Tuesday, June 7, 2011
More than a hundred and thirty years ago, the above building was contracted and paid for by my husband’s great-grandfather, millennia after Christ established His church.
Readers who have joined me for a while know that I belong to a ‘fundamental’ church, one striving to be as one described in the New Testament church. Most churches today have achieved that distinction simply because people fail. Beginning in Revelation 2, a few of these churches are described. These are also interpreted as church ages, but the problems existed in the church then, and today.
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Revelation 2:2-4 KJV)
That’s Ephesus. We can read Paul’s letter to that church and see where their hearts were, and where their problem lay, too. Smyrna, however, had no such problems:
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2:9 KJV)
Pergamos, on the other hand, had plenty of problems:
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (Revelation 2:14 KJV)
I could continue with the remaining churches, but you get the idea that the problems, the hypocrisies, the types of people in the New Testament churches are seen today. We are a work in progress, incomplete, striving for the perfection Jesus prayed for His disciples:
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23 KJV)
Those who come to the church expecting instant perfection will be disappointed. Jesus is that perfection, our example, but we still fall short. What to look for is the spirit within the congregation that speaks to all comers that although imperfect, there is a goal:
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 KJV)
Not perfect, but continuing to read and apply the instructions from His word.