Church Shopping: Renovation

Jesus, doesn’t stop with pointing out their expiration date but points out it is time for a…

renovation

RENOVATION- (Revelation 3:3) Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” Some of you have probably been through or are going through renovation projects. Updating a kitchen or bathroom, ripping up the carpet to refurbish those wood floors that haven’t seen sunlight in decades, getting back to what was once beautiful. There is something Jesus hit on—renovation requires a reversal. He adds a sense of urgency—using the same language when talking about his second coming/ when the righteous are rallied and the guilty are judged—“for you know very well that the day of the LORd will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “peace” and “safety,” destruction will come suddenly…It was a lesson that had turned into a legend in the city of Sardis—a painful reminder what can happen when you don’t change. A thief in the night was a tragic memory.

(6th century–Sardis) King Croesus’ military stronghold had done the trick as Cyrus of Persia failed to break through the wall, and there Sardis sat seemingly safe. Cyrus’ only option was to siege Sardis, camping out around it trying to cut it off, and waited. One night well waiting, one of Cyrus’ men saw a guard on the wall looking down to the base of the wall, and in the process his helmet fell off. The guard disappeared from view of the onlooker, but soon enough walked out of a secret door in the wall, grabbed his helmet, and walked back up. Cyrus had found his way inside the walls, he set up a diversion sending the vast majority of his army to the other side of the wall, and while the guards ran to stop the attack, Cyrus’ Special Forces broke in through the secret door and took the city. Just when they felt safest, they were actually most vulnerable. They looked alive, but were actually dead. Felt safe, but were actual in great danger.

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All the time we build up walls in our life—we try to muster our strength to take on issues, build walls to provide our own security, but the problem is that there is always a chink in our armor, Achilles always has a heel, your effort always has an expiration date, and your ability always has an end. No matter how much we try to control our image, paint our life as perfect on Facebook or Twiiter—in the end our wall always has a weak spot. London businessman Lindsay Clegg told the story of a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash around the interior. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, Clegg took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage. “Forget about the repairs,” the buyer said. “When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want this building; I want the site.” Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. He makes all things new. All He wants is the site and permission to build. (Leadership, Summer 1983)

God isn’t interested in a bunch of little DIY fixes that keep things manageable in the short-term; he wants a total renovation of the heart. Think about the metaphor used in John 3:3-Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” We fight being naked—when is the last time you’ve been naked/ real with God. Our tendency is to try and cover up, to throw on tattered clothes—we give a little, hoping it makes us better, we come to church sometimes to look a little bit better, but in the end it isn’t about being good enough for God, but about a God who showed himself to be godly enough for us. The gift of God, eternal life in Jesus Christ, comes as God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21—When we feel safest on our own power, we are actually most vulnerable of fall, but when we are most vulnerable with God, we are safest in His power.

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