BLESSING #7: The Blessing of a Training Community
Seen on a church sign: “This church is not full of hypocrites. There’s always room for more.”
I believe it is critical for the Christian to have unsaved friends. And one of the many benefits (other than being a friend of sinners like Jesus was!) is that they remind us what we have in Christ that they don’t yet have. My friend Mike got me thinking about what I have as a believer and what those who are lost don’t have.
Asked about his status before God, Mike thinks he is just fine. But God’s Word says we are lost and under God’s judgment without Christ.
Let’s think about a seventh benefit of the believer and it is that —
7. WE HAVE A COMMUNITY (BEING BUILT BY JESUS) WHERE WE CAN BE TRAINED TO DO GOD’S WORK!
THE BLESSING: Here, of course, we are talking about the local church. But it’s important to remember that the believer in Jesus is part of the universal Body of Christ (another meaning of the term “church”). And the local church is an expression of that universal Body.
The local church is not to be simply a gathering place of like-minded people. It is to be a training ground for serious disciples of the Savior.
Unfortunately, it seems that for many Jesus followers today the local church has become optional. Some serve only when convenient, attend only when the weather is too bad to go to the lake, and contribute only when there’s a bit of extra money or time. But that’s not how it’s supposed to be!
THE BIBLE The local church — imperfect as it often is — is what Christ is building! Jesus declared to Peter in Matthew 16 —
18 “. . . I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Peter had just professed his faith in Christ. And now he is invited to join Jesus in building something that even hell itself can’t overthrow! But please don’t miss the point that those who join Peter in this building project are given the authority to declare peoples’ sins forgiven or unforgiven based on their response to the gospel!
I want to be part of His building project. I want to give my best — my best abilities, resources, time — to what Christ is building. Don’t you?
ACTION STEPS: 1. Thank the Lord that you as a believer get to do your part in building this hell-conquering project called the church! Text or email someone in leadership in your church this week and express your appreciation for their work.
2. Read Phillip Yancey’s short book Church — Why Bother? and discuss what you learn from it with another believer.
3. Ask yourself the hard question — How can I more fully support what Jesus is doing in my local church? And am I being trained to do what He wants me to do? Pray every day this week for wisdom in serving in your local church.
PRAYER: 4. Pray for your unsaved friend that he will see that the church is for those in the family of God. The family needs to worship together, serve together, and be together. It may be valuable to have some “seeker” events in your church to which you can invite your lost friend. Pray that he will see his need of Christ and join the family!