Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Love My Church - Part 2

This is based on an article from Hal Seed (accessed here  on February 13, 2014).

Hal Seed writes, “A quick read of the book of Acts or the letters in Revelation proves that Jesus loves his church. He died for it, prays for it, lives for it and is going to return for it.

[But] let’s be honest: It’s not easy to love the church. It’s easy to love Jesus. Loving His bride is another story. Churches are filled with frail and fault-riddled people. Every church has a unique personality. All are loved by Jesus, but not all are loved in equal measure by each of His people.”

I wrote about the first reason here.

Based on Hall Seed’s ten reasons that he loves his church, I have ten reasons that I choose to love Jesus’ bride, the Church. They are in no particular order – this is not a ranked list. This week, reason number two:

2. She Is/Can Be Incredibly Fruitful.

Three times a year, St. Matthew offers an Adult Discipleship Class based on the book “God For Us” (Lutheran Church Australia). In this class we explore the basics of the Christian faith from the Lutheran perspective – which means it is a study based on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.

One session of this class is held at a time when a regular adult Bible study is held. This is deliberate. Even though the “regulars” of that class end up going through this “basics” course numerous times, it is good that they do so for several reasons.

One, it is never a bad idea to refresh in our minds the basics of our faith.

And two, it gives an opportunity for new Christians to mingle with “seasoned” Christians.

Recently, I was excited to see this in action. Long-time members of St. Matthew – many of them life-time members – sat with people who were on our campus for the first time ever. They were learning about God and Christ together. They were getting to know each other, talking with each other about life and about a Jesus, and making plans to worship together.

What I was witnessing was just how incredibly fruitful God makes the Church. He brings men, women and children to Himself through the Church!

Now, I believe, teach and confess publicly that God makes people His children through Word and Sacrament. But I also believe that God does this best – and most often – through His Church!

By “Church” I mean “the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered” (Augsburg Confession, Article 7).

The Word and Sacraments make the Church incredibly fruitful. The grace of God gives each member of the Church a place in that fruitfulness. What an amazing gift that God has given us!

This is why I can love my Church! Because this is what God is doing in my Church!

Next week we’ll look at reason three: Responsive.

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