by pastor david
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church,
and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, a pronoun is, “A word used instead of a noun or name, to avoid the repetition of it”. In the passage above, there are two significant pronouns, used for our Lord Jesus, each of which, shine radiant and revealing light on the essential subject of the Church. Those notable pronouns are, “I” and “My”. Jesus said, “I will build My church”. A careful study of the passage reveals that this statement applies to both the universal church, of which every believer is a member, and the local churches, which meet at various locations around the world.
There is a great deal of comfort associated with these two prevailing pronouns.
1. Christ is building the Church, not man.
Each member of a local church fellowship has been given certain responsibilities to be exercised within the context of that local assembly. Ultimately, it is our Lord Jesus Christ, however, who is building the Church. How comforting that is. As a Pastor, I am given many tasks that must be carried out on a regular basis, relative to the local Church to which I have been called, but “building” the Church is, in actual fact, Christ’s responsibility.
Often, I remind the Lord and myself of course, that the Church I serve is His Church and not mine. This is especially true when things are not going as I had hoped or planned. Christ is actively and aggressively building his Church locally and universally. I do not have the experience or proficiency to take on such a daunting task on my own.
Out of this profound principle, there arises another insightful truth.
2. The Church belongs to Christ, not me.
The Apostle Paul puts it this way; “Christ is head of the church”. (Ephesians 5:23)
If the Church I serve is His Church, then I must follow his lead as He directs the affairs of the congregation. Fortunately, He has revealed His will for the Church in His Word, the Bible, and as long as I am following His Word, I know I am following Him.
Twice the wise writer of the Proverbs reminds us that, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death”. (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25) If I do things my way, the result of my endeavors will be death.
Our loyalty to the local assembly where we worship must emerge from our love and loyalty to Christ, who is the “head” of the Church. We are to be faithful in our attendance and participation simply because we love him.
When we call a particular local assembly our “Home Church”, there is associated with that a certain accountability to the leaders of that Church and to its members. However, we are, in the final analysis, responsible to Christ who is the Head of the Church and the One who sacrificed His life to redeem it. The Bible says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:10) This, I am sure, is something that is not to be taken lightly or flippantly.
Today, I am resting and relaxing in the fact that our Church belongs to Christ and is being built by Him. However, there is a lot of work for each of us to do, in order to see our Church reach its highest potential. Amen?
2 Timothy 2:22
“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Some time ago, a very sad story was in the national news. A leading member of an evangelical church in our area was arrested. According to the court record, he allegedly offered a house he owned to be used for prostitution and was also involved in an invitation-only party for customers who were visiting the prostitutes.
Upon hearing this horrific story, my first question was, “How does a believer get to this point in his life?” One does not move in a day or even a few weeks from walking with the Lord in a close and personal relationship to participating in a prostitution ring. How does this happen?
A careful reading of the news account revealed what I believe to be the starting point to such aberrant behavior. This wayward believer was viewing pornographic material online.
Many believe that such conduct is normal, acceptable, and natural, even for a believer. However, nothing could be further from the truth. According to God’s Word, this kind of behavior is deviant and damning. Jesus said, “I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
You may be caught up in similar activities and you might be saying to yourself, “But what should I do? I’ve tried to quit these activities!” Let me suggest three steps that will help you bring your sinful desires under control.
1. Get Right.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
You need to get your heart right with God before you take any other steps. You need to go to your knees and confess your sin -- all of it. Do not beat around the bush or try to dress it up with pretty language. Just call it what it is and ask for God’s forgiveness. Then make up your mind that you are going to do whatever it takes to prevent it from happening again.
2. Get Away.
“Flee also youthful lusts.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
In other words, you must separate yourself from anything that makes it easy for you to abandon your new commitment to purity! Perhaps you will need to get away from certain people, certain places, and certain pursuits that lure you away from your commitment to obedience.
3. Get Help.
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14
Turn to an older and more spiritually mature church leader and let them help you. Find someone with whom you can establish accountability.
Does the idea of a guilt-free, shame-free, deception-free life sound nice? Would you like to live every day without the fear of being exposed and ruined? Would you like to be able to give your spouse a kiss that is not also a lie? Would you like to go to church next Sunday without feeling like a hypocrite?
You can and you will, with God’s help. Say with the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Pastor David Boggs
I hope these occasional posts will encourage and challenge you as we grow in Christ together.
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