1 Corinthians 3:16-17
"Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God
and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
God will bring ruin upon anyone who ruins this temple.
For God’s temple is holy and you Christians are that temple."
The Bible tells us as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. We all are so different. And most, if not all of us, are hard headed and have in our mind how things should be done. Most of us want to be the boss. It is often hard to love other people and even harder for each of us to be lovable. So, let’s just get to the bottom line—the church isn’t perfect because it is full of imperfect people, just like me and you. But that isn’t a reason for us to not be involved in church! We see in Haggai that neglecting the building of God’s church caused harsh discipline and here in 1 Corinthians in the New Testament we are told the same thing.
I want to be very honest with all of you. The lesson in Haggai is for me! I love the lost. I have great compassion for those who don’t yet know Jesus. I have very few patience for those who call themselves committed Christians and don’t live the way God commands. I have greater expectations for Christians and hate the pride and unbelief that are in some churches. I would rather be at a rodeo than be in church. To often I have been critical of the body of believers. Instead of working to build up the body, I have often chose to ignore it! So, now that everyone reading this knows that I am preaching to myself. I am repenting and changing my attitude.
God loves His church. The church has gotten a bad rap, and the world has put a bad spin on it. We hear that the church is full of hypocrites and sinners. Yep, that’s right it is. I love Jesus Christ and have tried to walk with him for nearly thirty years and I still sin. I can still see hypocrisy in my life! I hate it and keep working with the help and power of the Holy Spirit to become better. That is everyone in the church; not one Christian is perfect! All Christians blow it every day to living up to the mark and perfection of Jesus Christ.
The church is full of all kinds of people, that have had all kinds of problems. Recently, at our church in Arizona our pastor told this story.
“The love God has for us is similar to going to the dog pound to adopt a dog.
Now many would pick the cute, sweet, fluffy dog.
But there are many other undesirable dogs in the pound—ugly ones,
mean ones, nasty ones, old ones, yappy ones, hurting ones, and paranoid ones.
Now when Jesus Christ walked on earth,
he looked at the dog pound of humanity and said, 'I’ll take them all!'
The church is not and will never be full of just sweet, fluffy, cute dogs—God takes us all!"
1 Corinthians 12:27
"Now all of you together are Christ’s body and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it."
God is so awesome. At times, maybe more than I would like to remember, I have been a yapping dog. But Jesus Christ died for me and He loves me, yapping and all. He has promised to keep working on me and perfecting me into his image. I am so grateful for that. Jesus isn’t leaving me like I was. And what he is doing for me, he is doing for every part of the body of Christ He is healing the sick, giving courage to the fearful, making the ugly beautiful, and making the mean and cranky gentle and loving. We all are a work in progress. It may look confusing and hypocritical to the world, but God knows what He is doing.
1 Corinthians 4:5
"So be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether or not someone is faithful.
When the Lord comes he will bring our deepest secrets to light
and will reveal our private motives. And then God will give to everyone whatever praise is due."
In Matthew 13 is the parable of the weeds. To put it simply, it tells us that in the church there will be true believers, the wheat, and those that don’t believe, the weeds. We are also told that if Jesus were to remove the weeds that it would hurt the wheat, so by His sovereign will God leaves these pretend Christians in the church. The parable closes telling us that at the end of the age that those that are weeds will be pulled up and thrown into the fire. The righteous will shine like the sun.
It is not our job to throw out the pretenders in the church. However, it is our responsibility to know that all that say they are Christians, aren’t. They are embedded by the enemy. This is the way God chose to set it up! We are to live in it!
1 Corinthians 8:1-3
"While knowledge may make us feel important, it is love that really builds up the church.
Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.
But the person who loves God is the one God knows and cares for."
Jesus tells us that the world will know who his disciples are, because they have love one for another. 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter and it is written out on the back cover. The first verse reads like this, “If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal.” When we, as the church, don’t love, we’re just making noise.
1 Corinthians 10:24
"Don’t think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them."
The church is full of struggling people trying to die to their selfish nature. This self exaltation can raise its ugly head often in the church. It is not easy for arrogant, selfish, strong-willed people to think that others are more important. This is the cause of many struggles in the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe.
Be courageous. Be strong.
And everything you do must be done with love.
The body of Christ must be on guard. Our enemy, the devil, prowls around seeking whom he can devour, destroy, or distract. He has planted pretenders in the church to cause trouble so we must stand true to what we believe. We must believe the Bible. We are in a fight and all must be courageous and strong. And then because love is what distinguishes us as Christ’s disciples, we must do everything with love.
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