A church is NOT a building – it’s the “called out ones” or children of God. A church is the people of God! We are the church (Eph. 2:19-22; I Cor. 3:16-17; I Peter 2:5).
One problem I see in the church today is that I believe the church is living too much and emphasizing too often the “put-offs” of Christian living and not the “put-ons” of the new, transformed Christian life!
For example, the Bible tells us “not to steal.” It’s one of those 10 Commandments and universally people, even non-Christians, agree that it’s wrong to steal. So most Christians I know do not steal. That’s great. But did you know that’s not the whole story?
Ephesians 4:28 states: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
This verse tells us to put-off stealing just like one of the 10 Commandments but this verse also tells us to DO something in place of it: work with your own hands and give to those in need, or less fortunate than you.
Think about if the church did the PUT-ON (work and give) and focused upon that MORE than simply the put-off (don’t steal)! What a tremendous force we would be as the people of God! We would be hard workers with our own hands and we’d be givers just like God is the Giver of ALL good things! We would represent Him more powerfully and accurately than if we just focus on “not stealing.”
I love Pastor David Platt because he gets this concept. When you hear him preach at The Church of Brook Hills, his sermons are about being the body of Christ and doing the work of ministry. His book, RADICAL, is about this very concept and trusting Christ.
I love Pastor Chris Burns at Bethel Baptist Church because he understands this put-on very well, too! He’s a brother who cries out for the body to embrace the put-on’s in the Christian faith (and there are many more!) to live out their faith in a fallen, lost world that desperately needs Christ.
Let me encourage you. Read the Bible looking for BOTH the put-off’s and the put-on’s of Scripture. Start in Ephesians and Colossians but Jesus came to give us the put-on’s as we are living in the New Covenant now! Read Matthew 5-7 to see several of His divine put-on commands! A great book available through Focus Publishing (http://www.focuspublishing.com/html/individual-books/transformed-into-likeness.html) will help you identify the put-off’s and put-on’s of Scripture: it is written by Armand Tiffe and is called Transformed into His Likeness.
Then, when you find the put-ons, I urge you to LIVE the put-ons! God wants to transform you into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ, and He will do so when you live in the put-on’s by His grace and power! That’s the solution, Church (children of God): live in the put-on’s and be the church!
-Mark (praising God that not only does He want to save me, He wants to change me!)