I love my church!

“I love My Church!”

Would Jesus say that? Absolutely! The Bible tells us,

“Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”[1]

His Church is comprised of all those living, as well as all those who have already died, who have turned to Christ by faith and surrendered their lives to follow Him.

There can be no doubt that God loves His Church. Most will remember Jesus’ words:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.[2]

Clearly, if God loves everyone enough to give His One and Only Son, then He loves those who love His One and Only Son.

Again, there is no question that God loves His Church.

Why do so many people not love His Church?

Then, why do so many people not love His Church?

For starters, let me say that some people simply are not in His Church.

They have not been “born again,”[3] “saved,”[4] or surrendered to Him as their Lord.[5] Yes, they may be members of their local church, but are not members of His Church. They may love the feeling they get at church and the friends who also attend their church. They may love the pastor, the music, and may even love being in a position of leadership; but because they have not truly been saved by surrendering their lives to the Head of the Church – Jesus – they don’t truly love The Church.

Another reason people may not love the Church is that they know they will be exposed to truth.

They know they will be reminded that, like everyone else, they are imperfect sinners who must one day give an account to God. They like the part about God being loving, but they don’t care for the fact that God is also holy.

A third basic reason is because they simply have not gotten their way.

Much like membership in a country club, some people think that as church members they are entitled to be served. They expect their local church to cater to their needs. They forget that Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and He purchased her with His own blood. They may be ignorant of the fact that God is the Sovereign King of everything Who sent His Son to this earth on a mission and has given that mission to all who follow His Son.[6] Christ followers can’t go their own way and His way at the same time. The Church exists for God’s glory, not for our whims.

Similarly, some people have not gotten the attention they think they deserve. Generally, they want their church to be about them and, if it doesn’t meet their need, they are either off to another church or they stay away altogether hoping to get sympathy. They find it much easier to blame the church rather than address their own sinful, selfish attitude. As my friend Hal Mayer has been known to say, “It is SO not about you!”

Perhaps they have been let down others.

I am not talking about the pain that comes from hearing the truth of the gospel or not getting one’s way. This final category includes those people who, because of their immaturity, have placed others on a pedestal only to find out they are imperfect. Of course, they were mistaken to think that. Just because someone is sincere and passionate about Christ does not mean that person is perfect. At times, we hold others to an unrealistic standard and show less grace to them than we would want shown to ourselves.

And finally, some people don’t love the Church because a church member has wounded them.

These are not people who are angry because they have not gotten their way. They are not those who are codependent or selfish and have found they could not manipulate their church. They are not those who didn’t like being challenged to be totally surrendered to Christ. These people have been genuinely hurt because others spoke or acted in an unloving and perhaps even a hateful way towards them. If this describes your pain let me humbly say that I understand. As a matter of fact, I think most other pastors understand this kind of hurt as well.

May I share some honest advice?

First, can you simply forgive and overlook the matter? If not, God expects you to go to the person who offended you and humbly, yet honestly, share your concerns. Many times we may be hurt by simple misunderstandings. We think we know the facts, but don’t. Furthermore, when we are hurt and don’t respond properly, our hurt can easily become bitterness that drives a wedge into relationships and ultimately stifles our own intimacy with Christ.

And believe it or not, you have likely hurt others over the course of your life. It may have been unintentional, but it happened. How would you want them to respond to you? You should know that even among genuine believers we are all imperfect and at various levels of spiritual and emotional maturity. In the same way, we should show those who have hurt us the same grace that we would want shown to us when we fail to act like Christ.

Finally, if you feel that no one understands, consider that even Christ was betrayed by one of His closest friends and denied by the very one who appeared to be the most loyal.

Ultimately, we must get our joy from Jesus. If we have been hurt, you may be sure He knows it and He is able to not only heal your broken heart, but also vindicate you.

Remember, Jesus loves His Church. That ought to be enough for us to love her as well.

 

 

[1] Ephesians 5:25b

[2] John 3:16

[3] John 3:3, 7

[4] Matthew 1:21, 18:11; Jn. 3:17

[5] Romans 10:13

[6] Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:2

Mark Bordeaux
About Mark Bordeaux 7 Articles
Mark's journey began in Jacksonville, Florida when, as a student at Trinity Christian Academy, he heard the Good News that God truly loves people, but we are separated from Him because of our sin. Each of us have not only inherited a propensity to disobey, but have chosen to go our own way, rather than God's way and experience a personal relationship with Him. In his own words... "Although I had been a church member since my childhood, I realized that I knew "about" God, but did not "know" God in a real and personal way. The realization that God loved us and paid the ultimate price for our sin by sending His Son to be our sacrifice on the cross and rise from the dead to rescue us became clear. I also realized that if I did not surrender to God and by faith accept His Son's sacrifice for my sin, I would continue to be alienated from God. Even though I did not know much about the Bible and certainly did not know the evidences for it's accuracy, I knew enough to respond to God. One afternoon after school, I was alone in my home and knelt and prayed to God. I simply asked Him to forgive me of my sin and take me to Heaven when I died. I was truly sorry for being a sinner and sincerely asked Him to save me. When I finished praying and had trusted God to save me it was as though the separation between God and me, that I sensed earlier, was removed. In child-like terms I knew I was not 'in trouble' anymore and that God had forgiven me. In my mind, it was almost as though Jesus had His arms wide-open saying, 'It's alright now!'" As a college student, Mark grew in his commitment to Jesus as he attended Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Regularly hearing the Bible taught and preached as well as being around other young people who loved Jesus helped his commitment deepen. Mark continued to mature in his relationship with God as a member of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. Not only did he grow in his commitment to Christ while at First Baptist following Christ he met the love of his life, Debbie, who has been his partner in life and ministry ever since. His first experience of introducing someone to a relationship with Jesus by sharing the Good News was at First Baptist. Later, he was invited to preach at the city rescue mission and was amazed when five men professed to receive Christ. The joy of having a part in what God was doing sharpened his focus even more. After graduating with a degree in Broadcast Management in 1980, he chose to serve God in Christian broadcasting. His first job following college was as the program director of a Christian radio station. He began receiving invitations to speak at area churches. Again, people responded to God's invitation of salvation. His call to full-time ministry continued to be confirmed. When he heard that a local church was searching for a youth minister he applied. The church called him to serve and he left broadcasting and began the adventure of full-time ministry. Since beginning as a youth minister he has served as an associate pastor, pastor, and senior pastor. He has been humbled to serve in eight churches in five states over a period of more than 30 years. He earned a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies from Luther Rice Bible College, a master's degree in divinity (with languages) from The Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, and is currently in the Doctor of Ministry program at the Billy Graham School of Church Growth and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Additionally, he has made annual trips to the former Soviet Union since 1995 to train Russian and Ukrainian pastors and church planters as well as assist International Mission Board personnel in evangelism and church planting projects. He continues to study Russian and often brings groups to experience international missions first hand. Mark also serves as a Coach-Consultant for the South Carolina Baptist Convention. He says, "Encouraging Biblical church health and growth is deeply rewarding. I cannot think of anything that has a greater impact on the world than a united body of believers following the Master and fulfilling His mission." Mark desires to glorify God and further His Kingdom by helping people discover life worth living in Jesus Christ.

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