For thousands of years, the Great Wall of China has stood as a symbol of protection and a barrier to neighboring countries. Today, parts of it have succumbed to the elements and stand in disrepair, particularly some of the steepest and most treacherous sections. As one might imagine, this is not an easy process. China has closed down almost all brick factories to cut back on air pollution issues, making the obtaining of bricks extremely difficult. In order to maintain its historical look and feel, any bricks that are made must be crafted to the exact original specifications. Once bricks are made or repurposed, they have to be loaded onto mules and hauled up to the walls where workers are waiting. Obviously, this is going to be an extremely tedious and longstanding task (Reuters).
Some things in this life are worth every penny spent towards renovation, like those historic landmarks. Others add up to a waste of time and money. One specific waste is towards any attempts to rebuild the Lord’s church.
To be clear, I’m not talking about updating to PowerPoint, singing newer songs, going to paperless hymnals, or freshening up the church building — to appropriate extents of course. All of these and others are fine when done right. What we are talking about are those who feel today’s church is “out of touch” with our culture and needs to be completely rebuilt and reshaped. “Those old laws are too legalistic, judgmental, and intolerant,” one might exclaim. “The stiff and traditional worship services don’t appeal to people today,” another might say. “Being saved by baptism is too narrow-minded and excludes too many,” some have concluded.
Let’s make no mistake; God’s commands for the church are timeless (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3). He has never asked for our opinions, nor does the all-knowing God need our feeble thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). What He has stated, however, is that changing His commands is a seriously devastating offense (1 Corinthians 4:6, Revelation 22:18-19; Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32). God’s laws for His church do not need our help to be effective. They simply need to be followed.
Ephesians 3:20-21 provides a solid reminder of what God can do through those who obey His ways, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” The power of the gospel and the church is found in the Lord, not in us (Romans 1:16).