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The Perfect Church (1)

It does not exist!

It may not, but since we are to pattern our lives after the Father of Gory (Eph. 5:1), there is no reason for those of us who are terribly flawed to NOT strive for that which the Father already is. Will we make it? We will not (cf. 1 John 2:1), but there is a difference in striving toward something and not doing so (cf. Phil. 1:27).

Okay, with that before us, how can we strive to be that perfect church? 1 Thessalonians 5:12ff gives us some exhortations toward that desired end.

  • Know them that labor among you. This applies to the elders of the church, especially. Whatever role the preacher plays, the elders are in primary view. Who are the elders? In the NT, these are men (no females) who serve as "bishops", "pastors", "presbyters", and "overseers". You'll note they labor among you, that is, they are workers in the Lord's kingdom. These are not men in positions corresponding to a "board of commissioners." Considering further, to know them means to respect them and support them in the work in which they are engaged. If they are doing the Lord's work, there is nothing light or easy about that which they do - it can be a very heavy burden to carry.

  • Be at peace among yourselves. This should go without any elaboration, yet is can't. I suppose there is not a one of us that seeks conflict with others. If we do, we are probably not far removed from an unbalanced mind. In my 62 years, I can't think of a time wherein I sought conflict. If I did at one time, it is certainly the case I no longer do. When brethren are at peace with one another, there is comfort and a lack of concern about eggshells in front of us. The Holy Spirit exhorted the brethren, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness..." (Heb. 12:14). Pretty good counsel!

  • Warn the unruly (disorderly). As mentioned above, peace is a desire of all reasonable people. There are some, however, who seem to b e unreasonable and, consequently, unruly. They are divisive, or they are moving in the direction of being divisive. The Lord told Titus (through Paul) that after a first, then second admonition, if any will not submit to the Lord, that person is to be refused fellowship with the church, for he has already severed fellowship with the Lord via his thoughts and actions (cf. Titus 3:10). In this admonition, the ideal is not to separate, but to reclaim. Do what you can to be a solution to a problem. If a problem persists, be sure you've done what you can to be of some help.

This is a brief look at what each of us can do to be part of a perfect church. While we may have our difficulties at arriving to our desired destination, let not those hard matters that come before us be the result of me not trying to be a solution.

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