"God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him in the midst of loss, not prosperity." --John Piper

Friday, June 10, 2011

About church growth...

1 John 1:1-4

 1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

They (John and whoever else "we" refers to in verse 1, probably leaders of the church) had seen Jesus with their own eyes. They had witnessed more than just the miracles, they had seen them in context. They had heard Him speak of the Father and proclaim the gospel. So now what did they want? They wanted to share that with others, they wanted others to be a part of this great fellowship. But not to fellowship with them, but to fellowship with God.

Church growth is a great thing, provided it is growing into fellowship with God and Christ. Just having a large or a small gathering without it being completely centered on God is irrelevant. As Matt Chandler says about church, it is a lame hobby.

But there is something else in these verses. At the end, he states a motivation for proclamation, "so that our joy may be complete." They found joy in sharing God with others. Failure to find joy in serving God is a problem. And failure to serve God gives us a joy that is incomplete. So, God is not in need of our begrudging submission. I don't think He even wants it. He wants our hearts to be turned to Him. He wants us to find our joy completely in Him regardless of circumstance. He wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. So it naturally follows, that if we do love Him in such a way, that our joy will not be complete unless we serve Him wholeheartedly.

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