Friday, March 6, 2009
In 1982 a local Independent Baptist church had members stop by our house and invite Judy and me to their services. That first visit was very brief but it led to us being baptized and then discipled into usable servants. It was through a church that we learned how to share our faith, study our Bibles and pray. Because of a faithful church we were given a “world vision” and came to the point where missions became part of our heartbeat. The church helped us train, educate, make and mold our children for the master’s use. A church now is doing the same things for our grandchildren. Our church family has lifted when we were down, celebrated with us during our victories and loved us to a greater degree than we ever imagined possible. It was in a church that I first developed the desire to preach and teach the Word of God. My children met their life mates and were married in a church. The pastors and teachers of the two churches that have impacted our lives have been used by God to mold us into the people you now know. Pastor Dickerson helped establish us in the faith and got us grounded in the Word of God such that a degree of spiritual maturity began to blossom. Then Pastor Alley picked up the ball and was used of the Lord to grow us into useful servants for the Lord. Pastor Ferrell is now being used by the Lord to take us “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” This growth and eventual maturity all occurs within the context of church.
I have had the privilege of baptizing believers including grandchildren in a church. We have centered our lives around a church. One-day, If Jesus tarries his coming, others will celebrate my home going in a church. Many of you can give a similar testimony of the importance and impact a church had upon your life.
As I thought about my church experiences I was very grateful for my first pastor who taught me the importance of having a good solid Bible believing church as your home base and then building your life around it. I say all that because I’m concerned we have lost the importance in our culture of the local New Testament church. I’m a flag waving American, but the hope of the world is not found in America but the church. Christians should be salt and light in our government and in the political structures of our day but government is not the hope for the world. I believe we should be good citizens and help out in our communities in different worthy organizations. But all these various service organizations will not meet the real need of the human heart. That is the message of the church the life transforming gospel of Jesus Christ. I have given my life to investing in a church, because a church is the body of Christ of which He is the head. It’s His church He has chosen to communicate His gospel through to a lost and dying world. It is His church that He has promised to build and the demons of hell have no power or authority against it. And it is His church that He will come back for in a moment, a twinkling of the eye. It’s His church that He will present spotless without blemish in that great day. Yes, my friends, it will be His church, The Bride of Christ, that He will sit down and fellowship with at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. And it will be His church that will return with Him in power and great glory.
When He takes His church so seriously why is it that we are tempted to take it so lightly? I hope you will recommit to being a committed member in your local church. Participating faithfully in its ministry and being consistently under the teaching ministry of your pastor(s) who labor in the Word to equip you for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body.
PB & J