In the days of the biblical Apostles, church gatherings were God centered. Believers spent most of their time learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship with meals and prayer. They continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another, even to the point of selling their properties and possessions to distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. This happened every day. They met in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, praising God, and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. Also, every day the Lord added believers to their group. If you notice, the church real value is outside a physical building.
Furthermore, speaking of the physical buildings, they are without value to God. Since he said, “You may well look at all these. I tell you this: not a single stone here left in its place; every one of them will be thrown down.” Therefore, as pointing, to something greater (that is Jesus) he says to David, “Your son Solomon is the one who will build my Temple. I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father”. Jesus speaking of himself says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The church that Jesus built consists of baptized believers in Jesus name. He said, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” Moreover, Isaiah wrote, What house have ye built me? Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool”. The church that Jesus built is far more excellent than the temple built by Solomon. So where is the church today?
The Bible offers the purest example of what church should be. However, how many churches today measure up? How many churches do you know spends most of their time learning and applying the teaching of the apostles? How many take part in the fellowship meals and prayer? How many continue together in close association to the point of selling their properties and possessions to distribute the money? Here is the clincher, how many are consistent day after day?
The truth is churches in today’s world are too busy competing for the next Grammy award. It is all lights, camera, and action. Yes, things have changed. Before the inventions of radio, telephones, cars, computers, and the internet, people attend church excited to hear the word of God. Church was the center of the communities; as an information source members would not only listen to the reading of the Bible; but world events also. Today, the internet offers people a world of information with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, This has left churches competing for an audience. Churches are experiencing a rapid decline in membership, so to offset these numbers, they have compromised and enter the game of advertisement. You can find them now on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Vine. I am not expressing this to be wrong; my concern is the future condition of the Church. As commercialism increases, it will solidify what being there all alone, man-made businesses.
Let us go back a moment. Remember, the church grew under the hands of the Apostles, as they spent time learning from the apostles. They held fellowship and prayer; sharing their belongings to the point of selling their properties and possessions to support one another. This happened every day, and so the Lord added believers every day to the church. The church that is God-centered will hold these principles as their core. However, the commercialized church will find itself doing what every other business is doing to reach its customers. Moreover, this will eventually change religion altogether. These are a few signs of a commercialized church movement.
- Camera means Showtime when people in the church begin acting differently during recordings.
- Lights and music: The lights and music are there to create a mood. The right attitude brings in the spirit of God.
- Beware of organizational ego: When people talk more about what God is doing with their organization, rather than what he is doing with his international church.
- Beware of churches creating fundraisers, telethons and walkathons to support building projects.
- Churches selling their recorded services; a big sign of commercialization.
- Churches are more concern about people joining them, rather than to God.
- Loss of identity, the commercial religion has no distinction it will be just like the other business
- Commercial churches attract people to them by shining light on their abilities or gifts.
- Commercial church’s goal is to get other churches underneath them (partners, associates, allies); they call this growth
- Commercial churches love passive evangelism; avoids personal and active outreach.
- Commercial churches focus on numbers of members
The church that Jesus built still exists: but as a priceless coinage lost in a house or a treasure hidden in the world, only those seeking with their whole hearts find the church. In fact, it is the only one of its kind. This means the church of God strongest element is its ability to be different from those merely calling themselves churches. It may be difficult for inexperienced eyes to detect a real gem from a phony one. However, God’s church will stand out with a desire for people to have a biblical relationship with God without a focus on a membership of an organization. The church of Jesus is famous for its godly love and the power of the Gospel of salvation. It will never sell the word of God for profit. Freely receive; freely give without price; through active outreach and personal Bible studies. The only active power that saves is the preaching of Jesus. The church of God changes people for the better and brings value to the whole church. On the other hand, as more churches become commercial organizations they will eventually lose value and their way. It is great in these times to remember the words of Jesus. He said, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The Church Jesus built endures all ages. This church will follow Christ and ignore the ways of the world. The body of Christ will hold fast to biblical standards and never driven by numbers and status. The Bride of Christ trust God to be the same yesterday and today and forever.
So where in the world is the church Jesus built? Courageously working to save people through the message of Jesus. Its members work under the meek spirit of Christ. He said, “Make certain you do not perform your religious duties in public so that people will see what you do. If you do these things publicly, you will not have any reward from your Father in heaven”. “So when you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, as the hypocrites do in the houses of worship and on the streets. They do it so that people will praise them. I assure you, they have their pay.” The church of God performs in ways that point people to God. “Let your light shine in a way that people see your good works and glorify God on your behalf. The church of God will remain the course. Unfortunately, many will not find it before falling prey commercialism.