The church was organized for service. The church is not a hospital for sinners (I know that goes against tradition).
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
The purpose of our existence and the use of our talents and abilities becomes clear when we view our lives through the prism of our calling. Our lights are to shine to help show the way to salvation for others.
To accept that we are gathered into the church to accomplish a mission gives us purpose, priorities and passion. The great gospel commission given by Christ becomes our marching orders.
The church a hospital?
On the other hand, to believe that the church is a hospital for sinners gives us cover for our inadequacies and defects of character. It serves as a defense against those who question the walk of those who claim the title Christian.
Yes, it is true that we are all at different stages of spiritual maturity. Paul said there were some in the church who could only handle spiritual milk. But even in that instance it was not an acceptable position to be in.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Hebrews 5:12
Why would anyone want to join a group of people who believe they are all sick? Who goes to a hospital for healing and never plans to leave and go home? When will Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” become our text for victory over sin? When will John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” be our present expectation and not just a distant hope?
Jesus is the Great Physician and He heals all of our infirmities. But He has called us into this body to serve and to be victorious.
This week as we study some of the metaphors Paul used to describe the church, we get a clear picture that the church is equipped to triumph. In meticulous fashion Paul illustrates the strength of the church. He describes how the diversity of the church is tied to its success.
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” 1 Corinthians 4:12
As Paul points out, each member is integral to the overall completeness of the body. To Paul there were no big “I’s” and little “you’s” – everyone mattered.
“But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.” 1 Corinthians 4:20-22
That’s good news. Regardless if one labors in obscurity or on the world’s brightest stages, we all can contribute to the mission of our church. What matters most is why we do what we do. I love the way my favorite author explains this:
“The Christian who is such in his private life, in the daily surrender of self, in sincerity of purpose and purity of thought, in meekness under provocation, in faith and piety, in fidelity in that which is least, the one who in the home life represents the character of Christ,—such a one may in the sight of God be more precious than even the world-renowned missionary or martyr.” —Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, page 403.
The battle is real. The assignment is clear. The resources are abundant. The victory is guaranteed. The time is now.
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does being victorious mean to you?
- Does God expect us to be victorious today or in the future? Explain your answer.
- What sin does God have the most difficulty in delivering you from?
- Paul wrote “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” What does that mean in practical terms?
- In the parable of the ten talents, one person hid their talent in the earth. Explain what that means in relation our calling as individuals.
- Is it true that if my expectation is to be victorious over sin, with God’s help, that can become my reality? Explain your answer.
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: Sanctification is the work of a lifetime so I should not expect victory over known sins today. Explain your answer.
We close this week’s lesson on Paul and the Rebellion with Paul’s reminder of who we are linked with and what that connection allows us to do.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School.
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