Summary: Acting the part of St. Paul I spoke frankly to the church that I had a hand in planting twenty years ago
A Critical Age - Numbers 11-4-25 the Message Bible
It is strange for me today to be a guest speaker in what is my home church. I can’t help but think of St. Paul who planted churches and then when he had opportunity or God’s calling he would visit them to look in on their progress.
Here are some of the things St. Paul saw:
In Rome Paul talked of the power of the cross of Christ vs. secular/pagan society.
In Corinth – He put down division, murmuring, backsliding.
On his second trip to Corinth he reviewed the credentials of the Pastor(s)
To the Galatians Paul dispelled error in doctrine.
To the church in Ephesus Paul communicated how we the church are the body of Christ.
In Philippi Paul told them to 2:12 work out your salvation with fear and trembling
To the Colossians Paul taught that there is no other secret knowledge only Christ.
In Thessalonica Paul warned of the last days; its signs & to be ready & encouraged
To Timothy and Titus – Paul instructed them how to organize church leadership.
If you were counting there were seven churches that Paul visited and instructed. I have only planted one church in my lifetime so far and that is this church. I did not do it by myself but some of you here also had a hand in it.
We did this not for our own sake but to honor God and provide a place where people could worship freely and independently. We are not tied to a national denomination or association. We are an independent Bible believing church and if we are tied to any thing it is the cross of Christ.
But as I play the role of St. Paul today and look in on you do you wonder what I see and hear from this twenty year old?
I hear a few voices of the Corinthians in your midst. There are some complaining about this thing or that thing and some complaining about this person or that person. Even though I am often at my charge at New St. Andrews church I can still hear you here. Not only do I hear you but I can feel your discontent and for that I offer you Jesus. If you spent more time with your Savior and less time looking for reasons to complain you would find your joy in the Lord returning to you. If the roles were reversed you would give me the same advice.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. 14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
That is not all that I am aware of there are some from Ephesus here. I see a church that is precious and dear to the heart of God forgetting that you are members of one body and that Christ is the head. If we decapitate the church the body will die. Let us put Jesus back on the throne of our hearts as the head of this church and in doing so the body will be whole again.
Taking a second look I see some Corinthians who would challenge the Pastors credentials. You do not like what he preaches or how he preaches and you think someone else might do a better job. Sorry but the Pastor is only the messenger set apart by God to bring you the good news. Your choice is simple open your heart to the message and stop criticizing with you mouths.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
My friends, Leadership in the church is a shared responsibility that is why we have a Deacons Board and a Property Board and a Finance Committee and a Sunday school superintendent. Stop laying it all on the Pastor or his wife. Lead in the ministry that you have undertaken and serve as if to the Lord.
My brothers and sisters in Christ we like the children of Israel are on a journey to the Promised Land. It may be that we are only twenty years along our way across this wilderness we call earth.