Church is Designed by God

Good Afternoon Church,

I pray your heart was greatly encouraged by last week’s installation service, as mine was, through the faithful reminder of the privilege and responsibility that both the pastor and the people have towards each other. My heart has been flooded with many thoughts this week, as I have contemplated the great blessing and grace of God given in and through His church. Sadly, our world and the contemporary cultural in which we serve have lost a biblical perspective on the priority and necessity of the church. Just a cursory glance through history will substantiate this truth as the church was once the centerpiece and focal point of the towns that were established providing guidance, direction, and stability. That reality has faded, at best, especially as you consider the declining number of churches in our country and their subsequent loss of influence and impact upon both our communities and our culture. While there are many reasons behind this reality, I want to touch on one that pricks my heart personally and presents a clear and present danger to all of us. You see, I am concerned that we have forgotten, lost sight of, or never fully embraced the biblical truth that the church is one of the greatest conduits of God’s grace into our lives. There is a lot that needs to be said about this, but I will mention just two truths in order to help redirect our thoughts and our hearts concerning the great blessing of, and great necessity for, being a part of a biblical church.

First, the true church is designed by God to be a channel of His protecting grace in and over His people (Eph 4:11-16). While there are many biblical reasons and priorities for the church, the Scriptures make it lucidly clear that she is to be a fortress of protection for God’s people (Phil 2:1-4; 1 Tim 6:2-10). Thus, the church is to be a place where people are pointed to truth while living in a world marked by error, find lasting hope in a world inundated by fear, and experience sacrificial grace in a world controlled by selfishness and personal gain (2 Tim 3:1-4:5). The church ultimately becomes the doorway of God’s protecting grace as she upholds the pillar and buttress of God’s Word where stability, security, and strength are always found (1 Tim 3:14-15). Furthermore, God has graciously given to the church spiritual leaders to look over the lives of the people in order to guard them from their wayward hearts, false teachers, man centered philosophies, and the attacks of Satan (Acts 20:28-32; 2 Tim 2:22-26; 1 Pet 5:1-4). Moreover, God floods His protecting grace in our lives as we gather and grow together in the body of Christ, spurring one another on to love and good deeds through personal exhortation and practical encouragement (1 Thess 5:11-16). However, I am concerned that some of us have lost this perspective, and the church has become simply a tradition or an addendum to our lives and is no longer seen as a necessary part of God’s protecting grace that guards and guides our lives.

Next, consider how the true church is designed by God to be a channel of His purifying grace in and over His people (1 Cor 5:1-12). Not only is the church given the task of protecting the flock of God, but also she is to serve as a purifying agent that provokes a continual growth of godliness in the lives of the people (Gal 6:1-3; Col 3:5-17). Sadly, in our politically correct cultural, many churches have lost this calling through sacrificing Truth on an altar of biblical compromise. Yet God calls the church to preach and teach the Word, in part that it might have its purifying impact on the people (2 Tim 3:16-17). God calls the leadership of the church to a high and holy standard in order that they might live as examples of purity before the people to further help equip and encourage holiness in their lives (1 Tim 3:1-13; 4:11-16). God charges the church to publically deal with habitual and unrepentant sin in the lives of the people in order that the church might be purified and strengthened (Mt 18:15-20; 2 Thess 3:1-15). Without question God has sufficiently prepared, sacrificially purchased, and sovereignly placed the church in our lives in order that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (Eph 4:11-16; 2 Pet 3:17-18). Yet, many within the body of Christ have not fully embraced their personal need for God’s purifying grace given through the biblical church. Instead, we are often like the young child that tells his father “I can do it myself”, when all the while the only thing he can really do by himself is hurt himself. How many of us have that same mentality when it comes to our personal purity, “Lord, I can do it myself.” Well, I pray you will come to church this Sunday and avail yourself to God’s protecting and purifying grace as given through His Word as we get back to Colossians and consider whether we are distracted or determined in our walk with Christ.

Praising God for the Blessing of His Church,

Pastor Matt

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