40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline:  Day 36 – Passion Week

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45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers. (Luke 19:45 – 46)

Theme:  The Local Church

Context

A big thank you to those of you who commented yesterday as we reflected on the passion Jesus showed for people.  Today we will reflect on the passion Jesus displayed for God’s mission as performed in the house of God.      

Bible Passage

Our passage today is from Luke 19:45 – 46 (presented above).  This popular passage demonstrates how passionate Jesus was about God’s house being used for its intended purpose.  It is very evident that Jesus is not pleased with the distortion of God’s mission by the those who were selling in the temple courts. 

There are clear lessons here for the local church.  While this passage refers to the temple, we need look no further than the report on the churches in the book of Revelations 2 and 3 to see how important it is for local churches to live out God’s mission.  Evangelism and discipleship are certainly consistent with God’s mission, and over the last month, we have discussed many of the ways that the Disciplines affect these activities.  However, there are times when objectives become distorted in local churches.  For example, fellowship becomes distorted, and the local church becomes a social club.  Or worship becomes distorted, and the local church becomes a house of entertainment.  Or stewardship becomes distorted, and the local church becomes a house of commerce.  The list of possible distortions goes on and on.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the question below.

Question

How can you contribute to your local church staying true to God’s mission? 

6 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline:  Day 36 – Passion Week

  1. As I thought about the question, three things came to mind:

    1. Be in prayer. Jesus himself said it in this passage. This is so vital as we will achieve little to nothing without God’s involvement in our mission. Times of change have come when we have taken the time to pray.
    2. Be involved. Turn up. Be part of what is happening even if it seems messy. We shouldn’t be spectators watching from afar.
    3. Be gentle. This is ironic as Jesus is anything but in this passage. But He is being hostile to those who are proving hostile to or deliberately distorting God’s message as the commentary says. Many times we can be hostile to those who like us are earnestly seeking God but differ in their approach. “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News.” (Phil. 4:2-3)

  2. Today’s topic is very interesting. I surely have something to share about staying true to God’s mission. From the passage that we’ve read and discussed it is evident that there were many distractions at church when we worship and serve our God. One experience I had was when I decided not to be involved anymore in one community group in my local church in Japan. You see, in this international group where I used to belong, members convinced me that buying a commodity from this one member was like an act of compassion, as we helped this member earn a living. So I purchased merchandise from this seller and the church became the place for meeting and exchanging the commodity and payment at the end of the service.
    I thought I was helping this one member with my purchases but later on I realized that this person selling the stuff was over pricing her commodity and I became doubtful if her coming to church is really to worship and serve God or to just earn money from the members of church in that specific community. My local church in Japan is very diverse with members from different countries but as years passed by, this particular community has increased its members that I sometimes feel there were too many of them in this church. I also don’t know if that is good or bad as even the room designated for them
    after worship service for bible study became like a place for gossiping. I was not attending bible study in this group as I prefer a smaller group with members from different countries. Sometimes I go down to that room to pick up the commodity I bought or simply to greet the members so that at least I can show them that I truly appreciate the presence of this community in my local church. I guess my mistake was that I didn’t stop purchasing from this person even though I was aware that she is over pricing me. I was saying to myself, that would be my help to her as she is earning a living through buy and sell of merchandise of all sorts. I also thought she is a good friend as well as other members being in the body of Christ in this local church where I was a member for so many years. It took one incident ( covid issue, transparency, favoritism, lying /gossiping of some leaders and members ) for me to learn a lesson and make decision to look for another church. It was painful and hard for me to leave the church that was lmy home church for more than 30 years. I prayed and asked God to help me. Talked with my mentors and reflected on my sins as well until finally decided to try to attend at other church near my home. I must say it was the toughest decision I’ve done in my life. To some extent, it was like a divorce, a major break up. I’ve been serving this church ever since I moved to Japan after marriage. I was active in many ministries involving kids ministry, ladies bible study and fellowship, I was a greeter in this church, every year I’m one of those enthusiastic helpers at Kids vacations bible study, in short, I dedicated my life to this church and even supported it not only financially but I know in my heart that I’m
    serving my God in this church with all faithfulness and dedication. I haven’t officially removed myself as member of this church but just decided to see other church in my area and then after some months we got posted here in Texas.

    Maybe the Lord is giving me time to reflect and see if I will return to my home church in Japan after our assignment abroad is over. As for now, I’m happy with my newfound church here in Houston but I still attend zoom bible studies in my old church as well as in the new church I attended in Japan after that painful incident. So far, I feel the Lord is bringing me to new churches with people of varied experiences where I could learn and grow by interacting and having fellowship with them. Of course, relying on God’s word and in his grace and mercy is always the thing that sustains me.

  3. There are few churches that are only focused on worship but what you describe
    about the selling of merchandise reminds I me of the same in the passage.

  4. Aurora thanks for the engaging story, struck a chord with me.. Gave me courage to speak my truth. I walked away from my last church. I walked away and was discouraged which is not good. Walking away and finding a church that’s a better fit could be the right decision. For example, I realize the style of church that worships in the dark with strobe lights and a band on stage is a popular style in the vicinity where I live. I do not like worshipping God in darkness and focusing on the performers on stage. I feel I have no chance of changing this nor would I want to try. I do not believe it’s my place to offer my thoughts about the worship style. Sometimes you stay and fight when you have the authority to do so, like Jesus did. Sometimes you walk away. God gives us understanding to know the difference …

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