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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT CHURCH

Most church-going believers do this from to time; 'church dating' or 'church hopping', looking for a group that is just right for them. Some judge the church by the friendliness of the people who attend, good Bible studies, activities and classes for their children, or a fun group of seniors to be with. Some are very attentive to the type of music played, how often communion is served or, as in my case, good teaching of Biblical principles, doctrine and theology. I can be a little forgiving if I sense a strong love for Jesus and His Word. Priests, ministers and pastors are first and foremost human beings who are not perfect people, but whom God has chosen to lead. 

You need to see yourself as a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God. The first requirement to becoming a Christian is to understand that you are a sinner. This is a big stretch for a lot of us who think of ourselves as 'good' people. In our minds, we've pretty much kept the Ten Commandments, or at least tried to. Of course we ultimately have to admit that we're not 'perfect'.

Now this presents a big problem as only those who are perfect will be in heaven and have eternal life. We have a perfect God who has a perfect plan for His children and has created a perfect place for us to spend eternity. Heaven can be nothing but perfectly 'perfect'. He gave us the Ten Commandments (called the law) to show us that we need a Savior.

" So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the law."  Ephesians 3:24 -25

We can't generate our own faith, Ephesians 2:8 tells us that faith is a gift. We can't work for it or earn it by our good behavior. Hebrews 12:2 offers a further explanation of faith - Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. Some translations read, "initiator and finisher" - He starts and completes the faith we've been given. 

If you take a look at a passage in I Corinthians 12, you'll discover that "the church'' is literally the body of believers. The Old Testament refers to the Temple and Synagogues as actual buildings for worship, but the New Testament church isn't a physical place, building or organization - it is simply the believers!

I often hear people say they attend a particular church because they feel the Holy Spirit. I think this is a good thing about corporate worship, believers coming together as one to sing praises to the Lord and worship Him as a unit. In reality, if you have been 'born again' - John 3: 3 - 8, God's Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit, lives in you. Once the Lord has revealed Himself to you and His Spirit is in you, you don't need to look for it anyplace else, not in a particular church, or 'holy place'; it's part of you and can't be separated from you. 

So, why do we feel so alive in Christ at times and so blah...empty, fearful, angry and alone at other times?  The truth is that even though God's Spirit is with us, we can't always feel it.  John 3:8 explains -

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." Jesus said this.

Spiritual truth isn't like other 'truth'. I know that 8 x 10 = 80; I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I am the mother of five children, these facts will always be true. But one day I know that "in all things God works for good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose", Romans 8:28  Then a few days later I've forgotten this truth as I'm attacked (Satan is always involved with these events), and feel the need to defend my actions, or I might be sick, in physical pain and want to cry out - "Unfair!!" I am not able to feel the Holy Spirit in me and God's hand in mine. I'm not able to remember the spiritual truth that God is always working for my good - no matter how I perceive it at the moment and how miserable I am. 

God has a reason for this; learn to trust Him. If we were always 'high' on the Holy Spirit we might forget to come to the Lord for "our daily bread". We're like that you know - when life is good we feel powerful and not in need of our Creator. God wants us to have a relationship with Him; this is why He's given us His Spirit.

Almost daily, I experience little miracles, so do most believers. Sometimes we can't comprehend all that is taking place in the midst of these small miracles but that doesn't mean they are not happening. We need to look at our life through the lens of faith. At times, we experience a huge miracle and we say "Oh wow!" That is the Lord allowing you to feel His presence.

Trust that the Lord will guide you to the church of His choosing and you'll be satisfied there. You may be at a certain church for a very specific reason that you may never know, but God knows. If you hear the gospel being distorted and a liberal 'philosophy' woven into your pastor's messages, it's probably time to leave with good cause. By all means, tell the pastor, elder board, whoever seems appropriate, why you are leaving. 

Above all, give thanks in all circumstances, I Thessalonians 5:18. Know that if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit resides in you and you, as part of the body of believers, are the church. 

Thank you Lord for giving us direction when we ask for it. Help us to be patient in our search for perfection and to know that eternal life with you in heaven is utter perfection!