- As Filipinos, we may have many faults. But indifference is not one of them. In times of calamities, instinctively we see Filipinos coming together to help each other.
- But we see something sad in the church these days. In times of difficulty, some choose to walk away and disregard the church completely. Some disengage and just disappear.
- Why is this happening? There could be many reasons, some of which might be legitimate (e.g. different time zone or difficult life situations). But often the reason is simply that they do not understand the true nature of the church and their place in it.
- Some see the church as simply a physical place where they can go to fulfill their religious obligations or needs. Thus, when these two reasons are no longer being met, they walk away from the church.
- But according to Ephesians 2:11-22, the church is a spiritual place where God is actively doing His work of salvation. Therefore, to reject the church is to reject God!
- God is RESCUING people.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
- God is RECONCILING people.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
The world is full of alienated people, or people separated from each other for various reasons. But the church is supposed to be a spiritual place where true reconciliation can happen. People from different backgrounds or personalities can come together as one people in the church through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Are you helping with this work of reconciliation or are you contributing further to the alienation people feel toward each other?
- God is RESTORING people.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
God wants to restore people to the image and likeness of His Son Jesus Christ. He wants to deliver us from sin and transform us by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we can represent Him in the world. It can be a painful process, but God is committed to doing it for His glory.
People can have many faults in the church. Both leaders and members are all in the process of being spiritually transformed. There is a place for correction, and even rebuke, so that we can become more like Jesus in our character and behavior. But there is no place for rejection.
Are you rejecting the church because of its many faults and failures? Are you judging leaders and/or members because of their many sins?
Turning Point: “To reject the church is to reject God Himself.”
GROUP DISCUSSION (30 minutes)
- Why are some Christians disengaging or disregarding the church today?
- Which reasons are valid or not valid in view of the true nature of the church?
- How would you encourage your friends to re-engage or re-commit themselves to the church in the coming days?