Archive for the holiness Category

Friendly Versus Intimate.

Posted in accountability, Christian relationships, holiness on October 22, 2008 by gospel2live

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. James 2:1
The official word is that Chisholm Baptist is a friendly church.  I frequently hear people from the church talking about what a wonderful, friendly place this church is.  There is no doubt that the people I hear this from are sincere and really love this church – as they should!  

However there are other voices that I hear from time to time.  These voices share another message.  These are the voices of people who feel lonely and isolated.  They are voices of people who are never included in the private parties, or invited to dinner.  These are people who are new, or poor, or single, or in some way don’t “fit the mold.”  These voices talk about a Chisholm Baptist Church that seems cliquish and sometimes shallow in our relationships.  

It isn’t that people are necessarily mean or unkind.  It’s just that most of us do not get beyond a smile and light chatter on Sunday morning in the hallway.  Most of us, frankly, like it that way.  Do we really want to know about someone else’s pain or trials?  Do we really want to put up with stories from people who seem “weird” to us?  Are we content to remain blind to any problems that aren’t far away and disconnected from our day to day lives?  

This becomes even more evident as we get closer to issues of sin in people’s lives.  Do we ask each other tough questions to hold one another accountable?  Do we confront people who offend us, or do we hold grudges and talk behind their backs?  Do we ignore sinful patterns of behavior in other people instead of lovingly and humbly encouraging them to repent?  Have we quietly embraced the modern notion of tolerance when we let people continue uninterrupted in their involvement with church activities despite their blatant and unrepentant sinning?  1 John 1:6 says “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”  

While Chisholm Baptist may be a friendly church, it is not always an intimate church.  All of us need to examine our hearts, our attitudes, and our actions to see if we are making efforts to love and serve other people in our midst.  We need to reach out to others in the church who are hurting, lonely, struggling with sin, or just a little different than us to be able to serve them in their walk with Christ.  We must love people enough to correct them in patterns of sin in their lives – not because we have reached a level of perfection and can sit in judgment – but because we need them to be there to do the same for us in turn.  If we fail to cultivate deep and intimate relationships with one another that are centered around Jesus, we will end up as hearers of the Word, but not doers of the Word.

Even if you feel that you are rich in intimate relationships here at church, ask yourself these questions.  When was the last time someone loved me enough to confront me on sin in my life?  When was the last time I felt the need to confront someone else and actually did it?  When was the last time I invited someone over for dinner for the first time?  When was the last time I prayed to ask God to guide me to a person who needed me to serve them?  What is the biggest struggle with sin for each of my three closest friends at CBC?  What am I doing to help them overcome that sin in their lives?  When was the last time I confessed my sin to someone else?  All of us MUST fight against our sinful tendency to be selfish and our desire to be served, and seek, by God’s grace, to become servants to others around us.  Only then will Chisholm Baptist be not just a friendly church, but an intimate one as well.

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