Saturday, July 2, 2011

Do our Churches stand in Judgment of the World?

Do our Church buildings stand in judgment of the world? This question can be asked in this way, "Do our churches offer sanctuary to the elect?"

As I ponder the building of Noah's ark, I cannot help but wonder what were the people thinking as Noah built this huge ship. They walked by unaware of the coming judgment upon the world. Noah and his family were safe. They were invited by God along with His creation to take sanctuary inside the ship. Those left outside met their demise at the hands of our God. A God whose justice is perfect.

Image from Ancient Catcomb
"The ship was an ancient Christian symbol of the Church. It is the Church tossed on the sea of disbelief, worldliness, and persecution but finally reaching safe harbor with its cargo of human souls. Part of the imagery comes from the ark saving Noah's family during the Flood (1 Peter 3:20-21). Jesus protecting Peter's boat and the apostles on the stormy Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41). It was also a great symbol during times when Christians needed to disguise the cross, since the ship's mast forms a cross in many of its depictions. In the same vein, the main part of a church's interior, the place where the people worship, is called a "nave," from the Latin "navis" -- ship." Taken from Jesuswalk.com

We, who are in the Church, should be escaping the storms of the world. We are seeking sanctuary in Christ’s blood that washes away our sin. (Col. 1:20-23) We are not to bring the world into the church. (1 Cor. 5:9-13) Noah was elected by God to take sanctuary in the ark. There was no good work he performed to earn this distinction. God favored him by His sovereign grace. (Heb. 11:7) Noah and his family had to separate themselves out from the world. And so, too, should we! (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

But if we bring the world and our unrepentant nature into the church, we have defeated the work of Christ upon the Cross! (Heb. 10:26-28) Like Peter who took his eyes away from the Savior trusting in his own righteousness, we will sink into the mire of the world. (Mt. 14:28-33) This results in the Church looking no different than the world.

Our churches should stand as structures of God’s judgment upon a wicked world and as a sanctuary to those who look to the cross to save us from our sins! As we enter a church building, let us leave the world behind, and look ahead to the Cross of Christ!