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Missionary or Mercenary: Which One Are You?

In certain action movies, the bad guys hire mercenaries to do their dirty work: hold hostages, take over banks, things like that. And they usually have an uncaring attitude about the job they were hired to do. They have attitudes that seem to suggest “So long as I get paid, I don’t care what I do” or “I don’t get paid to have a heart/conscience.” You see, mercenaries are guns for hire. They fight for gold, not glory, and they (at least in the movies) don’t seem to care who they fight for as long as they get what they want. The sad part is, at least to my mind, people sitting in pews every Sunday Morning (in some places) seem to have the same attitude.


And we can be mercenaries, can’t we? We try and find the Church that most suits our tastes, our style of music, the comfort of the interior (ranging from the temperature inside to the color of the carpet, churches have split over less!), to the how the messages make us feel about ourselves, or if we like what the Preacher is wearing or how he dresses. We pull out scriptures to defend our beliefs about the comforts we hold, and sometimes attack those who want to change things. We may not “fight for pay” but we certainly can get up in arms about aren’t biblical, and what is lacking biblically, we don’t fight for because tradition demands we keep silent. And if we don’t get what we like, we fight tooth and nail to remove our opposition, or we leave, because we don’t see things the way we think they ought to be done. We may not be killing people for money, but we may be killing ourselves spiritually by examining God’s Church, and our participation in it through what WE desire to see in it as opposed to what Scripture says the Church should be.


The Point of the Church is to be the Bride of Christ, presented to Him on the day of His Return without spot or blemish. Often, the things we champion are for our sake, and not His. Christ commands us to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34), and He has commissioned us to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all He has commanded (Matthew 28:18-19). He gave us the New Testament to shows us what to go back to if we lose our way. Flower arrangements, and chairs versus pews, and carpets, and any other unbiblical argument is not our point: it's not about us. Church is all about Jesus Christ, and what He has done, and what He, through the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures has called us to do. Making it about anything else makes us idolaters and mercenaries, when we should be Missionaries, spreading the good news of Christ everywhere.


Revelation 3:1-22


To the Church in Sardis


“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.


‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’


To the Church in Philadelphia


“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.


“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’


To the Church in Laodicea


“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.


“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”




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