Ask people to describe “church” and you will get a variety of answers. Members of God’s Kingdom Family speak of the Church as the Bride of Christ, comprised of all the redeemed who will one day be spend eternity with Him. In the meantime they realize their churches are the local representations of the Body of Christ. These churches are worthy of their “faithful attendance, diligent service, generous and God-honoring giving, and loving cooperation.” Though often confronted with what’s wrong with church, they are more focused on what’s right. Look at the list of things that are certainly “right,” and I think you will be impressed as well.
The Integrity of Our Master
Throughout eternity, Christ’s integrity, though under constant fire, has never been faulted. In the days following Christ’s ascension, Peter and John found themselves standing before the council. Filled with the Spirit, Peter spoke eloquently about what’s right with the church. Read Acts 4:10. Notice the impressive credentials of Peter’s (and the Church’s) Master.
Peter’s audience should have understood from the Scripture exactly what Peter was saying. “Jesus came first. He is the point of reference. He is the One who joins together and makes sense of the two great walls: The wall of the Old Testament, built upon the foundation of the prophets and the wall of the New Testament, built upon the foundation of the apostles” (See Ephesians 2:20).
The Importance of Our Message
The singular message of each local church should be this: There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12, Holman CSB). This message is bigger than any difficulty we might encounter in order to share it. Besides, more often than we imagine, people are eager to hear how they may have eternal life.
More than an exciting word, it also speaks of an exclusive way. Christ is not simply a way to heaven, nor even the best way. He is the only way (John 14:6). As you proclaim the message of Christ, you are speaking of an issue that eclipses any temporal issues. You are speaking of an issue of eternal significance.
The Impact of Our Ministry
The message of the gospel has life-transforming power. When you share it, it makes a phenomenal impact. This is the ministry of your church, a ministry which leaves the world with nothing of similar comparison. This ministry often overwhelms any criticism and shuts the mouth of the skeptic. It enables broken lives to become beautiful lives.
The Inspiration for Our Mission
As members of a local church, we are inspired to participate in a unique combination of ministry and missions. It is more than a matter of obeying Christ’s command to “make disciples of all nations.” We cannot help but share the Good News because our personal experiences with Christ mean so much to us.
This was what the council discovered as they questioned and then threatened Peter and John. Their inspiration did not spring from selfish purposes. Their actions were inspired by both the command of the Lord and the inner compulsion of God’s Spirit.
The Imminence of Our Master’s Return
Members of God’s Kingdom Family live with the deep conviction that Christ’s return is on the horizon. The imminence of Christ’s return is worthy of both our reflection and our resolve. We should often reflect upon the fact that Christ never breaks a promise. Just as He has fulfilled all others, He will fulfill His coming as well. His coming will be with startling and surprising immediacy. It should not catch us sleeping, inattentive to the work assigned us. Our resolve should be as His, a resolve echoed in the hymn Work for the Night is Coming.
Worth Your Faithful Support
While reflecting on the things that are “right” about the church, you cannot help but rejoice in the privilege of being part of it. It is indeed worthy of your faithful attendance, diligent service, generous and God-honoring giving, and loving cooperation. Does that mean that your church is perfect in every way? Of course not! That will not happen until our Lord calls His Church home to heaven. But Christ gave Himself for His Church and we should do no less.
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