A biblical perspective on the people of God and where they fellowship
Thanks be to God that He has provided us with the resources necessary to continue with the final stage of the building project. This means we can serve Him more effectively in, and also beyond our community, to the praise of His glory. The church is the people, not the building and we must never forget that. If we do, then our focus will be on humanistic and pragmatic approaches to ministry instead of having a biblically grounded foundation from which to build on. In addition to a vital witness in the heart of Broadstone, God has blessed us by being able to support missionaries worldwide and in obedience to the Great Commission.
As part of the church we are ‘members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Eph. 2:19b-22).’
We would do well to remember that God doesn’t need us yet so graciously uses us and we find ultimate joy in serving Him. David wanted to build a temple for the Lord, yet Solomon was assigned to the work and used skilled workers and excellent materials for the task. The building of the temple was a spiritual as well as practical undertaking. Again the Lord has blessed us with spiritual insight and skilled workers. At the same time, we can contemplate the enormity and benevolence of the God who tabernacles with us- the Lord said to David “Would you build a house for me to dwell in? (2 Samuel 7:5)” and in Isaiah 66:1, “Heaven is My throne, and earth is my footstool. Where is the house that you would build Me? And where is the place of My rest?”
It is of tremendous encouragement to see a work that is growing for the cause of the gospel. Nehemiah was extremely determined to continue with his assigned task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. He had multiple discouragements and distractions, yet he never lost sight of pleasing God before the opinions of men and women. The way to avoid the fear of man is simple yet profound; fear God! There will inevitably be a few with an agenda more concerned with every conceivable secondary and practical necessity before the regeneration of individual’s souls. We must focus on gospel imperatives.
We must always prioritize the overseers being given to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:5). Furthermore, we must never worship the building, or the sentimentality of the feelings attached with it, ritualistic observances that are not firmly scripturally supported, our ministry, or our sphere of influence. These are first world problems and common humanistic tendencies and we should remember that ‘God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply’.
Social scientists try and fail to understand the church and struggle to define what makes someone a genuine Christian. The world does the same. Attendance at church services is one criterion used, though we know that of itself is helplessly inadequate to change someone from within. However, when a person comes to faith in God, then they will have new spiritual desires and will want to be with the people of God.
Most of us would feel put out if we missed a meal or two. Attendance at the evening service and prayer meetings is to some degree a telling and uncannily accurate barometer of the spiritual hunger to meet with the Lord and be with the people of God. We shouldn’t neglect this (Hebrews 10:25). Personal time with the Lord in Bible study and prayer, meeting to fellowship and encourage one another in the faith and sharing the gospel with others is the bread and butter of our ministry.
Its both normal and natural to be resistant to change. In this interim period it is a given that we will need to be patient and gracious with one another. The way to keep ourselves mindful of that is to meditate on the condescension of the Son of God who took on flesh, dwelt amongst us, loved us and gave Himself us. We will then be grateful to God and want to love others as He has first loved us.
We have much to be grateful for and reflect on considering God’s goodness in this New Year. He has provided shepherds who have faithfully tended and watched over the flock for over eighty years in Broadstone. The gospel has been preached, souls have been saved and the work continues and passes from one generation to the next. Other than our eternal security and our real spiritual home, most other things are temporary since we are pilgrims going to the place that our Lord has prepared for us (John 14:1-4).
The same is true of all our worldly possessions. We often cling to them so tightly, yet we can’t take them with us. As Paul wrote to Timothy, we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can take nothing out (1 Tim. 6:7). When we have left our current abode, others Lord willing will continue to worship our Lord in this place unless He returns. In the light of the brevity of our lives, let us by God’s grace and with one accord and in unity, seek to remain biblically grounded and gospel driven; not merely for our sakes or those who we want to reach, but ultimately for God’s glory and for His kingdom whose reign and dominion is everlasting.