Experiencing Loneliness As the Lord’s Church

Experiencing Loneliness As the Lord’s Church                    July 23, 2023

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6)

Why did the apostle Paul write these words to the church at Ephesus?  What was he concerned about?  They had a great eldership that loved him, prayed with him and wept out loud, embracing him and repeatedly kissed him when they heard they would see him no more (Acts 20:36-38).  So what’s the trouble?

In  Acts 20:28-32 Paul reveals his concern for the elders and the church in Ephesus.  Once he had departed from them savage wolves (false teachers) would come in among them (become a member of the church in sheep’s clothing) and would not spare the flock and even from among the eldership men would arise and speak perverse things in order to draw away members and get them to follow their new teachings.

How is this a problem?  Well, in the text quoted above, Paul would say that the unity of the Spirit would not be preserved (protected, kept) as God intended it to be if one taught something in addition to it or in fact contrary to it.  In Christendom today, how many teachings are there being taught that state that that they are of the Spirit?  Paul makes it quite clear that there is one God (no debate about that), one Christ (no argument over that), one Spirit (no problem there) and there is one body (big issue here).

The question that many in the church have asked over the years is, “Are there Christians existing today that are not members of the church of Christ?”  What likely initiated this question is that they know of some very good-living, moral people of faith and conviction that, in some ways, are more spiritual minded than they are and thus they have trouble believing that such folk will not be in heaven.  Thus they conclude that they must be a part of the church.

Do good people go to heaven because of their goodness?  If they do then Jesus died for nothing.  People go to heaven because God is good and merciful and calls them, through His gospel (II Thessalonians 2:14), to obey it (II Thessalonians 1:8) in order to have the hope of heaven. 

Honestly, it doesn’t matter who we think is a member of the church because it’s not our church to decide but Christ’s.  He decides and His words reveal who is and who isn’t a member of it, right?  He died to establish His church.  Since He is the head of the church what gives any of us the right to say who is a member of it unless it is with His consent (word)? 

Church identity.  At times it can be lonely being the Lord’s church amidst many who claim to be so but aren’t scripturally.  But we need to remember that there is only one body, the Lord’s church.  Are you a part of it?  If so, can you support your claim to be so with His authority?

Brian Thompson

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