The following article by Jairo Namnun and disseminated by the COALITION FOR THE GOSPEL describes the importance that this act of love implies for the receiving institution and for the hands that it gives.
The Christian life is lived in community. In a particular way, you live in a Community called Church. That church bought by the blood of the lamb, that although today it seems to have certain spots, and that is certainly full of sinners (redeemed!), Is the White Bride of the Holy Lamb. Although I have more than 15 years in the gospel, it is in the last 8 or 9 years that I have learned the true value of the church. Here are 7 reasons why I love the church:
“Thus we, we are many, we are one body in Christ and individually members of one another,” Romans 12: 5
The Christian life is not lived alone. We need the gifts, the love and the forgiveness of other brothers, and they need ours. My best friends are part of the community of faith. A good part of my family is too. My best memories have one way or another to the church in between. In a lost world in which we are foreigners and pilgrims, it is of immeasurable value to have the community of faith, with those who share our longings and hate what we hate.
2. Preaching the Word
“But in case I am late, I am writing to you so that you may know how one should conduct himself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and supporter of the truth”, 1 Timothy 3:15
If you are part of a healthy church, you know first-hand the power of preaching the Scriptures. Of course, the Lord speaks to us day by day through the devotional reading of the Bible and of applying the Bible in our conversations. But there is something special about being able to hear the proclamation of a passage of Scripture next to the church of God. And we have this blessing at least once a week.
“… do this in remembrance of me”, 1 Corinthians 11:24.
By this I mean the two ordinances given by our Lord Jesus and applied by the Church since its inception: Baptism and Holy Communion. I love being able to witness what the waters of baptism represent. To be able to listen to my new brothers confess the Lord’s grace for their lives, how He forgave their past, rescued them from the muddy mud, and how they now want to serve Him with their lives. I remember with joy the baptism of many friends, relatives, and even students, and I give thanks to God because He continues to save us from our sin. On the other hand, Holy Communion or Communion is always a special time, since it reminds me on each occasion of the sacrifice of our Lord. Sacrifice that was for me and my sin. How much love spilled in that blood: how much grace revealed in that body. Blessed be He, who reminds me regularly, and prepared a special time to remember him as a congregation.
4. Answer to the questions
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, “John 6:68.
We live in terribly uncertain times, where a man can be called a woman and a woman can kill his son in the womb and society applauds him. The haughty knowledge of men all the time rises up against the truth of God. And we ourselves, Christians, many, many, many times we do not know what to do or what to think. That is why I give thanks to God for the design of the church, where we listen and ask and respond to the questions of everyday life in different ways. I love small groups and youth ministries (that preach the Word!) And groups of couples and that kind of thing, since they provide spaces with equals to be able to respond to common and specific concerns. Of course, these spaces do not replace the general meeting: they complement it.
5. Service to society
“Thus let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16
The church has been designed by God not only to serve those inside, but also the needy society outside. Of course, the main way he does this is through evangelism and discipleship. The members of society come to the church, are transformed by the gospel, grow in holiness, and all their sphere of influence is transformed. But the church has been behind the abolition of slavery and important scientific advances. The morality of the Bible has served to stop abortion in dozens of countries and to curb the moral corruption that, although it does not give salvation, is part of the grace of God that allows us to live “a quiet and peaceful life with all piety and dignity “(1 Tim.2: 2). To that we add the hundreds of thousands of people who have been fed and dressed by some church work, and I can not help thanking God for that.
6. Use of gifts and growth
“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”, 1 Corinthians 12: 7 I vividly remember my first sermon. My wife (at that time my girlfriend) was there, and she says she liked it. But when I look back, I know it was not a very good teaching. However, I thank God that that church gave me the opportunity to preach, and I give thanks for all the opportunities I have had after that. What is more, that gift of teaching and preaching, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, has developed in me in such a way that at least some people have been edified by God through some message that He I have allowed myself to preach. For my part, as I have said in almost all the previous points, I have received the incredible blessing of hearing the Word of God, being counseled, being strengthened in my faith and knowing that my brothers are praying for me. The exercise of these gifts in the church is totally necessary for the life of the believer, and through them we are being formed in the image of Christ, something for which I give thanks. Accountability and discipline “If your brother sins, go and rebuke him …”, Matthew 18: 15 We all sin every day. That is the reality of having a fallen body in a fallen world. The painful and dangerous thing is that we get used to our sin and faults, and many times we do not realize when we fail. That is why I thank God for the accountability provided by the church. Walking the race of faith with other believers provides a space for them to speak to our lives and help us eliminate our blind spots. It takes courage to tell someone we love, “please, how can I improve? Do you see any area of ??sin in me? ” It also takes courage to answer these questions honestly and in love. And I thank God for the various brothers who have spoken and still speak to my life in this way. What’s more, I thank God for the reality of the discipline of the church, because it raises the holiness of God in the eyes of men, and can genuinely save the soul of those who receive it. It is a sample of His love for the church. I could thank God for these things in a theoretical way, because I know they are in the Word. But for me it is not theory: I have experienced these things both at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville (where I am a member during my studies), and the International Baptist Church, our church in our country and where we are yearning to return next year.
I thank God for these congregations, and for all those churches that love the Lord of the Word. What do you think? Any important reason why you give thanks?
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