Tag Archives: body of Christ

God’s One Mistake

Many American Christians have discovered God’s one mistake. It has to do with the Lord’s Day. God was apparently not thinking ahead when he instructed his people to gather for worship one day out of seven.

How could the Lord, who knows the beginning from the end, miss the long list of difficulties he created? Did he not realize that people have birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, holidays, out-of-town visitors, family time (to name just a few)? 52 Sundays out of every 365 days is a lot to ask.

After seeing how his people Israel struggled to keep the Sabbath in the Old Testament one might expect the Lord to learn his lesson and change his mind in the New Testament. But no. Jesus himself had the notable habit of attending Synagogue regularly (and with people who were trying to kill him!). And the Early Church met more than once a week. What were they thinking?

What does God have to say for himself? Well, the New Testament likens the church to a body. In the same way that a person’s body has hands, feet, eyes, ears, etc., the church is a collection of people with diverse spiritual gifts, each one needed by all the others. When someone is absent the body is incomplete and the other parts suffer. Imagine your hands and feet showing up on different days.

We also read that the church is like a temple. Each person is a living stone in the walls of this spiritual place where God meets with his people. When bricks are missing the building is incomplete and weakened, vulnerable to the hostile forces that come against it.

But wait. Must God justify his commands to us? Do we worship on the Lord’s Day because we have approved it as useful and acceptable to ourselves? Do we have the final word on what is right? “Okay, Lord, I’ll obey if you can convince me that I should . . . if not, then I am taking control!” If this is true, then we should dispense with calling him Lord.

Our cultural ancestors in Europe discovered God’s mistake about once-a-week worship before we did in the U.S.A. They have ‘evolved’ morally and spiritually more rapidly than we have (or is it de-volved?). We are apparently now in a competition to take the lead in this race for the cultural bottom, and doing rather well as of late.

But someone will rebuke me: How can a lack of worship on the Lord’s Day be blamed for the spiritual and moral demise of an entire culture? The point is taken. Perhaps a haphazard attitude about the Lord’s Day is a symptom and not the disease. But if so, should we not make an appointment with the Great Physician? Should we not labor to restore this sign of spiritual vitality: regular worship?

What message is sent to the world when God’s people openly defy him? Why should they consider honoring God when his own people fail to observe one of the most visible expressions of faith? Maybe there is a connection between the church’s observance of the Lord’s Day and the rise or decline of a culture.

At the bottom of it all we must answer this question: Did God make a mistake when he instructed his people to worship one day out of seven, or are we making a mistake when we ignore him?

May the Spirit of God always inspire us to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord,

Brother Richard Foster

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Lord, Teach Us To Pray

Some people have a way with prayer. They are wonderful to hear, but they can also be intimidating. Listeners may get the idea that their own prayers are not worth hearing, or worse, that they need not try praying at all.

Surely Jesus had the most impressive prayer-life of anyone who ever walked the dusty roads of Israel, or of any country. But his prayers were not only impressive, they were inspiring. Once, after he finished praying, one of Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray.

Jesus could have told his disciples that they had no need to learn about prayer. He could have told them that their prayers were good enough. But he did not.

Or, Jesus might have told his disciples that they were not able to get any better at prayer. He could have said that his level of prayer was beyond them and so it would be futile for them to aspire to praying like him. But he did not.

Jesus apparently believed that his disciples could get better at prayer and so he gave them instruction. His disciples were ready and willing to learn from their Lord about how to improve their prayer. As a result, they learned from the Master about how to talk to God.

We, too, can get better at praying. Like Jesus’ first disciples, we can be inspired by the prayers of our Lord. His prayers create a desire within us to improve our ability at communicating openly and effectively with God.

Learning to pray better is something we can and should do together. Jesus’ disciple did not say, “Teach me to pray.” He said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus’ disciple apparently understood the importance of learning about prayer with his fellow disciples.

True, Jesus prayed alone and he taught his followers to have a private place of prayer, a prayer closet. But Jesus also prayed with his followers, where they could hear his prayers. And he taught them as a group how to speak with God through prayer.

Prayer is fundamental to our spiritual life. Prayer is our lifeline to the Lord. As we learn from our Savior how to get better at talking to God, we will grow stronger spiritually both as individual followers of Jesus and as a church family.

Pray often on your own, pouring out your heart to the Lord. Participate regularly in a local church family, learning how to communicate more effectively with the Lord. Attend prayer meetings, praying for others as they pray for you. And watch for opportunities to pray for anyone in need whom the Lord places in your path.

Lord, teach us to pray.

Brother Richard

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The Party of the Cosmos

Jesus did not die only to save us from our sins.  He also died to unite God’s people, removing the barriers that separate us from one another (Ephesians 2:14-18).  To be reconciled to God is to be reconciled to God’s people.  Jesus’ death has given us a new and living way into the holy Presence of God and a new and vital relationship with one another.

The Christian life is one of serving and worshiping God together with other believers.  Once saved, we are fellow citizens in God’s Kingdom, so we share a common loyalty and a common mission.  We are fellow members of God’s family, so we share our individual lives.  And we are living parts of God’s Temple, so we share the indwelling Presence of God’s Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Followers of Jesus are like the various parts of a person’s physical body.  The parts are many but the body is one.  The individual parts do not all have the same function.  Each part contributes in a unique way to the health of the body.  Each part needs the body and the body needs every part (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31).

Each follower of Jesus is called and equipped by God to serve the Body of Christ and to be served by the Body of Christ.  Believers are equipped with spiritual gifts, abilities given by God’s Spirit like teaching, leading, or showing mercy.  No single believer has every spiritual gift, which means that every believer is dependent on other believers in order to live a healthy spiritual life.

Many of you know your spiritual gifts.  You know what God has called and equipped you to do in order to serve him in the local church.  Others of you are still seeking.  Please pray and search the Scriptures, especially Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4.  God has given you the ability to do something that will honor him, strengthen the church, and bless you.

In addition to a kingdom, a family, a temple, and a body, the church in the New Testament is also pictured as a bride.  All believers collectively are the radiant Bride of Christ, for whom the Lord is preparing a great feast: the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-8).  Our Lord Jesus is working toward the day when he will present his Bride, the Church, to himself without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-30).

My prayer for each of you is that you will take your place in God’s Kingdom, Family, Temple, and Body, and labor for the day when we will celebrate together with our Lord at the wedding supper of the Lamb.

May the Lord knit us together with the love of Christ and the power of His Spirit,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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