What if the Church Was the Church?

by Scott Sauls

Just a few “What if’s…” on my mind this week.
Spurred on by the New Testament vision for Christians and Christ’s church.
In our current climate of vitriol, distrust, slander and taking easy offense, WHAT IF Christians could lead in the following…?

What if, in the spirit of Jesus providing wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-12) and of the audacious, forgiving father throwing a grand feast for the entire community (Luke 15:11-32), Christians became known for hosting hospitable, inclusive and life-giving parties for friends, neighbors, colleagues, strangers and strugglers (Matthew 22:1-14)?

What if, in the spirit of Paul intelligently and winsomely engaging Greek academics with the truth of the gospel, Christians became known for engaging in thoughtful, enriching, challenging and honoring discourse about God, humanity and life (Acts 17:22-34; Colossians 4:6; 1 Peter 3:15)?

What if, in the spirit of how care was given to vulnerable children and women in the early church, women experiencing the trauma and fear of an unplanned pregnancy began to think first of local churches, not local clinics, as a comprehensively life-giving place of comfort, counsel and care (James 1:27)?

What if, in the spirit of Scripture’s vision for marriage and sexuality, instead of condemning the world for its broken sexuality, Christians exemplified the beauty of “biblical marriage” by having biblical marriages—the counter-cultural kind in which mutual love, respect and submission is tenderly shared between husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:21-33)?

What if, as an answer to the loneliness felt by uncoupled men and women both inside and outside the church, Christians became known for nurturing communities in which every person, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, was given the full experience of family (Matthew 12:49-50; Romans 8:15)?

What if the local church became the world’s answer to loneliness and isolation, thereby becoming the life-giving alternative to social media induced isolation and depression, soul-stealing pornography habits, body exploiting hookups, non-committal cohabitations and lonesome bar stools (Psalm 68:6; 1 Corinthians 7:7-8; Ephesians 5:21-33)?

What if, in the spirit of Scripture’s vision for the integration of faith and work, Christians became known as the bosses everyone wants to work for, the colleagues everyone wants to work alongside, and the employees everyone wants to hire (Ephesians 6:5-9)?

What if, in the spirit of Scripture’s vision for doing justly and loving mercy, Christians became widely known as the world’s first and most thorough responders whenever a friend, neighbor, colleague or stranger experiences tragedy, such as divorce, unemployment, a crippling diagnosis, a loved one’s death or a rebellious child (Micah 6:8)?

What if, in the spirit of the Good Samaritan, Christians became widely known as those who rescue from danger, bandage over wounds, and provide care and shelter to those who have been abandoned, beaten and left for dead by the cruelty of human selfishness and greed (Luke 10:25-37)?

What if, in the spirit of Jesus’ life and teaching, Christians became widely known not only as the best kinds of friends, but the best kinds of enemies—responding to persecution with prayer, to scorn with kindness, to selfishness with generosity, to offense with forgiveness, to hatefulness with grace and love (Matthew 5:1-12)?

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Source: Church Leaders