Good-Grace Churches

Good-Grace Churches

Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her.
–Ephesians 5:25-26

A few years ago, a member of our church asked to visit with me about her funeral service. Janice had been in perfect health until she was diagnosed with cancer ten months earlier, and now she was facing only a few more weeks of life. She pointed to her burgundy Bible and said, “Pastor, tell the people I believe every word in that book.” As I was leaving, her husband said, “Our church has been so wonderful through all of this. Our Sunday school class brought meals every day. Somebody offered to mow the lawn for us. We’ve had numerous calls of support and encouragement. I don’t know how people make it through something like this without a church.”

Trust me–as a pastor, I know about all the flaws and imperfections of a local church. Mediocre sermons, dictatorial leadership, and hypocritical members are all a part of what happens when imperfect people gather together. But as my late mentor Howard Hendricks used to say, “The church is a lot like Noah’s ark–if it weren’t for the storm on the outside, you couldn’t stand the stench on the inside.” There is a relentless storm that is beating against us. Aren’t you glad God has provided a spiritual shelter like the church to protect us against that storm?

I hope you could give a testimony about some way God has used a church to minister to you. Maybe you remember somebody inside the church who took an interest in your spiritual growth or even introduced you to faith in Jesus Christ. Maybe there was a small group of believers, perhaps a Sunday school class, who surrounded you and supported you in a time of great need or loss in your life. Maybe you can just look back week after week and thank God for the spiritual refreshment you receive when you gather together to worship with other believers.

Yet in spite of these warm feelings, many Christians are treating the church with increasing disdain and indifference. Polls tell us for an increasing number of Christians, they view church membership as optional, their attendance is sporadic, their giving is minimal, and they view any kind of service as burdensome. How do you explain the growing indifference people have toward the church today?

Two words: bad grace. Many Christians have taken the gift of God’s grace and perverted it as an excuse to be indifferent toward the church that Jesus Christ gave Himself for. But as recipients of God’s grace, we ought to have the same sacrificial attitude toward the church as Jesus had.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good-Grace Churches” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org