The Joy of Church

This really is kind of a plea, please, please really hear me out. In this world, that is just so temporary, so phoney, so wrong, so lacking in hope, in promise, please consider a genuine alternative, the church. I think we’ve all see more than enough to show us that there is nothing that the world can offer that gives us any long term promise. Clearly the church of Jesus Christ does, everything around us fails, disappear, just let’s us down. The Christian church, for 2,000 years, has been the only hope and promise for eternity. I know, we all have to function in the world, we do, I worked in corporate America for 20 years and I served in the military reserve for 29 years. I’m not asking you to be a monk, I am telling you what you are painfully aware off, none of these things last, Jesus told us “I’m am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” Coming to the Father means eternal life. Jesus was crucified, rose  from the dead, ascended into heaven and promised that for those saved in Him, they would be resurrected to life eternal. This is true life, the life that God had intended for us until we messed it up with our sin.

Being in Jesus means being part of His church, the one He said He’d build on the rock of His disciples, the church that is His Body. To be in communion with Jesus who is our only promise, our only hope, means being in communion with His Body, His church.

So I submit the following, this is from Matthew Harrison, Dr Harrison is the President of the Lutheran Church and I wanted to share his thoughts on the Christian church. Being a part of the church, serving each other, being served, living life in Jesus and eternal life in Him. If you would like to see the blog site which includes this and other similar posts check out  lcms.org/president :

The Bible teems with joyous, paradoxical truths. God is three in one. God is man. God dies on a cross. The God who visits His vengeance upon trespassers has mercy only on sinners. We die to live. We live to die. The sinner is righteous .The weak are strong. Saints are sinners. Sinners are saints. Afflictions are blessings. The word of man is the Word of God. The poor are rich, and the rich are poor. The first are last, the last first. Law and Gospel. It is a hallmark of Lutheranism that it does not, as a matter or principle, try to resolve these paradoxes. Is it bread, or is it body? The texts simply state that it is both. If salvation is God’s act alone, and faith is a result also of an eternal election to salvation (Ephesians 1), and god wants all to be saved, then why are not all saved? Must not God then have determined to condemn some from all eternity? No. The Bible says, “God wants all to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4). Lutheranism lets the paradox stand. . . .

The maladies in the life of the twenty-first century church, and in the Church in every age for that matter, are the result of missing “the narrow way” (Matthew 7:13–14). It is for me a paradox itself, that the “high” road of orthodoxy—right teaching and right praise—is freeing! For ortho-dox-y is both right doc-trine and right dox-ology (or praise). It also leaves plenty of space for us to rejoice in God-pleasing differences of gifts, emphases, practices, and even personalities.

The Church is a paradox. She is the Bride of Christ, “spotless,” “holy,” “washed” (Ephesians 5:25–27), the “[pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:1ff). And yet she only appears in this world hidden under the guise of poor sinners, flawed leaders tensions, divisions, and even false teaching. This is at once both disturbing and comforting. It is disturbing because we find ourselves in such “spotted” congregations, denominations, and Christendom. It is comforting because—despite its outward appearance, despite the fact that there have been times in the history of the church when the pure teaching of the Gospel all but disappeared from the public confession of the Church and its practice—nevertheless, the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The Church endures because Christ endures, and he will never let his Gospel go un-believed, until the end of time. That’s worth rejoicing over, especially in the times in which we live. And there is also comfort in knowing that because the Church exists well beyond the genuine Lutheran Church, we will also find truth spoken by others. And when we do, we are free to heartily and gladly acknowledge it as such. . . .

The secret of living a good news life in a bad news world is knowing that despite our manifold weaknesses and sins, precisely of Christians and the Church, Christ remains wherever, so far and so long as, Christ and his Word are heard and to the extent that true Baptism and the Lord’s Supper remain. That is the expansive joy of generous, faithful Lutheranism. Thus genuine Lutheranism is simply genuine Christianity. And Christianity, with all its manifold weaknesses and sins, is far broader than genuine Lutheranism. . . .

That’s the joy of a generous, faithful Lutheranism – generous in recognizing the Church wherever the Gospel is, and faithful in recognizing its sacred duty to be faithful to the truth of God’s Word. It may be a paradox, but it’s a joyful paradox, nonetheless.”

Yea the church is important for the individual person, for those who come together to support each other and to be supported. It’s important to come together to support those around us, many rely on the church in times of trial, inside and out, of the church and when we come together to support each other and others, we truly serve God who serves us and gives us the promise of true hope in our earthly life and our life eternal in the resurrection of our bodies and the real world.

As Adriane Heins points out in the same issue: “You are a part of something greater than yourself – the true Church. You are loved in christ, and you are not alone.” (The Lutheran Witness August 2015 pp 2, 3)

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