The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox, C4FIC Board member.
“I write so that you may know how to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
J. Wilbur Chapman used to tell the story of a man who stood up in one of his revival meetings and said, “I got off at the Pennsylvania depot as a tramp, and for a year I begged on the streets for a living. One day I touched a man on the shoulder and said, ‘Hey mister, can you give me a dime?’ As soon as I saw his face I was shocked to see that it was my own father. I said, ‘Father, Father, do you know me?’ Throwing his arms around me and with tears in his eyes, he said, ‘Oh my son, at last I’ve found you! I’ve found you. You want a dime? Everything I have is yours.’ Think of it. I was a tramp. I stood begging my own father for ten cents, when for 18 years he had been looking for me to give me all that he had.”
Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus that they would be “filled with all the fullness of God.” May I suggest to you today that the fullness of God can only be experienced in the context of the body of Christ? The fullness of God is in Christ, and the church is Christ’s body. So if you are unsatisfied with your experience of who God is, it may be because you are not walking with other believers in a healthy, biblical church. Or, maybe one of the following scenarios describes your current position better.
It may be because you are sitting on the side of the pool with just your toes in the water. It may even be that you are sitting on the back of the wagon, if you will allow me that old-time picture, looking back and even complaining about times gone by. Not only that, you may be dragging your feet as the wagon moves along, impeding the progress of the wagon. It is sad that though the gates of hell can not stand against the church, disobedient believers sure can! Paul didn’t have to write any letters to churches that were having problems overcoming hell. He wrote letters to churches that were being defeated and distressed by people in bondage to sin, people in bondage to false teaching, people in bondage to a life committed to self-fulfillment.
If you are not experiencing the fullness of God in the body of Christ, then may I suggest you do one of two things as soon as you can. First, if you identify with the pool analogy, the fix is simple. Take the plunge! But before you do that, repent. Ask the Lord to forgive you for wasting time on the side of the pool. Also, renew your mind. You are not sitting on the side of the pool for no reason at all. Ask the Lord to show you what scared you out of the water, and I know very well that the church can be a difficult place with lots of problems. Believe me, I know. Not just from experience with people who have problems but from experience with my own problems and sins and shortcomings!
If you are not experiencing the fullness of God because you are sitting on the back of the wagon, dragging your feet, then do two things quickly. First, repent! Then, get off the tailgate of the wagon and climb in facing the right direction. You will be amazed at the new perspective. You will be welcomed by the other passengers. You will be blessed with the fullness of God in His church.
Prayer: “Lord, help me to give of myself to Your work and to serve our local church through the stewardship of my tithes and talents.”
Action: Be faithful to the fellowship of believers through attendance, service, giving, and prayer. Ask the pastor if there are ways your family could serve the church.