Our Sign Says "Church of Christ"
Many years ago, a philosopher told the story of a man seeing a sign in a store window in a small European village. The sign read, “Pants Pressed Here.” He went into the store, and started to remove his slacks. As he was undressing, a clerk asked him what he was doing. The man said, “I saw your sign and want my trousers pressed.” The surprised clerk replied, “Oh, we don’t press pants here, we just paint signs.” The sign caused confusion and the man misunderstood its purpose in the window.
Signs are often misleading. A storekeeper friend of mine bemoaned her lack of business all morning until at noon she discovered she had never turned the “CLOSED” sign over to “OPEN.” She was there and ready for business, but her sign betrayed her. Who hasn’t travelled down a wrong street in an unfamiliar place all because the sign on the street had been twisted in the wrong direction?
The sign marking our building site says “Church of Christ.” Are we misleading anyone by it? Are we really true to our claim? Or would we be in danger of violating some “truth-in-advertising” statute? It takes more than a sign to make us a real church of Christ.
We do not call ourselves a “Church of Christ” in order to promote some denominational name. Rather, the phrase is a descriptive one. It identifies to whom we belong. It tells something about what we are. The English word church comes from an original word which means “called out.” As the ekklesia of Christ, it means we have been called out of the wicked world of sin and darkness into the light of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:9). As a called out group of believers in Jesus, we are of Christ. This means we belong to Him and to Him alone (Mk. 9:41). We owe no man allegiance, only Christ. This phrase acknowledges that Christ is “head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22). We are His possession, His own special people (1 Pet. 2:9). It is a very great claim, you see, to call ourselves a “Church of Christ.”
If we would truly be what we claim, we must let Jesus be the Head of His body. Our aims and purposes will come from the Head. Our work will be His work, as we seek to reconcile men to God through Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-21). We will possess Christ’s spirit and attitude. His way will become our way, and His demeanor will be our demeanor. We will make no move without a “thus saith the Lord.”
Our sign says “Church of Christ”. Do those of us regularly meeting here serve Him, acknowledge Him as our only Lord and seek others for Him, or are we merely painting signs?
- Mark White