Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Call Forward for Salem

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6a

Every Pastor and Counselor knows that every story has two sides. “The first to plead his case seems right till someone comes to examine him” (Pr. 18:17). During this trial at Salem Baptist, charges were laid against the pastor on Sunday night.

As Southern Baptists, we take pride in believing we follow the Bible, and claiming its total authority for life. But we do not practice what we preach. We know that God is completely sovereign, and that the Lord brought pastor Joe here, and has brought me here to serve alongside him as a co-pastor. With charges being laid, they need to be examined and answered with truth.

We need to be careful in laying charges against God’s anointed. Korah did so, and was enraged at Moses for “making himself more holy” than the rest of the Jews (Num. 16:1-2). Korah, in his arrogance claimed to be as holy as Moses (v. 3ff). God threatened to wipe out all the Jews and begin again with Moses (v. 21), but afte Moses and Aaron interceded for the people, God had mercy and only destroyed Korah, Dathan and Abiram (vv. 31-33)

We need to be careful we do not find ourselves fighting against the Lord Christ. So as a body of believers, we need to seek peace (reconciliation) with one another (Rom. 14:19), and make sure we are following the Lord Jesus’ will for Salem Baptist (Matt. 5:16; Rom 8:29-30; Phil. 3:7-11).

The purpose for the existence of the Church is not to do ministry the way we think it should be done, or for our desires, or according to the latest church growth paradigm, but for the glorification of Christ, and the upbuilding of the body of Christ, into conformity with Him who is its head (Rom. 8:28-30; 1 Cor 14:12).

It should serve as no surprise to us that demonic forces should try to divide the church in these last days we are living in (1 Ptr. 4:12-13, 5:8-9). He already knows the time for his emergence is near, and his time is short (Rev. 12:12).

So in these times of trial, what should our perspective be? We should be seeing and understanding this trial as an opportunity to know Christ better, and to let his light shine through us. It is during the hard times that the light of Christ shines the most brightly.

Monday morning, the LORD spoke to me as I was in his word. I was just praying and meditating on (actively thinking about) the situation. The Lord impressed upon me 1 Cor. 13:4-8, and you know, as the chapter starts out, Paul says, “If I speak the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing… if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

So that is the first mark of Christian character we should display is agape (God’s unconditional love). And agape never fails (v. 8).

Another passage comes to mind, Colossians 3:1-4, “So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

Thank God that the mediation team is in place, and let us pray daily for them that God will give them understanding and wisdom, and that the purposes of God will prevail in this situation.

2 Corinthians 12:19 19 All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved.

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