As he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, â€œTeacher, see what kind of stones and what kind of buildings!â€
Jesus said to him, â€œDo you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone on another, which will not be thrown down.â€ Mark 13:1-2 (WEB)
Jesusâ€™ prophetic words were fulfilled around 70 A.D. when Rome tore down the temple to its foundation leaving not a stone on top of another.Â Do Jesusâ€™ words still speak for me today?
I live in a part of the United States that is generally known as the Bible belt.Â If only that meant that those of us who lived here were reading and living Godâ€™s Word in our hearts!Â One of our (Energion Publications) authors, Dr. David A. Black, says we should be known as â€œthe Religious Beltâ€ because we donâ€™t really know the Bible â€“ we just have a lot of â€˜religionâ€™! What it really means is that there are more churches per capita in this part of the country than in any other part!Â We have hundreds of churches in every city.Â Even towns with no stop lights have churches. (and usually not just one!)
Most churches are not growing churches.Â They do not show an increase in membership in a given year.Â Then there is the â€˜working membersâ€™ factor â€“ of new members, how many are growing in discipleship and how many joined so that they can check that off their social check list?
Jesus told the Samaritan woman (John 4) that there would come a time when we would worship God not in just a place but we would truly worship Him in Spirit and Truth.Â Jesus seems to be trying to get us to put our focus not on buildings but on being His disciple outside of a building!Â If you take away church buildings, what does being a disciple of Jesus Christ look like?
I have been working many hours on a book this week that has convicted me so much that my toes may be permanently deformed from being mashed! Soup Kitchen for the Soul was written by Renee Crosby who tells how she learned by serving in a soup kitchen. Donâ€™t read it if you think you have â€˜arrivedâ€™ as a disciple of Jesus!
I have learned through Reneeâ€™s testimony and Biblical teaching that if we are doing what Jesus taught we will be outside the church building. Jesus was outside the synagogue more than He was in it!Â Jesus met the people in their comfort zone.Â Jesus taught with parables, bringing the Fatherâ€™s love to the people in their daily lives.Â Â It was not church membership that made a person a disciple.Â It was their lifeâ€¦lived out in humble obedience to God and characterized by unselfish service to others.
Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Donâ€™t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. Â Â Â Romans 12:1-2 (WEB)