Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
     “Why can’t you be normal like me?”  The problem with this question is two-fold.  First, it assumes that the person being asked the question is not normal.  Secondly, it implies that the person asking the question is!  While it is most likely true that everyone has at least someone who is difficult for them to deal with, it is also most likely true that everyone is difficult for someone else to deal with.  This is because every believer is still “under construction” – none of us are perfect and all of us, to varying degrees, struggle with weaknesses and temptations.
     
     This is true even in the church.  Many people mistakenly expect people in a church to be perfect, but this is simply not very realistic.  Someone has said, “The Christian church is a society of sinners’ saved-by-grace.  It is the only society in the world in which membership is based upon the single qualification that the candidates should be unworthy of membership.”  Or, with a distinctly less spiritual tone, Frederick the Great once said, “The more I get to know people, the more I love my dog.”  A person does not have to spend much time in a church to realize that Christians are imperfect (although they are to be progressively less imperfect all the time).

     Upon encountering this, some professing believers simply throw up their hands in disillusionment and deem that “church is not for them.”  The Bible assures us that Christ’s church will triumph and prevail unto eternity (Matt.16:18), but on earth it may appear marred by sin, tattered by disunity and frail by the infiltration of false teachers and false believers (see Matt.13:25-30, 36-43).  However, the Bible commands believers to fight for the true church (never against it), and to faithfully protect the unity, purity, and testimony of Christ’s church (and never give up).  In this, the Bible gives explicit commands to all believers as to how they must conduct themselves in the church, and how they are to treat one another in the church – even those who are struggling with weakness, temptations, and trials.
     
     For example, addressing the Christians at the church in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul gives this divinely inspired instruction: “…we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15).

     Notice that Paul does not encourage people to find a new church, to stop going to church, to further develop their critical spirit, to report the “imperfect” members to the nearest pastor, or to be divisive within the church.  Nor does Paul command the people in the church to be condemning or overly critical of those who are struggling in their Christian walk.  In fact, the apostle does not give any indication that these difficulties would be horribly rare in the church.  It seems as though Paul not only understood that Christians will stumble in their walk, but that it is the privilege and responsibility of other believers to help them up.  In fact, Paul seems to write similar words to almost every church (see Eph.4:1-3; Col.3:12-14; Rom.15:1-2).

     As Christians strive together to grow in the Lord, the unity and purity and testimony of Christ’s church is strengthened.  We are not called to find a “perfect church.”  Rather, we are called to be committed to a local church in hopes of being used by God to help perfect that church.  “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb.10:24-25).

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #2):
Genesis 4-7; Joshua 6-10; Psalm 3-5; Job 3-4; Isaiah 7-11; Matthew 3-4; Romans 3-4
Recommended Reading:
“The Church: The Gospel made visible” by Mark Dever

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