6. Constant Prayer

“And He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to quit” (Luke 18:1)

Pray or quit. Get the church to praying or forget about making any kind of decent impact on this world for Christ. Enlist and train the members in prayer or mark the church off as existing in the flesh and insignificant in the work of the Kingdom.

Our Lord said, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.… (Quoting Jeremiah 56:7. See Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46).

“How is your church doing?” my friend asked a pastor. “We’re on life support,” came the answer.” “Oh? That bad?” The preacher said, “Far from bad, that’s the norm. Every church worth the name is on life support–the ‘life’ being the Holy Spirit. Unplug the church from the power of the Spirit and it dies.”

How’s your church’s life support system?

Being retired from the pastorate, I’m in different churches throughout the year. One of the first things I notice on entering a sanctuary is what we call the altar area. Is it conducive to people coming and kneeling for prayer? Sometimes, that area is so cluttered with tables and chairs that anyone coming to kneel and pray is out of luck.

7. Centrality of Scripture

I have two burdens about this. The first is something our Lord said to the Sadducees. “You make two mistakes: You do not know the Scriptures, nor do you know the power of God.” (see Matthew 22:29). Those who do not know God’s word will never see His power. Sadly, I fear many modern churches are demonstrating this.

The second burden is the statement in Hebrews 5:11ff. ….you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary things of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. Tell me if that does not describe half the people in the typical congregation on Sunday.

And who’s fault is it? There is enough blame to go around. Pastors and church leaders share it, the denomination’s leadership shares it, and most of all, the individual members share it. More than anyone else, if I am ignorant of God’s word, I am to blame. And if anything gets done to remedy that, I’ll be the one who decides. I think of the prodigal in the hog pen “coming to himself” and saying, “I will arise and go to my father….” Let each of us decide to come home to the Father and do the right things.

We are all to know God’s word, not so we can be knowledgeable but in order to obey Him. Our Lord said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 17:13). Obedience is the goal, not head knowledge. Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things I have told you?” (Luke 6:46)

That is my seven-fold list of essentials. Many structures in the typical church may be removed and replaced, but there is no replacement for these. They are load-bearing!

This article originally appeared on joemckeever.com. Used with permission.

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