As part of our Fanning the Flame process, my husband, our Pastor, has asked the church council to do the exercise I described earlier: pray and meditate, making a list of sins and repenting. There’s a little twist for them as leaders, however. In addition to their personal sins, they are to consider the sins we have committed as a church.
One of the council members told me she is having a hard time with this. ” I can easily think of things I’ve done wrong”, she said, “but what has the church done wrong over the years?”
If you read Chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation, you will find that Jesus rebukes the churches for things like this:
- Losing their fervor for good works
- Listening to false teachers
- Putting a stumbling block in the way of some who might believe
- Practicing or allowing sexual immorality among the members
- Depending upon themselves instead of God
- Doing good works for the wrong reasons
- Being “lukewarm” instead of passionate about following Christ
In the same chapters, Christ commends these churches for many things, but he still tells them they need to repent (hmmm…. back to Luther’s first Thesis again.) Hopefully this exercise will raise our consciousness as a congregation. Have we been too preoccupied with ourselves? Have we focused on maintenance instead of spreading the Gospel to those around us? Have we given sacrificially? Have we ignored bad behavior instead of lovingly correcting it? Our church is made up of people, and people are sinful. There’s no getting around it. We need to repent and allow God to change us into the church he wants us to be.
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent.” Revelation 2:5