May 19, 2009

The Church

Ephesians 3:2-12

His intent was that … through the church, the … wisdom of God should be made known …
Ephesians 3:10


The late Ed Van Baak, many years a missionary to Japan, said that it is not enough to proclaim the gospel and let the chips fall where they may. It is the object of missions and evangelism to save the lost and to gather them into Christ’s church. The church is a central part of God’s plan to gather both Jews and Gentiles into one body, uniting all people in Christ.

How different this attitude is from the carelessness Christians often show toward the church. Let’s face it: it’s a buyer’s market out there; no one will stop us if we church-hop to our heart’s content, or if we disrupt one church after another with abrasive behavior, flitting here and there to please our own tastes and desires. We must learn to love the church as Christ does, the bride to whom he is faithful. Or someday we will find ourselves alone, with a trail of broken relationships behind us, not knowing what it means to love and be loved.

Charles Schultz once said, as a joke, “I love mankind; it’s people I can’t stand.”

More seriously, though, we learn from 1 John 4:20 that “anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” It is the Christian (imperfect for sure) rubbing shoulders with us in a specific church (also imperfect) that we must learn to love.

King of the church, teach us to love your church, imperfect though it may be. Help us to share Christ with others and bring them into your church. In your name, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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