Do not give up on Church!

…we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13

Too many Christians have given up on the church, and this is too bad. Yes, it is imperfect and full of problems; so, what relationship is not? But, we can overcome all that and grow to do what Christ has called us to do. It means we surrender to win, as we are not only to give of ourselves, but also freely receive gifts and love and care from others without our pride getting in the way.

Our living faith that God gives and builds on along with our efforts are hinged on each other–not in our salvation, but in our personal growth. Even the private aspects of faith building require mutual efforts and support, so we need church to keep us growing. We can’t build an effectual faith on our own without a church family. Scripture warns us against negating our spiritual development or neglecting what God gives. If we refuse to allow His work, then our faith and the future He has for us will not be received. If we leave the Church, our salvation (if it was for real in the first place) is still intact, but we limit our sanctification and cut ourselves off from God’s reward for being faithful. We will fall to bad or natural consequences for refusing His guidance or the fellowship of others (Psalm 137: 5-6; 147:2; Isa 62:5; Gal. 6:24; Heb. 10:10; 13:9-25; Rev. 21: 2-4, 9-27).

The challenge for us is to be committed to our purpose of presenting who we are in Christ, personally and mutually, telling what He has done for us, and responding to Him with passion and conviction, letting go of the fears that hinder us.

We must be excited so when the alarm clock buzzes early on Sunday morning, we jump up, eager about what lies ahead. When adults are energized, it usually becomes contagious to the kids; then, the tyranny of the morning becomes a bounding and fun time looking toward the worship, learning, and relationships ahead. The early church gave us a map for what we can do even in the face of tremendous odds-like the three hundred Spartans heading off the attack of the two hundred thousand plus Persians or our American Alamo. We have the God-given ability to shake off our fear as Gideon did; then the mundane will give rise to excitement, boring will develop into fun, and dread will turn into service. Then, we can go beyond our pedestrian level of the Christian walk into a transformed, heavenly walk that infects those around us. Then, the disease that causes division and hurt will cease and the damage and fears that keep us from growing and serving are removed.

Why are we not to give up on the Church? Because, even though our local church may have betrayed us or hurt us or underutilized or overused us, it is only a tiny aspect of the great wonder of our Lord’s Body and it is he, our Great Shepherd, whom we do not give up on! He is the One who leads, equips, and guides us-as we all desperately need it. Since He does not betray or hurt us, we can stay for the good fight or move on where He calls us to be encouraged and equipped. It is our call to hear His voice and obey as a good sheep does in order to be fed and not be eaten by predators. For us to be in the safety of faith, we not only need to be in Christ, we have to obey and be in a good communion. This results from our intimate relationship with Him. We know Him, He knows us, and we do what He says. We are concerned with what concerns Him, and we act accordingly. Like sheep, we can’t lead ourselves or others without being forever lost and unfed (Psalm 23; Isa. 63:11; Jer. 23:1; 31:34; Ezek. 34:6-16, 31; Hos. 6:6; John 10:1-8; 16:13-15; Rom. 10:7).

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