We need to remember that we are ALL subject to failings of one kind or another.
We are to BEAR WITH – not MAGNIFY – each other’s infirmities. Galatians 6:2. Bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.
We need to pray for one another in our social meetings, and particularly in private. James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Always turn a deaf ear to any slanderous report and lay no charge against a person until well founded.
Do not go from house to house, for the purpose of bearing news and interfering with another person’s business. 1 Timothy 5:13 speaking of younger widows, “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.”
If a member be in fault, tell him of it in private, before it is mentioned to others. Matthew 18:15ff Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
Observe the just rules of Solomon – to leave off contention before it is meddled with. Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore, stop contention before a quarrel starts.
If a member has offended and sin, consider how God like it is to forgive, and how unlike a Christian it is to seek revenge. Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will recompense, says the Lord.”
Remember that one of the tools of the devil is to promote distance and animosities among members of the church; and we should watch against anything that furthers this end.
Consider how much more good we can do in the world at large, and in the church in particular, when we are all united in love, than we ever could by acting alone, or indulging a contrary spirit.
Finally, consider the example of Jesus as to these things. Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” 1 Peter 2:21-22 “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps, who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth.”
SEVEN THINGS A CHURCH OUGHT TO BE!
It seems a popular thing to criticize the church that Jesus purchased with his own blood. The critics maintain that the church in its institutional form is no longer needed. Many today say that the church is irrelevant to today’s society and can say nothing that would add to the discussions of the world.
Yet God would beg to differ with these assessments! As God planned it – it should be the light to the world and the salt of the earth. It should preach Christ and show that through Christ we have hope! What does the Bible say a church ought to be?
THE CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE FOR THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD! Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22. When the church comes together to celebrate Jesus’ life, God should be manifest in it!
A BODY FOR THE PHYSICAL EXPRESSION OF CHRIST HERE ON EARTH! Jesus is the head of HIS church (Colossians 1:18) and we are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). The body of Christ – Christians – should express his wishes on earth.
AN ASSEMBLY FOR FELLOWSHIP AND WORSHIP. Fellowship is “personal, intimate, two-sided sharing.” Worship is ascribing to God His due worth.
A SCHOOL FOR TRAINING. Training would include teaching Christians how to teach others to become a Christian (Ephesians 3:10 and Matthew 28:19-20) and training Christians in how to live the Christian life.
A HOSPITAL FOR THE WOUNDED. In any battle the wounded came home as heroes. In church we are prone to kick them out. What we need are spiritual doctors and nurses who can administer first-aid or perform major surgery if necessary.
A DELIVERANCE CENTER FOR CAPTIVES. Our business is to start throwing out the devil, not church members. Folks who are overcome in doubt, fears, and anxieties should find assurance at church.
A HOME FOR CHILDREN. The church is “the household of God” (1 Timothy 3:15). Therefore, you are free . . .. free to express your problems, joys etc. without being judged or criticized. We would all be angels if the back-biters wouldn’t eat our wings off. It’s in the church that can say, Abba, Father.”
“The church at first had no building, no separated clergy, no set ritual, no bishops (of the variety we have today), no pope, yet it succeeded in giving them a new sense of life’s meaning and superb courage in the face of sorrow. It is our tragedy that we are living in a day when much of this primal force is spent. Our temper is so different that we scarcely understand what the New Testament writers are saying. Once the church was a brave and revolutionary fellowship, changing the course of history by introduction of discordant ideas, today it is a place where people go and sit on comfortable benches, waiting patiently until time to go home to their Sunday dinners.”