It’s a fair question, that popped up on our Facebook page, as I was pondering Colossians 1:21, which reads, “And you were once alienated and hostile in your minds and evil works, yet now you have been reconciled.” It was then I realized that being a Christian is not really about what we stand for, rather it is a question of who we are, which in turn is best understood in contrast with who we once were.
The Problem With The Question.
I learned many years ago, that to get the right answer, you must first ask the right question. Standing for something implies having an agenda. It also means that the group is issue-focused and is united around a common cause. Yet the Church I know, is often quite disjointed. Pick any political issue, and you will see people disagree, yet time after time, they rise above such issues. The Church is not about issues or causes, it is all about Jesus.
So What is the Right Question?
Because the Church understands itself as a living thing and not an organization, the better question is ‘Who or what is the Church?’ When we ask this question, we are now dealing with the issue of identity. This is exactly the same question we prefer to answer when we meet someone new. As individuals, we are not defined by causes we may champion for a season, rather we are defined by our relationships, our purposes, our character and our personality.
So Who Are We?
The Cornerstone Christian Church is best understood in the context of these questions. Sure I could give you a list of dot points that explain our take on Christian Doctrine, and if you want one, look up any mainstream Protestant Church, like a Baptist or Presbyterian or Methodist or Anglican, and you will find a list of Doctrines, that outline what Christians believe and we would not vary from the things they are saying. And yes it is important to be clear about what we believe and what we teach. Yet we are so much more than a list of Doctrines.
We belong to Jesus
Our Church, just like thousands of other Churches all over the World, are a people of God. Sin once alienated us from God and from each other. The horrible and hurtful things that each one of us had done, became a barrier to friendships and relationships. When Jesus died on the Cross, He paid the penalty for those sins. He could do that because He was God who became a man. He took all our sins upon Himself and bore our punishment, He died on the Cross.
Being God, He rose again, conquering sin and death.
Once He had taken our sins, He gave us new life, not to everyone, but to those who would surrender their hearts to Him, agreeing that they are sinners, asking forgiveness and inviting Jesus into their lives.
Now when Jesus is alive in me, and also alive in you, we share the same Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Therefore the things which we saw as making us different, now disappear. Our ethnic identity no longer separates us, because we are in Jesus. Our Social status no longer matters, because we are both sinners saved by Jesus. Our individual ages no longer matter, because we have the Spirit of Eternal life in us. Every single excuse that people use to look down their noses at each other, disappears because we are in Jesus.
We are Called to: Love God, Love one another and Proclaim God’s Favor.
The Church has a purpose. It is called to point other people to Jesus. We do this in three distinct ways. First, we demonstrate the value of being reconciled to God, by loving Him wholeheartedly. If loving Jesus is really important, then people should be able to see that love in our lives.
And if we really love God, we will love people and we will especially love other Christians. After all, If Christ is in the other people in my Church, then I should love them. To not be loving toward them, would be the same as not being loving to Jesus.
What about the people outside the Church, well we are still called to love them, because the Bible says, God created them in His image.
Finally, we have to tell people outside the Church, that they need Jesus. I know people do not want to hear that, and it seems wrong to them for us to push our beliefs on them. But if they stepped back for a moment and looked through our eyes, they would see why we have to tell them about Jesus. As Christians, we believe the Bible. The Bible says they will face a horrible eternity, if they do not become Christians. What sort of monsters would we be, believing that the person we are talking to is in big trouble and we did not warn them?
We are called to be Holy.
Like everyone else, I have a family name. When members of your family behave badly, it affects how people see you. Growing up in a small community, my family name was mud. I had several members of my close family who were known for immoral behavior and even illegal activities. They were all older than me. When people in my community heard my family name, I was already judged unworthy, even though I had done no wrong.
Now as a Christian, I find that people still judge me, because of Christians they have known and those Christians behaved badly. However it is not just me they look down upon, they also look down on God and think poorly of His Church. Little wonder God calls His people to be Holy and to flee from sin. Sin caused Jesus to die on the Cross, what is more, a Church or a Christian who willingly sins, brings shame on God and all those other Christians who really do want to please God. God did say, “You shall be Holy, for I the Lord am Holy.”
We are are ordinary people who have an extraordinary God.
The last thing we want you to know about us is our personality as a Church. Let’s face it, Churches can be really weird. Personally, I am not into weird. I far prefer ordinary. In some Churches, people dress up in strange clothes, have ceremonies and processions that they call acts of worship. We don’t do that. Some Churches get really hyper, people yell at God and each other, while others jump around and others go into some sort of overdrive and hype. We are not into that. Then some Churches stage concert-like performances. Massive light shows, well-groomed singers and every word and every movement are designed for effect. That is not us.
We are just ordinary people from all sorts of backgrounds and even nationalities. And we do normal. What you see is what you get and we like it that way. Some might call it ordinary, we call it special.
Who Can Come to Our Church?
We don’t get picky. If you front up to our door, you will be welcomed. But it generally works best, if you are wanting to know the God of the Bible and if you are an everyday person, who needs to be cared about and is willing to care about others. Better still, come along and find out first hand.