Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. ESV.)
Last week I had to go to the church for biblical counsel. But before I talk about that I want to show how God has worked all things for His glory and my good up to this point...and I rejoice always in this!
In the summer of 2008 I was about to leave on a cross country road trip. But before I did one issue stood pending. What church was I going to call my “church home”? My former church had “split” in a sense. The pastor had stepped down, the elders were staying, he was leaving, and I felt convicted to leave as well but I could not follow my teacher as he was heading out of state. The question remained, “What now?”
Though my family and I had tried a number of churches in the surrounding area it was not until the Sunday before I was scheduled to leave on my road trip God moved me exactly where He wanted me. It was all in His perfect timing and though I had become frustrated with each church we tried that did not quite fit, God had it all sorted out (before the foundation of the world was created. And presently I found out how perfect of a match it truly is for me.)
I must say, I have learned so much in the last year about the church. Prior to this (from 2006-2008) I learned about the importance of the body and its function as God designed it…to come along side each other, encourage, rebuke, and act as iron sharpening iron. It is a truly beautiful thing (of which I did not wholly get a grasp in my childhood church).
The church is not only there for fellowship it is also there as an authority. Matthew 18:15-17 says,
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
What a blessing to know there is godly counsel and authority (not just worldly authority) for me as I walk along my path with God and Christ Jesus. When I have been sinned against and going to the person myself has not helped matters, what a blessing to know I have the body and the church to help me.
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? (1 Corinthians 6:1-6. ESV.)