Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How is a Wayward Church Restored

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today

How is a Wayward Church Restored

 Hosea 2:23

At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites
    and raise them for myself.
I will show love
    to those I called ‘Not loved.’
And to those I called ‘Not my people,’
    I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’
And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’”

Just as works will not save an individual, self reformation will not reunite a church with God.
An unfaithful church becomes faithful only when God replants it.



Only when God Himself replants it.

This may sound harsh when you consider that when a field is prepared for replanting what is in the field gets ripped up and destroyed to make way for the new.

So the implication (which matches what God has said he does to a wayward people) is that that which is wayward has to be destroyed, not just tweaked, before a church becomes faithful again.

But only destruction by God Himself is healing. Human destruction, even with a good intended goal, only damages the church further. If you been through such an ill advised plan you know what I mean.

Weeds with deep roots, when disturbed, merely produce a move dense and intransigent field of weeds. The same is true in a church. When the weeds are regrowing it looks like refreshing new growth, but it will only produce a harvest of destruction.

A church is replanted only when God replants the field.




God plants a new crop in the old field. That's how a church replant works.

So does that mean he plants an new crop of people?  Yes!

What, you say. Does God replace all of the current church members? Yes!

But don't panic. 

God indeed may bring in a new crop of people in to populate the church. But he might also let all the older generation die off while cultivating and enlivening their children or grandchildren who he then uses for the replant.

God, however, may work person by person in the existing congregation bringing them first individually and then corporately to repentance (a total change in life and direction) unto new life and then replant them as the replanted church.



God doesn't just plant the people and then sit back.

The exciting truth is that he not only replants the congregation, he also raises them for himself.

First, he tends them tenderly, carefully bringing them to maturity and fruitfulness. What a picture of God's love for us and his involvement in our lives - the lives of our church.

But even more, he raises the newly replanted church for himself. Not for their own sake.

How quickly we forget that the church is not about us. God did not invent the church for the sake of the people in it. God created the church to be his bride. He created the church for himself. 

The same is true of a replanted church. It is not replanted for the sake of the congregation. It is replanted for himself - what the wayward church should have existed for in the first place.

Maybe that is the sign of a prostitute congregation - the church exists for themselves not consciously for God.

Photo Credits:

Ploughed Field by John Wesley Barker some rights reserved @
Pleasantville planting by The Iowa Soybean Association all rights reserved @
German Raps Field by LenDog64 some rights reserved @

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