Paul told the believers in Corinth that he determined to know nothing except Christ and him crucified. Paul always presented Christ. Paul did not present the church to the people that he evangelized; my how time has changed the message. Most churches today present church to people. They invite them to attend church instead of inviting them to know Christ. They invite them to become members of the church instead of inviting them to a relationship with the living Lord. Oh, they say they do, they speak of relationship but in reality they are more interested in control, and keeping them in a pattern of behavior that mimics those of the other members. You have to ask yourself whatever happened to just presenting Christ?
Somewhere along the line “church” became about trying to control people. To make them believe that they could not properly hear from God without specially called ministers. Spiritual abuse is so prevalent these days, and it is all in the name of control. Still Paul made the statement in the above passage from 1 Corinthians. The first century believers turned the world upside down with the attitude that Christ Jesus was paramount to the message. They taught the pristine gospel of grace. The gospel of grace leads to freedom and love for God that in turn leads to supernatural transformation, but this is not so when people are merely presented church.
The main method for control is the legal constitutional reading of scripture. The control comes from stressing the rules and regulations that are from God. Adherence to the rules and the behavior lulls the person into believing that they are secure with God based upon their actions, behavior and conformity to the norms of the group. This never really works, people instinctively know that they do not measure up to the law of God ever. They never, ever feel right before God, not really.
This seems so foreign to the first century church. The people couldn’t wait to get together, and be with each other as they shared Christ. You can read of the love and closeness everywhere in the pages of the New Testament and yet, in most churches today people cannot wait until they have some alone time. They feel burnout. They stay in the group to escape feelings of guilt and judgment. Many do have a relationship with Jesus but it is distorted by the need for the hierarchy to stay in control. They are not presented the gospel of Christ. They are not presented Christ.
God is sick of church as usual, and He has all but abandoned the building. This new millennium will find those who are awakening to the love of Christ and want to present Christ to others. Presenting Christ, means presenting the pristine gospel; it means presenting the finished work that Jesus performed; it means presenting peace with God through Christ, it means presenting the fact that we are justified by the faith of Christ Jesus. It means that once a believer one is always the righteousness of God in Christ.