Take 1 Timothy, one of Paul's pastoral letters. We often look at it and see a set of conditions that leaders within the church must adhere to and work towards. But at the end there's a phrase which has really touched me. It's in verses 14-15.
14 I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
See it there? The phrase 'the church of the living God'.
What do we take from that phrase squirreled away in the text? For me it says that the church has to be seen as the church of the living God.
Not just a Baptist Church
Not just a Roman Catholic Church
Not just a Methodist Church
Not just an Anglican Church
Not just the Redeemed Christian Church of God
Not just the Southern Baptist Assembly
But the Church of the Living God
To be the church of the living God then people must see the evidence of a living God, not a dead God. People must see and must walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. We should be seeing salvation, repentance, healings, miracles. We should be seeing the love of God manifest as love for God and love for our neighbours. We should be seeing compassion, holiness, a people growing in maturity and seeking solid food.
What do you see?