The Church’s True Source Of Life
By Rich Carmicheal
What a glorious calling you and I, and our brothers and sisters in Christ, have as God’s people! In the words of the Apostle Peter, we “…are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that [we] may proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10). The Lord has been so good to us to deliver us from the power of darkness and to bring us into the kingdom of His beloved Son! (Col. 1:13).
We now belong to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord! We are branches connected to the One who is the True Vine! We are built upon the One who is the Chief Cornerstone! We are raised with the One who is the Resurrection and the Life! We are members of the One who is the Head of the church! We are subjects of the One who is the King of kings and Lord of lords! We are depending upon the One who is Faithful and True…the One who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End…the One who is the Way and the Truth and the Life!
And even more, He has given to us His Spirit to guide us, to sanctify us, to teach us, to fill us with overflowing life and love, and to empower and equip us for life and ministry. In addition, He has given to us His powerful Word which is living and active – a God-breathed Word which nourishes, encourages, guides, teaches, trains, enlightens, revives and thoroughly equips us. And He has also given to us the privilege of prayer by which we can move mountains.
In light of all of this – the presence and power of Christ, and His Holy Spirit, and His powerful Word, and the gift of prayer – should we not as God’s people be living in spiritual victory? Should we not be bearing much fruit unto the glory of the Lord? Should we not be advancing against the kingdom of darkness, rescuing the lost? Should we not be serving as the salt of the earth and the light of the world?
Why, then, is the church, in too many cases, living far below her potential? A main reason is because many in the church are neglecting their true Source of life – the Lord, the Spirit, the Word and prayer – and instead are embracing the ways of the world. In some ways, many members of the church are acting like the prodigal son: “And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything” (Luke 15:13-16).
Thankfully, he came to his senses and returned home. And when he did, he found his father eager for his return, and ready and willing to restore their relationship and pour great blessings upon him. What if the church today would come to her senses, repent of her lukewarmness and worldliness, and turn fully to the Lord, to the Holy Spirit, to the Word and to prayer for her life and ministry? What are the possibilities?
Jesus issues this stern call and wonderful invitation: “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 3:17-22).