Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Love My Church - Part 10

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 agree, loving Jesus is so much easier than loving His bride, the Church. But just like the love of a spouse in marriage, love of the church is more a choice than a feeling.
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 ten:
10. Full of Marines.
The United States Marines is the smallest branch of the U.S. military. It exists to project military power from the sea (working closely with the U.S. Navy).
U.S. Marines are usually the first armed forces to confront the enemy, doing so in small, compact forces. They may be small in number, but they are powerful! They are dedicated! They are loyal!
That’s the way the Church is, as well. Because let’s face it, we are a small force of powerful, dedicated, and loyal (to God) people who are at war against Satan and his minions.
I think that God intends the Church to be that way – small. If we were a huge army we might get it in our heads that our victories are our own doing. (See the story of Gideon for an example of this idea).
Like a U.S. Marine, we need to be thoroughly trained. The Church has historically done this through what is called “catechetical” studies. Church members are to be in God’s Word daily. Studying the Word, reading it, alone and in groups.
Like a U.S. Marine, we also need to be a part of a “group.” Here, I mean a congregation. There is no such thing as a solitary Christian. In fact, that’s Satan’s most favorite tactic – to get Christians to disengage from their “groups” (congregations) so he can pick them off one by one.
And finally, Like a U.S. Marine, we will never face true defeat. As Christians, as congregations, as a Church, we have already won this war because Christ defeated Satan through His death and resurrection.
There is an added bonus for me personally. The U.S. Marines have the best dress uniforms (in my opinion). And the Church has the best clothes of all – the Robe of Christ’s Righteousness:
“These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14
It is dangerous work being a U.S. Marine (my uncle gave his life as a Marine in World War II – I wrote about that here). It is also dangerous – in a sense – to be a member of the Christian Church.
Jesus said,
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. (Luke 10:2-3)
Did you catch that? Jesus is sending us out as “lambs in the midst of wolves.” Think about it. What are the chances that a lamb will survive being in the midst of wolves? Next to nil!
But survival isn’t the point of being a member of the Church. Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus is the point! Our survival is assured, not that we’ll live on this earth, but that we’ll live in Paradise forever with Jesus, with no pain, sorrow, tears or death!
Hal Seed echoes my thoughts about why I love my church with these final words:
“I’ll admit again, my church isn’t perfect. We have lots of warts to work on. But Jesus is working on them daily—which may be the most important reason I love my church!” (read his whole article here).
Why do you love your church? I’d love to hear from you!