Letters to the Church (Chapter 2)

Chapter 2: Sacred

We don’t understand what it means for something to be “sacred”. We live in a human-centered world among people who see themselves as the highest authority. We are quick to say things like “That isn’t fair!” because we believe we deserve certain rights as humans. Yet we give little thought to the rights God deserves as God. (pg. 30)

There are things that belong to God. Sacred things. His ark of the covenant, His command to Moses, His offerings in the temple, His Holy Spirit, His Holy Communion, His sacred Church. In all the above situations, people rushed into something sacred and paid the price. (pg. 31)

Productivity is no sin, but when it comes to the sacred, God commands us to proceed with caution. (pg. 31)

Like the high priest entering the Holy of Holies, we are to treat prayer as sacred. (pg. 31)

It is tempting to speak faster and scream louder so your voice will not be drowned out. But we must avoid that temptation. the Bible is clear: those who talk a lot sin a lot. We can never believe that we must sin in order to have greater impact. (pg. 32)

Being silent felt safer. Not only could I save myself from all the criticism I will receive, but I could protect myself from wrongly speaking about God. But that train of thought assumes it is never sinful to stay silent. (pg. 33)

When was the last time you were awestruck by the fact that you are a part of Christ’s body? Have you ever marveled at this privilege? (pg. 34)

Slow down long enough to marvel. (pg. 35)

The sun is ninety-three million miles away, and yet you are unable to stare at it. You obviously can’t touch the sun and live, so how is it possible that we are currently attached to the One who shines brighter than the sun? High angels cover themselves with their wings in His presence (Isa. 6:2), yet you are a member of His body. Why would Someone so extraordinary choose to care for you like His own arm? (pg. 35)

It’s no wonder we aren’t known as those who “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible” (1 Pet. 1:8). We don’t take time to meditate on His mysteries. (pg 35)

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 (pg. 36-37)

Somehow by the blood of Jesus, I became worthy of joining with others to form a dwelling place for God! (pg. 37)

You are a stone in the same structure in which the apostles and prophets are the foundation and Jesus Christ is the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)! (pg. 37)

When Paul talked about this concept, he used the plural form of you and the singular form of temple.  We are all joined together to form one house for God. Somehow I am a block of a temple that transcends time and space. And because of the structure is a temple, this means that God makes His home among us! You should be bursting out of your skin at this point! Don’t try to solve the mystery; just stare at it. (pg. 37)

When the fire came down and God’s glory filled the temple, would you have considered taking a sledgehammer and striking the temple? Of course not! Then why are we so quick to gossip, slander leadership, and divide the temple? (pg. 38)

Every time you speak evil about a member of the Church, it is like taking a sledgehammer to the temple. Are you sure you want to keep doing that? (pg. 38)

We can’t be enablers of division. God hates this sin too much. His temple is too sacred. (pg. 38)

We point out the flaws in our pastor’s sermon with the same conviction we critique a movie star’s acting or our favorite team’s recent loss. Could it be that we are taking a sledgehammer to the temple in so doing? (pg. 39)

What is a tremendous, unspeakable honor may feel insufficient for those who are used to being god of their own blogs and Twitter accounts. It feels insignificant to those who have erected their own shrines on Facebook and Instagram, filled with beautiful pictures of themselves. (pg. 41)

Joy comes as we stand among those Jesus as redeemed and get lost in a sea of worship, becoming fully a part of something sacred. (pg. 41)

Because this is something far greater than you. It is sacred. (pg. 41)

Far from being an accident, you and I are a part of a brilliant plan that started before planet Earth and continues beyond it. This is why self-deprecation is as wicked as slandering God’s Church. We are belittling the creation of something God has planned and crafted. (pg. 42)

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Ephesians 3:8-10 Think about what this is saying. God wanted to show the heavenly being His incomparable wisdom … so He created the Church! I believe we have a sacred responsibility to function as His Church in such a way that the rulers in heavenly places can marvel at God’s wisdom. They ought to see a oneness in us that displays God’s brilliant plan. (pg. 43)

Through the cross, people of every nation and tongue become members of one body? Amazing! God Himself is joining His creation and allowing them to be a part of His body? Unbelievable! (pg. 43)

Many today treat the Church as optional, as some outdated way to connect to God that has long outlived its usefulness. They’d rather connect with God on their own, in their own way, without all the weird people making things more difficult. (pg. 44)

Heavenly beings are shocked by God’s Church, while many on earth yawn. The early church didn’t need the energetic music, great videos, attractive leaders, or elaborate lighting to be excited about being a part of God’s body. The pure gospel was enough to put them in a place of awe. (pg. 44)

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