– James H. Aughey
It’s Jesus’ Church
I often catch myself when I mention “my church” in speaking to people about our church, but it’s not “my church”; it is Jesus’ church as He is the Head, which also means He is responsible for its growth. The Apostle Paul writes that “he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (Col 1:18), which means God “put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:22).
Hospital for Sinners
For sure, the church is not a place for perfect people but a hospital for the sick; sinners that is, of which I am one. I heard one man tell me that he will never go to a church because it’s full of hypocrites. I told him, “There’s always room for one more.” I also told him that there are hypocrites in the world too, but the difference is, the Christian admits they are less than perfect and are still a work in progress. If that man finds a perfect church, I suggest he doesn’t join it, because he’ll ruin it. The truth is, no church is perfect, but God imputes the perfection of Christ toward those who repent and trust in Him (2nd Cor 5:21).
I know that the church is full of believers that are still working on their lives and that sanctification is a lifelong process, so what’s the best place for people striving to live a life pleasing to God and to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2nd Pet 3:18)? The church can feed the flock the Word of God and as iron sharpens iron (Prov 27:17), so do we grow in the knowledge of God with one another, however growth takes time. Every day is a struggle for the believer, but like the tiny seed that struggles to penetrate the earth, we also struggle, but there is strength in the struggle.
Home for the Outcasts
Our church does not have a lot of rich people in it (in fact, none!). Our church isn’t full of important people from society (to say the least), and our church is not in a position to help many people because we are small and don’t have much money, but maybe that’s the point. Our church includes 3 people on disability, 2 homeless people, two unemployed, 3 former prisoners (we have a prison ministry), and others who are struggling just to keep food on the table, however, even though we’re small, we have a prison ministry, a nursing home ministry, and a ministry for the poor in our town, so God can do amazing things with a less-than-amazing group of people like us, but in this way God receives the glory.
Just think for a moment what James H. Aughey said: “The church is not a select circle of the immaculate, but a home where the outcast may come in.” Amen? We must acknowledge that it is Jesus’ church not ours; that we are not perfect but we are forgiven; we are still a “work in progress”; and we are a home that welcomes those who society thinks little of. That’s exactly Who God calls as the Apostle Paul tells us to “consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth” (1st Cor 1:26).