It’s probably true to say that most people who know anything about Jesus truly admire Him.
He showed such compassion for the downtrodden. He sacrificed Himself for others—including those who crucified Him.
No wonder so many find Him appealing!
And yet . . . .
These positive feelings often don’t transfer to the church. Why not?
“Church members don’t practice what they preach.”
“They think they’re better than others.”
“They’re intolerant of those who don’t believe as they do.”
“They can’t even get along with each other.”
“When I tried going to church I did not feel welcome.”
Guilty as charged?
Sad to say, many of these charges are true. Christians are often poor advertisements for Christ.
But let’s see if we can put things into perspective.
If we are to see the church accurately, we must view it through the eyes of its Founder.
In the New Testament Christ reveals His will for His church.
We read of congregations that greatly pleased Christ (like the Philippians), but also those He was extremely upset with (such as the Galatians).
Even the best churches had their faults. The letters of Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude and the book of Hebrews show what was right with the church and what was wrong.
Where churches fall short, repentance is called for (Revelation 2-3).
The same is true today
Only Jesus is perfect.
The plan He left for His church is perfect (1 Timothy 3:15).
Those who profess to belong to Him are often far from perfect—including me.
Jesus warns that on Judgment Day He will say to many who call Him Lord, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Jesus does not accept all who claim Him: “The Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19).
He is the only Head of only one body, His church (1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:16; 4:4).
What Christ establishes, Satan counterfeits.
But Jesus embraces His true disciples who humbly and penitently admit their failures and who make a sincere effort to grow into His likeness.
Jesus never gives up on His church.
Nor should we.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/
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