“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
I Peter 4:7-11 NKJV
Crises can bring out the best in people. In the times when disasters strike, people come together to get through what is happening, strengthening the common bond.
We are in a crisis in the Bible believing church.
The values of the Bible are under attack, and those who believe find themselves marginalized. In this time of increased opposition, it is crucial for the people of God to draw together.
We must magnify our efforts to accomplish a seemingly impossible task: taking the Gospel to a hostile world.
The early church came into being under great stress, not unlike today. God was doing a new thing, and the established order sought to stamp it out. They thought they had at the cross when they killed Jesus. But He rose again, built His church, the work began.
They faced a greater societal rejection, than we are, and they had to abide fully in the Lord. They had only each other, as their members were growing in number, and many had needs. They came together, and became unified as they were built up and edified in the word, taking the Gospel to the world.
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”
Acts 2:41-45 NKJV
There is much that we can learn from the early church. They held together and continued on mission, regardless of what came at them. People who joined them were coming from many situations, damaged by a sinful system. They were ground down, and in great need.
The world we live in has also become a grinder, churning out broken people with deep needs, and wrecked by sin. In the midst of this, we have been called build the church.
Maintaining an assembly is increasingly difficult, as people come to Jesus from wide variety of circumstances. Given the diversity, there will inevitably be struggles. It is essential, to approach each other with love and longsuffering.
I think back to my days in Celebrate Recovery, and how we were able to love each other, despite our flaws. Many of us had fresh sins and strongholds, but we focused on what Jesus was doing, rather than what we had done.
I learned that love does indeed cover a multitude of sins. When we love, we are looking for the best in people, we are looking past the person in the here and now, and toward what that person could be, will be, in Christ Jesus. God is working in all of us, and will finish that work in His time.
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
Philippians 1:6 NKJV
The last thing needed in the church is judgementalism, as there is plenty of that in the world. We are commanded to love one another. Love means giving each other the benefit of a doubt, something seriously lacking in our world today.
There is a need for standards, and accountability, but all must be done with gentleness. We all have come to the cross bound in sin, we are all cleansed and made new by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the midst of the storms, we must always remember our commission. We are not in a position to huddle together and brace ourselves against the oncoming strong winds, but bring the message of the Gospel to a dying world, even though it hates us. In the strong winds of persecution, we can stand as one, strong, as we go on the offensive against the gates of hell.
We are to build up disciples, people able to go out and share the message of Jesus with accuracy and power. We can’t pick and choose who is to be raised up, but through love in the church, we can take the most downtrodden and empower them, helping them to develop their spiritual gifts for good of all.
I think of myself when I entered the faith. It was the patience of the saints that contibuted to my establishment in Jesus.
All that we do is dedicated to the cause of Christ. From the saving of a new believer, to the commissioning of those established and mature, we must put on love.
Let us huddle together with hands outstretched as we reach out to catch those closest hell.