By: Brian Borgman
This past Sunday I preached at Peninsula Bible Church in Port Angeles, WA for their new building dedication. I’ve never been the guest speaker for a building dedication, so I prayerfully considered what would be appropriate. I ended up preaching 2 Cor. 4:3-7 and the real Treasure of the Church. I returned to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. As I was thinking about Bonhoeffer this morning, I thought his words would a good reminder to us at Grace Community Church.
“Every human wish-dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a church more than the Christian church itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly.”
Brothers and sisters, how we must be on guard against our own wish-dreams of what the church ought to be. The church isn’t about my preferences, my agenda, my likes or dislikes. These only make me a critic of the church, who stands in judgment over it.The church is about God’s truth, God’s people, the gospel, fellowshipping with sinners who have been saved by grace.
We live in community with one another for a reason. As Bonhoeffer reminds us later, “He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone.” To be alone, to be withdrawn from the body because we have had our wish-dreams challenged or smashed, is to end up alone in our sin. This is hard for us to understand in our individualized culture, but it is exactly what the corporate nature of the body is about. When we are together, we are together in Him, in His gospel. We can minister to each other and love each other as sinners.
So cherish the church. Love the church, not just the idea of the church, but actually the church, with all the clay pots. If we cherish the church, we will crucify our wish-dreams and love people as they are and the church for what it is.
From one clay pot to other clay pots,
Rejoicing in the Treasure,