exist. The Greek word for without God is atheos, from which we get the word atheist. You might think an atheist is someone who denies God, but the root of the word really denotes someone who’s without God. If you’re not careful, you could end up being a Christian atheist- a Christian who lives as if God doesn’t exist. Much of modern Christianity, many churches, and ministers exist not for God, but to keep existing - serving the house of the Lord, not the Lord of the house. They wouldn’t run well without computers, phones, consultants, databases, or their business practices, but they’ll run smoothly atheos/without God. Beware that you don’t end up the same way, running activities in your life quite smoothly without God. Get back on your knees, because atheist really means without God, and without God nothing else matters.
I once lead a study on Christian atheism with our teens. I told them there was nothing worse than being a “Christian in Name Only,” one who just goes through the motions of religion without any discernable faith. The same is true of an atheist church. There is nothing worse than a church that exists only to exist and that could run smoothly with or without God.
I know that God is directing us away from this lukewarmness. He is challenging us to nourish the root of our faith community, to really learn what it means to love one another as Christ loves us. But if we are going to travel further down this road towards a new identity as a new church, we have to keep surrendering to Him and breaking down our hard soil. We have to stop insisting on our own agendas and really listen to what God is saying…or not saying. We have to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patience, kind, good-natured, faithful, gentle, and have self-control. None of us will ever fully embody all of these fruit, or even one of them. But we have to start there. We have to be believers who cannot exist without Christ and church that cannot exist without His blood and His peace flowing from one part of the body to the next.
Perhaps I am starting to sound like a broken record. But this is the message the Lord keep pressing upon me. “Lord”, I pray, “break and build us in your Name. Amen.”
-- Pastor Justin
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