I have read some posts recently on social media lamenting changes in the style or the look of a place of worship and the congregation that meets in that place. On one hand, it gives me some satisfaction to know that God used me there in a manner that pleased his people. I am humbled that some would like it the way it was a few years ago when I was there.
On the other hand, there is some regret that forces me to pause and wonder what it would be like if those things had never changed. I have to wonder if there would even be a work for Christ among those people and in that place if those who stayed behind when God moved me had simply stayed the way I left them. What if they just stayed the same? What if nothing ever changed in or with the church? There is a hopeless fear that surrounds that thought. There is also a grace-filled hope that answers that fear.
In Acts chapter 2 the Holy Spirit of God descended on what would become the church of Jesus Christ. His power gave them the boldness and the power to speak the wonderful works of God. They were more concerned about the message than the language or the enumeration or the display of spiritual gifts. What if nothing had changed? In Acts chapter 4, Peter and John stopped their daily religious custom to give Jesus’ love to a man lame from birth. They also stood up to the religious elite who were set on allowing nothing to be different in the house of God and they prevailed. What if nothing had changed? In Acts chapter 5, Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead when they lied to God. What if nothing had changed? They were all in one accord and in one place. What if nothing had changed? Paul and Silas were jailed for preaching the simple gospel. What if nothing had changed? Fervent prayer from faithful followers of Christ freed them. What if nothing had changed? All of the faithful apostles were martyred for their tenacious preaching. Many others obtained the same fate. The gospel spread and those who saw it had an awe of what God was doing, even if they did not accept Christ. What if nothing had changed?
In the book of Acts, the greatest news is that 3,000, then 5,000, then many then multitudes of both men and women came to Christ. They continued in the apostles’ doctrine and prayer. They did not let a disagreement stop them from sharing Christ, though sometimes they went in different directions to do so. They went with plenty of supplies and with no purse or even a clean shirt. What if nothing had changed?
Today, the church seems interested in things that matter little. Comfort and personal taste seem more important than souls. Spiritual displays are deemed more important than sharing Christ. Flash more than faithfulness and clocks more than Christ are the evident order of things in what we call the church today. What if nothing changes?
1 Corinthians 15:50-53
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (NKJV)
©2013 SF Gallagher