Pastor Gordon is left with a sticky situation. He has upset long time members and somehow needs to reach out to them. I love how he does this. He could have argued about style or just told them they were wrong, but instead he goes to the Scriptures. No one can argue the Scriptures (unless you don’t hold them in high regard, Scot McKnight has an interesting post on this today).
He starts with Acts 20:28. The church was bought with Christ’s blood. To give up on the church, is to give up on part of the sacrifice Jesus made, and something that is highly valued by God. We are also called to be “shepherds” of the church.
The next Scripture he refers to is Matthew 23:37-24:1. Clearly Jesus is disgusted with His people who do not want to hear His voice. He wants to engage with His people in a mother-like love. Essentially, He is condemning the Temple because it is promoting dead religion.
So Jesus is walking out of the Temple with His disciples and the disciples bring His attention back to the buildings. Clearly they are confused. Jesus must be misunderstanding how important the Temple is. The Temple was everything to them, Jesus was going to cause a lot of problems with what He had said.
Jesus finishes this discussion with this emphatic statement in Matt. 24:2. He refers to the Temple buildings as things and stones and they will come down. The point Gordon is making is that the buildings meant nothing to Jesus, His church was built on His people and it was an organism he gave His life for.
I think this was the turning point for the group. Jesus is not interested in dead religion: Tradition without purpose, tradition without life, church as a building instead of a body. All of these things Jesus has no interest in.
From here Gordon keeps going through chapter 24:3-14. Jesus begins to tell them about when the Temple will fall (which is essentially the end of the world to them). Jesus talks about destruction, persecution, and wickedness all in the midst of trying to preach the gospel of the kingdom.
Here is the clincher: How would the disciples deal with this kind of change and challenge in the coming days? Gordon says they would need to reinvent themselves, something they did an incredible job doing through Acts and the Pastoral Letters.
In changing times, the church must reinvent itself to reach outside of itself.