A Living Body or The Tired Minister – By Thomas Koester

“Here lies a faithful parishioner that never missed a Sunday morning service.”

Matthew 18:19-20

Amplified Bible

“Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them.”

When the Church comes together in perfect unity, we form an abode or a habitation for the presence of God. It is our connecting and unity that creates the Church and not a building. What fills the Church is, therefore, not sinners but saints, each filled with the Holy Spirit and the likeness of Christ. We know we have achieved this when we have unconditional love for one another and respect and honor for those who are our servant-leaders.

This is not about the perfection of both the saints and those who lead. It’s about perfect love and devotion to Christ and his teaching. When we are devoted to Christ and his ways, grace, mercy, and love prevail. When we focus on the failings of one another, and especially those who must give an account to the Lord for their servant-leadership, there is no abiding presence of God. Unity is thwarted, the glory of God departs (Ichabod), and we simply become a building of brick and mortar.

Christ will not fill a building, no matter how pretty or architecturally pleasing it may be. He fills his people and in a special way when they gather in unity of faith, love, and correct teaching.

When we have unconditional love and forgiveness towards one another, and when we honor those in authority over us who must give an account to God, Christ dwells in our midst. Even when our gatherings are as few as two or three and have no building to gather in, we are the Church.

The concept and identity of the Church, which by the way is living and active, is not summed up by Sunday services. The reason why Christ said, “where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in their midst,” is not meant to be concealed by a building or regulated by a 90 minute service, but to become a mobile spiritual habitation of the glorious presence of God and of Christ to the world, wherever we gather and however small, or large we are in numbers.

Stop “going” to Church and become the Church. Start loving, honoring, and preferring one another. Keep forgiving and loving one another as Christ has forgiven and loved you. Serve one another, as actually serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Do everything out of love and respect for the Lord. Devote yourselves to studying and reading the scriptures and practicing the presence of God within your own hearts and souls, so that you may become a whole and a holy people when you gather, and when the world sees your love for one another they will believe your message.

Ministry is not meant for the minister. Rather, ministers are to teach the Church to minister first to one another and then to the world. Our individual and corporate maturity depend on each person operating in the spiritual gift given them by the Holy Spirit. The gifts given by Christ to the Church are officers, such as apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers. These offices are to train and equip the Church.

The officers are not meant to do all the work but to empower the church to carry out the work of ministry so that we all may reach maturity. An immature Church is one who produces spectators, which only increase from transient, church hopping attendees that are only devoted to themselves, and introverted church programs.

To the immature church, tithes, gifts, and offerings are only needed for self-sufficiency and to sustain the ministry strictly for the ministered. The tragic reality is that many churches simply send 10% of their revenue from tithes to missionaries rather than sending out people on a mission. Jesus Christ didn’t die to create token churches. Churches are not meant to become cemeteries of dead saints, scattered in the landscape, or sitting in the church pews.

Did you know that recent studies have shown that sitting is more deadlier than smoking? Sitting around as Christians and as a church is deadly to our testimony and our future glory. An alive church is one that reproduces apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers. An alive church recognizes the expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven rather than the expansion of their sanctuaries. The alive Church sends people out and recruits new believers to take their place.

Time, talent, and treasure are outwardly focused on inwardly spirit filled saints, gathered with an outward, unified conscience of obedience and a call to mission impossible, rather than a mission for dead saints.

Letters in Red (said by Jesus): “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:18-20 (NKJV)

Become alive in Christ. Live life to the fullest in Christ. Aid and pray for your Pastors, and Pastors, train your congregations, and do not just preach at them.

Could you imagine if all churches became equipping, training, and sending churches?

I think Christ died outside the Temple, so the entire world would see his atonement and would know of his sacrifice.

I think Jesus wants the whole world to see his Church, also outside the Temple, outside of brick and mortar buildings, so all the world would see and know of his love.

We must become more than a location, more than a building on East and W. 4th Street. We must become a living body.

If not an active and living body, we’ll become nothing more and a pretty building with a tired minister of perpetual ministering to over-ministered people with no mission, landscaped with clusters of graves and headstones. The epitaphs will read:

“Here lies a faithful parishioner that never missed a Sunday morning service.”

That sounds a little, like the servant, who buried his master’s talent into the earth because he was afraid and so risked nothing. Matthew 25:14-30

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