The living water of the consumer church

As of late, there seems to be much discussion about the falseness of the consumer driven church. Before I make a case for the consumer driven church, let me first say that I understand the perspective of people moving against the consumer church. You know what non-consumption Christianity is? It's stinky lifeless, cemetery spirituality that Jesus never commended nor promoted.The fact that the church has become a place for people to get their favorite things (not about Christ) at the cheapest cost at their convenience is nothing less than paganism with Christian branding which at best can make people feel good while going to hell and hating God and at worst can rob believers of their highest privilege of having Christ as their ultimate treasure. However, that said, can we really say that the church is not a place for consumers but producers and givers, etc? Let's biblically think about this statement, “We are not a consumer church but a producing church, hooray!” In John 6:53, Jesus says, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves.” Hmmm, interesting is it not? I suppose Jesus is into the consumer church because He tells a group of people that unless they embrace a lifestyle of consuming Christ they are dead! You get that? If you are not living a life of Christ-consumption you are dead and have nothing, you are a corpse! You know what non-consumption Christianity is? It's stinky lifeless, cemetery spirituality that Jesus never commended nor promoted. You may say, “whatever,” who cares about your verse I have many verses that prove otherwise. Do you really? Or do you simply have texts that talk about what consumers who consume Christ produce?

Let’s consider John 15:5 where Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” So here, Jesus tells us that we--in ourselves--can do absolutely nothing unless we abide in Christ. Again we have a text showing that we are primarily consumers of Christ before we are anything If you do not consume Christ all the time in your church life you can do nothing; so, a Christianity which says we are producers not consumers is a nothing Christianity. According to Jesus, it (meaning, “production Christianity”) is a dirty shriveling stick on the road that you kick to the side as you go for your evening walk kind of Christianity. “Consuming Christianity” is like a garden in your yard with so much fruit that you are stepping on citrus every time you walk in your yard.

I do not want to make this article an explanation of every text on this matter but let me offer one more which I think summarizes Christianity with being chiefly and firstly about consumption. In John 4:13 Jesus says, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.” Jesus does not tell this woman who was living a loose life that her problem is that she is a consumer; He tells her that at the heart of all her loose living is she is not a consumer of Christ Himself. Her problem isn't that she is not living it out or doing what she should or hasn't committed seriously or gave her all for God; Her problem is that she is living in the emptiness of being a producer and is deprived of the richness of being primarily a consumer of Christ. Hear this, Jesus does not say that being a consumer leads to sitting on your spiritual couch and getting fatter. He says that the one who drinks from His person and work has an internal factory of life ceaseless and endlessly welling up from within! The consumer church which lives a life of devouring a crucified Christ is a producing church! And on the other hand, the producing, doing church is somewhat like the Sardis church which does lots of stuff and has a reputation for being alive but is dead (Rev 3:1). You see it only when we are seen primarily as consumers of an all-sufficient Christ that we move from dead works and from being primarily producers to Spirit-empowered works of service from being primarily starving consumers (Hebrews 9:14). Let me close with saying that if you are not primarily about being a consumer (Christ and His work) church then you are just getting a bunch of weak, anemic and Christ-less-cross-less people to do a bunch of guilt-ridden, pride-inflating things that really do not matter in the big picture. Pastor or leader, if you do not see yourself primarily as a distributor of grace for consumers but, you see yourself mostly or chiefly as a performance coach then you need to drop the super-spiritual act of not being a consumer Pastor because it's simply not biblical. Call your people to do, move them inwards and outwards but always as consumers of an infinitely all-sufficient Christ who produces through those who consume Him!

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