The church wasn’t the plan or invention of man. The church was God’s idea, because He knew we’d need one another. And, He was right! One of the great gifts of God is the community of faith we know as the church. We’re called in the name of Jesus, and we’re spiritual brothers and sisters by His blood that bonds us together. We’re forgiven by His love, grace and mercy. That shared experience in Christ is powerful, and builds strong relationships with other believers! But let’s be honest. There’s no perfect church, because the church is filled with imperfect people. And, at times people have been hurt by the church, leaving wounds that take time to heal. The Apostle Paul warned the people of Galatia, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” Galatians 5:13. The church is powerful when it’s positive and uplifting, but when division or dissension occurs, the church can bite and hurt the people it’s supposed to love. This fall we’re start a series called Church Bites. When the church loses its focus, it can hurt those it’s meant to heal. Being honest about the church with the church is a healthy way to grow stronger for the future.
“We will never change the world by going to church, we will only change the world by being the church.” That’s true! But what’s the change agent in the people of the church that makes the difference in the world? The answer is love! The most famous verse in the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. It was God’s love that caused Him to send Jesus, and it’s the love of God’s people that will help change the world. Sometimes churches lose that perspective and pastors pound the pulpit condemning sinners and calling for people to follow the law of God. When that happens, people turn away from the church. This message will remind us that the church isn’t a place of the law, but a place of love!