The living God’s church is made up of people, and as we all know, humans have flaws. In our earthly sojourning, we never meet perfect people, not even among God’s children. Walking-with-the- Lord, forgiven people, yes; sinless people, no.
We are not unmindful of Bible statements which point out the reality of divisive people (Titus 3:10,11), hypocrites (Romans 2:21,22), false teachers (2 Peter 2:1,2), and hatred among brothers in the Lord (1 John 3:12-15). We have witnessed them all in real life.
But there is another aspect of the story that needs to be told as well. While the church is facing genuine challenges from without and within (just as every past generation of God’s people did, too), there is a whole lot of good news about the Lord’s church today.
What is good about the church, you ask? Actually, the word “good” is not strong enough. Let us point out some matters that are “great” with the church. First of all, the church is great in Plan. On the divine side, the church is perfect. God planned the church before creation (Ephesians 3:9-11). Through the Spirit, prophets of the Old Testament era foretold of the church’s coming and importance (Micah 4:1-3; Daniel 2:44,45). Jesus’ church had a powerful beginning not long after He ascended back to the Father (Matthew 16:18; Acts 1:8; 2:1-41). God’s plan for the church’s organization (1 Timothy 3:1-13), worship (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), and evangelism (Mark 16:15,16) is fantastic. Yes, sir, Jesus’ church is like that pearl of great price for which a man willingly sold all that he had in order to make it his own (Matthew 13:45,46).
The church is also great in Practice. Just as we have seen the sad and ugly, we have been blessed to observe the beautiful application of the Lord’s truth in the lives of God-fearing, God-loving sisters and brothers. For instance, our hearts thrill to think and tell about the efforts that brethren are making to spread the gospel. New congregations are being established in places that did not have them. Congregations are growing in number as a result of members loving the souls of lost people and taking their role as personal evangelists seriously.
In the last ten years, we have seen local churches which we greatly love appoint overseers/elders for the first time in their history. Good for them for following the biblical precedent (Acts 14:23). While leadership may be lagging and dragging in some places, we openly salute those brothers who serve with care and diligence as shepherds over God’s flock.
So many Christian parents are doing a fabulous job in raising their kids “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). At their house, the Lord’s affairs come first, always. How encouraging and refreshing it is to see such families!
Jesus told His special disciples, “If you have love for one another” – that is how others will know that we are His disciples (John 13:35). Over and over we see tender, loving care shown so often in so many places by so many saints of God. Such love causes brethren to serve – serve the struggling, the widows and widowers, parent-less kids, the sick, the weary. You cannot put a price tag on such kindness and aid.
We observe and are blessed by faithful preachers and their wives, faithful deacons and their wives, faithful Bible class teachers, faithful “common Joe” and “plain Jane” members, faithful web sites, faithful periodicals, faithful encouragers, faithful defenders of the faith, and faithful caregivers. In short, there is so much great stuff going on in the church that one would try in vain to mention it all in one sitting. If somebody is trying to sell the notion that today in the church nobody is doing anything, everyone is dead, and all are hypocrites, we are not buying it here!
Looking at the future, the church is great in Prospect. I see young members making a commitment to marry only a faithful member of God’s church. I see young people excited about teaching the gospel at home and abroad. I see local churches with training classes/schools for Christians. I see parents training their kids to speak politely, dress modestly, and act as if God is watching. I see fine young men preparing themselves to preach the gospel for a lifetime. The church has great potential!
Are there areas in which local churches and individuals need to mature? Certainly so. For today, though, would you thank God for all that is great about the church? I plan to do that very thing.
— Roger D. Campbell