We need each other. We really do. And what a blessing if God has given you the opportunity to gather together with believers on a regular basis. That is a privilege that many people in the world do not know. And one that I do not ever want to take for granted. Yes, we need each other and we need the local church, not just for ourselves but for a much bigger purpose.
Is your church perfect? Yeah, mine's not either. I'm married to the pastor and although I can extol his good qualities all day long, I can also with great confidence let you know that he is not perfect.
Are the people who show up to your church week after week perfect? Yeah, I didn't think so. But then again, are you perfect? I'm certainly not. Not even close.
God allows us to rub shoulders with imperfect people who are trying to live their lives just as we are, by the grace of the God who is the author of their salvation. They fail, they hurt us, they love us, they support us. It's messy and it's beautiful.
And even more amazingly, God brings people into our church and into our lives that He is drawing to Himself. He uses us to help show them His Gospel. He uses you. And me. To point a dying world to the cross of Christ. A place where they can finally lay down their burdens and walk in His righteousness. So that they can become imperfect, redeemed people for us to do life with as well.
Don't believe the lie.
Some of you can't quite understand that God does indeed use you. You have believed the lie of the enemy that you are not good enough, holy enough, smart enough, old enough, young enough… on and on it goes. And you know what, you are right. If you are only looking to your own goodness, holiness or intelligence.
In Psalm 68:15-16, the psalmist writes an interesting little diddy.
“O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan; O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
Why do you look with hatred, O man-peaked mountain, at the mount that God desired for his abode, yes, where the Lord will dwell forever?”
See, Bashan was a tall and majestic mountain and the logical place for the Ark of the Covenant, and therefore the very presence of God, to reside. However, God chose Mount Zion as his home, a much smaller and seemingly insignificant peak.
Charles Spurgeon in The Treasury of David said this about these verses. “Zion certainly was not a high hill comparatively; and it is here conceded that Bashan is a greater mount, but not so glorious, for the Lord in choosing Zion had exalted it above the loftier hills. The loftiness of nature is made as nothing before the Lord. He chooses as pleases him, and, according to the counsel of his own will, he selects Zion, and passes by the proud, uplifted peaks of Bashan; thus doth he make the base things of this world, and things that are despised, to become monuments of his grace and sovereignty.”
He loves you because He loves you.
God chose the smaller mount simply because it pleased Him. And if you are trusting in the work of Christ on the cross, you have also been chosen… because it pleases Him.
And that brings us back to my original point. You are not worthy of his grace. I am not good enough. And yet, we have exchanged our sin for Christ's righteousness and will inherit the very kingdom of Heaven. And he uses you, me and the local church for the advancement of his kingdom.
That is scandalous.
And it is something we must remember as we gather with those messy people we are doing life with week after week. He chose them as well.
So, do we really need the local church? Is it important to have accountability in our winding walk of sanctification? Is it good to serve others as an example to a self-serving world? Do we need the reminder of the grace we have been given as we are forced to have grace for one another?
You know my answer. Next Sunday, let's go to church.