It appears we have it drastically wrong. Church is being redefined in the 21st century to match the culture around us. The church was designed to be a light to the world, but all too often, we just blend in with the rest of society. Our human selves still desire the comforts and pleasures this world has to offer and thus there is no difference between us and our unchurched neighbors. But God has called us, the church, to live differently than society.
The 1st century church knew this well. Without any human power to speak of, they grew from less than 200 believers into a movement that spread throughout the world. But how? Well it sure wasn’t by building megachurches and providing worship services to rival a rock concert. They were transformed from the inside into individuals willing to sacrifice everything, even their lives, to preach the gospel of Jesus. The cities that Paul, Peter, and the rest of the disciples preached to were no different from our cities today. There was just as much sin in the world of old. Yet the response to the gospel was tremendous because those Christians were decidedly counter-culture.
We must be wary that we don’t automatically assume we’re not the Pharisees of today, thinking we have all the answers. We, in fact, may be far from what Jesus envisioned when he established the church. We must follow His example of love and dying to ourselves not so we may simply live moral lives, but so we live a life worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1).