Our church celebrated its 25TH anniversary today. The founding pastor was here from Florida and preached an excellent sermon on what the duty and calling of the church today is. He spoke of how many mega-churches there are and said that in many cases, the reason for their growth is that they've watered down the gospel. They look for ways to 'market' the church so people will come ... they do their best to address 'felt needs' and in so doing, they adulterate the truth of Scripture. We're not to be a place whose sole aim is to build self-esteem and we're not to use pop psychology, we're to teach and preach the Word of Almighty God. Because it is only the Word that brings life to a dying soul.
He also quoted the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 4 and made sure we understood that as believers in Christ we won't be in the majority and we won't be popular. We're not called to that, we're called to faithfulness to our Lord and Savior. We're called to tell people the truth ... there is only ONE way into heaven and that is through the blood of God's Son, Jesus Christ. We're to tell them they are lost, but they don't have to stay that way. There is a Redeemer and we're to tell people about Him. We're to be faithful in using the gifts He has given us and to use them for His glory.
How often do we become fearful lest we 'offend' someone with what we believe? We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But what about those who don't think twice about using the name of our Lord in vain? How often do we speak up and tell them their words offend us? We don't want to offend but our lack of speech may very well mean their not knowing the truth that could set them free.
Ours is a small congregation and it was confirmed for me once again that we don't have to be like any other church. We're to be faithful in what God has given us to do in the place He has put us and trust Him with the outcome.
Growing a church isn't a bad thing ... unless you become so caught up in numbers you forget the reason you're there ... to glorify and honor God and His Word. If we're not ministering as unto Him, all our work is for nothing.
I thank the Lord for my church home and for the opportunity to help celebrate its 25 years in Southgate. I thank Him that the Bible is opened each Sunday and our Pastor is faithful to teach it verse by verse. There's no dramatics, no hysterics, just simple teaching and exhorting us to good works. I know everyone's name and they know mine and we're striving to be the best we can be for God's glory.
May the same be true in your church. If you don't have a church, please begin looking for where God would have you attend. We're not put here to be lone rangers ... we belong to a body and we need one another more than we know at times.
May God bless each of you who read this. May He become all you need and may all you do be for His glory and honor.