Paul’s letter to the Corinthians shows us the messy and dysfunctional reality of the Church. When sinful people get together there are going to be issues but this letter also shows us that in the midst of all of the mess, there is still beauty. The issues don’t define the Church, the truth does. God desires for His Church to be a place where imperfect people can come and see the perfect Truth. Paul calls the Church, “a pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). So, in a world full of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, people can depend on the Church to bring the Truth. The way we do that is by sticking to the Word that God has given us. Jesus said in John 17:17, “Your Word is Truth.” As long as the Church is preaching the Word, the truth will be made known and people will be set free. Yes, there may be problems, but by walking in the Word, people will be set on a path to life change and holiness. Sadly, there are many churches that have neglected the Word. In doing this, they have not only led people astray but they have also abused the name of Jesus and completely misrepresented who God is and what His will is. To be the church God has called us to be we must continue to uphold the Truth that He has entrusted to us, with our words and with our lives.
We have a sad example of what happens when churches stray from the Truth in some of the most recent events in our country over the past few months. There are people claiming to know Christ and churches claiming to know the Truth that have used the name of Jesus and the position of the church in order to promote racism and spew hatred of people of different color, race, and nationality. Acting out this way, however, shows no knowledge of the Scripture or the Truth at all. From the start, Scripture reveals to us that God has designed and created all mankind in His image. Inherently each person has value and demands our love and respect as God’s creation, fearfully and wonderfully made. Not only is this true, but also in Christ, “whosoever” will may come. The promise of Revelation 7 defines the “whosoever” as people of all tribes, nations, tongues, and people. All of those red, yellow, black, or white will rejoice at the throne of Jesus and yet those who carry out hatred towards others will not. As believers, we are called out to set the standard and example in this. We show what it looks like to love others even when it doesn’t make sense because of the immense love that we have been shown in the Gospel. We lay down our prejudices and preferences and look past stereotypes to people that desperately need the Truth of Jesus Christ (just like us).
Another mark of the Church is love. Jesus said that this is how the world will be able to identify us. This isn’t a self-love or a love reserved for one nation or skin of people but one that is imitative of the Father, sacrificial, looking out for the interests of others, and considering them as more important (Eph. 5:1, Phil. 2:1-7). The only supremacy associated with Christianity is that of Jesus Christ’s. This One, who is over all things, has given us the task of representing Himself in our homes, community, nation, and world. As He displayed grace and truth to those He interacted with, His Church is called to do the same during our time on this earth. We work towards His will of the whole world receiving the good news before His return. We do that by continuing to be “the pillar and support” of His Truth so that as David proclaimed, “[His] way may be known on the earth, [His] salvation among all nations” (Ps. 67:2). We also do that by stopping any form of racism in its tracks. We cannot be associated with any part of the lie that certain people or groups are less human based on where they were born or what they look like. Where others look down, mock, or avoid we stand up that the Truth would be displayed.
Lifting High The Truth of Jesus, Pastor Rudy