There are several places throughout the Bible where the churches of an area are praised for certain behaviors. Perhaps the most concentrated area where this happens is in the Book of Revelation where John is told to write letters to seven churches. In these letters, there is praise for persevering in their faith, love, service, and deeds. There is also admonition for areas where they fall short. As a pastor, I tend to take note when I see the Scriptures referring to places where churches are strong and where they are weak, and I would hope that all church members would do the same. It should be on all of our hearts to be members of a church that would be praised.
There is another place where a church is singled out. In Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, Paul singles them out by saying “in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only”. (Phil 4:15). Perhaps the greatest church planter in the history of the church, Paul needed partners who would come alongside him to help fulfill the Great Commission, the command from Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations. In those early days of growing the church, Paul found only one willing partner from among the churches that he had planted. Of those gifts, Paul wrote “They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.”
As I mentioned, in my daily quest to live my life in accordance with God’s Word, I want to belong to a church that would be praised by Christ and the apostles. Therefore, it is imperative that the local church always seek to be linked to the global church by sharing resources that will be used to help make disciples among all the nations. In every corner of the world, people need to hear the gospel message, be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and be taught to obey all that Christ has commanded. It is the job of every Christian individually, and every local church collectively, to see that this Great Commission is fulfilled.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, check your own checkbooks and calendars to see how you are using the resources that God has blessed you with personally. Then take a careful look at how your church is using its resources. Based on what you see, will you be amongst those who would be praised by Christ and the Apostles? Or would you be admonished?
Seek to be among those who would be praised!
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron