The other day I saw a cartoon which featured a Lego building block sitting in a chair beside a round Tinkertoy. They were apparently “married” to one another and they were sitting across from a marriage counselor. One block had a bubble above his head that said, “We want to build something incredible together.” The other block at that point chimes, “But we just can’t seem to connect.”
That cartoon made me think about our current sermon series. I think all of us want to be effective at “building something incredible.” We want to be effective at building incredible careers. We want to be effective at building incredible families. We want to be effective at building incredible churches. I’ve never met a real Christian who wants their church to be ineffective. No true disciple would be satisfied for non-Christians to remain that way. For some reason, our churches often seem to come up short of effective. Over the last few weeks, we have considered various issues that can make us more effective. We must do things like spread the work, understand our purpose, be equipped, and be enthusiastic. Take away any of those things and our effectiveness will be diminished. There is one thing, however, that can completely undermine any of these building blocks, a lack of holiness. A lack of holiness makes us like our married blocks – we want to do something, but we can’t seem to connect.
One of the biggest reasons that churches are ineffective is that they are so often filled with people whose hands, eyes, feet, mind, mouths, etc. are dirty. It is not saying that they are filled with non-Christians, but Christians today are having a much more difficult time staying clean.
While planning our trip to Africa this summer, I spoke with a trusted friend and asked him what I could possibly tell a group of Arabic Christians that would be of benefit to them. He told me to tell them how much easier it was to be a Christian for them. In their culture, they didn’t have access to all of the things that we have to defile us. Their holiness was reinforced by the fires of persecution. Our holiness is threatened by the fires of worldly passions that are so pervasive in our culture.
The Apostle John says it like this “If we say, ‘We have fellowship with Him,’ and walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.” In other words, it is impossible to come to church and act like everything is spiritually okay if we are giving darkness any foothold in our lives. This is the essence of holiness. We cannot find holiness by stumbling around in the dark. We have to be willing to walk in the light. The solution to our problem is not as complicated as one might think. John goes on to say that if we confess our sins, he will cleanse us of our unrighteousness. This is not a license to live in rebellion, but it is reassurance that the sin problem that causes our trouble is the same sin problem that Jesus died to solve.
That’s where we come in. Walking in the light is a daily process – not something we master in a week or two. Effective churches are filled with people who wage the war against sin every day that they live. They confess their sins. They give glory to God for the forgiveness of their sins. They walk in the light as He is in the light. They can in fact build something incredible because there is nothing that would prevent them from connecting to the very heart of the Almighty. They lift up holy hands in prayer because indeed their hands are holy.
In Christ Alone,