Reading through the early 40's in Isaiah I am stuck by the words God has for the chosen people Israel. These are the people God has called for a special purpose. These are the people God has called apart to bless in order to be a blessing. These are the people who are the object of God's affection. Yet they repeatedly turn to idols and false gods. That which God called apart for greatness, causes the deepest pain to the heart of God.
Fast forward to the church today. The Body of Christ, called out by God to be the tool to spread the Good News of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The church is not a human creation, it is an impartation from God. I have spent the better part of the last 15 years trying to determine what this thing called the church is all about. I may never come to an answer that is Truth. What I have found is the responsibility of the church is to be the people of God, not for ourselves but to be a blessing to the rest of the world. In other words, the church does not exist for itself. The church exists to give itself away. The primary reason the church exists is to be God's ambassadors to the a world that longs for a relationship with someone, something greater than themselves.
When we in the church function in a way less than that, we are in the same boat as the people of Israel who Isaiah was prophesying to. When we function in the church just for ourselves we grieve the heart of God, we hurt God deeply.