Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Is Everyone Welcome?

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Ray 2018At a Bible Study – not too long ago – the discussion on a Psalm went to community and small group connections. We talked about how important our connections as sisters and brothers in faith really are to our spiritual walk. Body ministry is very significant and not to be taken lightly. The church is a place for folks to connect and support one another. We should rejoice with those who rejoice and suffer with those who suffer.

Have you ever heard the phrase – the church is a hospital for sinners? In that statement – the church is trying to say that we are more than a building. The church is the people of God gathered – and we are a safe place for sinners. Why – because the Lord we serve offers forgiveness for sin and we ARE all sinners. I love the old bumper sticker I saw many years ago – it read: Not Perfect Just Forgiven.

Jesus told His disciples He came to live and die – to offer forgiveness to all who sought it. Luke 24:45-48 – 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

Unfortunately – many churches – and the church in general – according to some unchurched people – has failed to be a safe place for sinners to come and find Jesus and forgiveness. Many in the church are willing to let sinners come in (how big of them) – but they quickly become judgmental. I have heard church people proclaim that God delivered them from a certain sin – only to turn around and condemn another person who hasn’t yet gotten that particular deliverance. Shameful!

I recently had a young person – raised in the church – confide in me a sinful choice in their life and they wondered aloud to me – if our church was one that would judge them or love them. I said we would love them – in Christ – and together we would work on being sanctified by the grace of God. But I’m not sure I spoke for everyone at our church or for the church in general.

Recently I read this phrase – which is counter to the phrase we read to start today’s devotional thought. The church has become a place for saints instead of a hospital for the wounded (read sinner). Have you felt this way? If the unchurched feel this way – do we really think we stand a chance to draw them to Jesus? If we present ourselves as a place for the saints rather than a place for sinners – we have little hope to draw folks to the forgiveness of Christ.

When a church member/leader/pastor’s sin becomes public – watch out. If the unchurched think church people can be judgmental of their sin – watch how the church treats their own. I was reading on the internet that the church – the army of Christ – is the only army that shoots its own wounded.

Let’s read today’s passage in some context. Paul was writing about the gifting of the church – about how God has intended every part of the church to support and uplift the other parts. 1 Corinthians 12:21-27 – 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Whether we’re talking about differing gifts and callings – or different spiritual maturity or even the variety of failings among the Body of Christ – If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

The church is made up of sinners. Some are forgiven and yet still fail from time to time. Others seek the forgiveness that some have experienced but are often made to feel like they aren’t worthy of it. Here’s a key point to make – none of us are worthy folks – but God’s grace is there for us all!

OK church – are we open to all people? Are we judgmental? Are we willing to offer the love of Christ to all people? Do we welcome all? The slogan that most have picked four our new sign was – All Are Welcome. Is everyone welcome at our church? Is the Body a connected group of sinners seeking after God and God’s grace?

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

September 14, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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