Summary: There is some many problems in the church. You can become discouraged. But if you look into the church, you will see more beauty than ever.
THE BEAUTY IN A UGLY CHURCH
TEXT: EPH. 5:26-27
THEME: THERE IS BEAUTY IN AN IMPERFECT CHURCH
Sometimes you can see too much of a church. My friend always warned me of this. In ministry you will see the cuts and the blemishes on the church. You will see too much of the people. This was not the way it always was with me. When I was first converted, the church looked so beautiful. The people always seemed kind and caring. Everyone seemed so perfect. It was a great contrast to the world which I came from. I knew the world was evil, but I never expected the church to have evil elements. The church seemed so perfect. It was a sad day when I truly realized that the church is not always beautiful. In the church there are all kinds of people and ideas. There are sinners, hypocrites, pretender and the indifferent. There are the dedicated, the loyal, the Christ like in the church. There are ideas of tradition and racisms and error. There is love, compassion, and kindness in the church. In the church there are brothers and sisters that have not talked to each other in years. There is personal hate toward one another, instead of love. Sometimes the church seems to be concerned with money instead of souls. The list could go on and on about all the problems in the church. And there are tons of stories that I could tell about times when the church is ugly.
Maybe you get discouraged when you see ugliness in the church. You see people having affairs with one another in the church. You see deacons drinking, gambling, and cheating people in the community. Maybe you get upset when you see elders fighting and commanding over the sheep but not loving the sheep. Maybe you have seen members gossip about each other, hate each other, and divide from one another. You want the church to be perfect. To be a place where people get a long and love one another. You want the church to be a place where people love Jesus and are serious disciples of him. But you see fashion shows, appearances but not commitment. You see people making the church the least on the priority list. All the sin in church can depress someone who has to see it.
The first congregation that I labored with, it was a great congregation, but ugliness was in the church too. About a year or so before I started to labor with the congregation, the pulpit minister was fired. He should have been, he needed to be. Today the minister is in jail, serving a 15 year sentence. What he did brought a ton of shame on the congregation. It was all over the news papers and on T.V. Everyone in the smaller town knew of this congregation now. Not because of its good works, but because of its sinner minister. People shared stories about the congregation. The reason everyone in the town knew of the congregation was because of the minister. He was caught having an affair with a 16 year old girl. The parents of the girl pressed charges against the minister. He was convicted. This action broke up his family, hurt his children, and his wife divorced him. This was truly an ugly situation. But there are thousands of stories about this across the nation. So how can we overcome this disappointment with the church? How can we love the church, even when it is ugly?