Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What is the Church? Faith

Faith; this is the great issue of our time and in the days ahead.

If you had faith as a grain of mustard you can move a mountain, but there is not enough faith in the world to move a content Christian out of a pew. Proverbs 27:7, "A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet."

"I discovered later, and I'm still discovering right up to this moment, that it is only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith ... One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman, a righteous man or an unrighteous one, a sick man or a healthy one. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life's duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world -- watching with Christ in Gethsemane. That I think, is faith; that is metanoia, (repentance) and that is how one becomes a man and a Christian. How can success make us arrogant, or failure lead us astray, when we share in God's sufferings through a life of this kind?" Bonhoeffer

Romans 4:2, "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God."

2 Corinthians 7:10, "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world leads to death."

James2:14-20, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?"
No one was made or should be made to walk with God without the help of others. The church functions as the help-meet, rescuer, restorer, searcher and haven for those who need a relationship with God. All people need a relationship with God. Jude 20, "... building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." 

The revelation of things as they are allow us to draw some conclusions:
people need to be part of a Church which is always renewing its love for Christ;
people need to be part of a Church that is willing to endure suffering and hardship with a view and focus on the light of eternity;
people need to be part of a Church that honours the Word of God and holds to its truthfulness in every environment;
people need to be part of a Church that maintains a standard of sexual purity, notwithstanding, a stance and an answer which addresses issues outside its walls;
people need to be part of a Church that maintains Godliness as an effect of Spirit-filled living;
people need to be part of a Church whose people are not noted as much for their strength and self-sufficiency as for their faithful dependence on God;
people need to be part of a Church who evaluate their condition, not on the basis of material well-being, but rather on their total dependence on God.

There must exist an openness not only to our own 'staus qou' but to the state of affairs with regard to others. That openness must include mercy, understanding, forgiveness and grace. Without condemnation we must accept the insecurities, limitations, pain and suffering of 'others' as an extension of the grace of God imparted to us as His children. 

Our mission as a Church is to help ourselves and 'others' see the difference that biblical thinking and action can make in a life that is made up of disappointments, insecurities, apprehensions and fractures. As a Church we must be the 'adults', the mature, those that exhibit the maturity, peace and self-control of those who have grace, hope and confidence to face life's difficult circumstances, acknowledging the provisions of God by faith.

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