August 27, 2014 | by: 0 Comments|
This past Tuesday, I unintentionally delivered something of a state of the church address in the middle of the Men's Bible Study. We took the entire evening to talk about Acts 9:31 where Luke tells us,
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
We talked about how, by God’s grace, the Lord has been pleased to bless our congregation with peace, along with growth in grace and godliness (or to put it in Luke’s language, “being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit”). We also talked about how the Lord has been pleased to grow and multiply our congregation over these last two and a half years and not just by adding more children to our number! Though he certainly has done that, hasn’t he?
I took the time in the Bible study to reflect on (without mentioning any specifics whatsoever) how life together as a church isn’t or hasn’t always been perfect. We are a congregation of sinners, and so there have been hard times and challenges in the life of the church. Sadly, sometimes there hasn’t been peace between members. Sadly, sometimes tearing down rather than building up has taken place. Sadly, sometimes there has been walking in the fear of the world rather than in the fear of the Lord. And sadly, sometimes there has been a pressing need for the Holy Spirit to pour out his comfort in greater measure.
I don’t think that we do ourselves any great favors by hiding these realities. Denying these realities almost seems tantamount to denying our need for God’s grace. We need God to constantly and graciously be at work in our body. And in his kindness and goodness and mercy and love, he is. We need God’s grace and God has poured out his grace among us.
We have peace as a body because God has been gracious to us to give us peace with him and each other. We are being built up through the Word and prayer and the ordinances because God graciously works through them. We walk in the fear of the Lord because God graciously motivates us through his love displayed in the vicarious life, substitutionary atoning death, and vindicating resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. We enjoy the comfort of the Holy Spirit as we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit by the resurrection power of Christ.
So here is the state of the church: God has been gracious to us, he is being gracious to us, and he will be gracious to us. Praise God for his past, present, and future grace.
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