Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Sept. 8, 2009

I had some mail to get into the mailbox this morning, but I didn't notice the substitute mail lady until she drove past the mailbox. I jumped into the truck to chase her down and caught up to her down the road. I handed my mail to her and she smiled and said she'd take care of it. As I was walking a way she hollered out, "The church looks great!" I thanked her for her comments and explained to her how God had so blessed us by His provision of a newly remodeled Sanctuary as a result of the storm repairs.

I thought about what she said on the way back to the church. "The church looks great!" Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for her praise for our building, but how we should yearn for those same words to be applied to "the church." We all remember the little finger game: "Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and see all the people." The church is the people, and God's purpose is not so much about physical buildings, but living temples. How we should yearn for God to say and for people to say "the church looks great!" in reference to us.

God's purpose is for the church to look great: to be "holy and blameless before Him" (Eph. 1:4); to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29); to be presented "complete in Him" (Col. 1:29). The church looking great is central to God's eternal purpose to display the surpassing riches of His grace and His manifold wisdom through the church "in the ages to come" "to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places" (Eph. 2:7 and 3:10).

The church looks great to the extent that it looks like Christ. When it is adorned with His virtues--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control; filled with His sacrificial love (1 John 3:16); and empowered by His grace (2 Cor. 4:7-10). The church looks great when it looks like Christ!

The church can look great only as the Spirit of God applies the Word of God to the hearts of its members. The Spirit of God is the ultimate beautician. He alone can bring beauty from ashes as He patiently works within us to do that which "is exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:19-21). The Word of God is central to His work.

"The church looks great!" Is that what people say when they look at me, at you? It will never be--in the highest sense--if it is only us they see. But when they see Jesus in us--now that is something beautiful! When His abiding presence is clearly evident in our attitudes, actions, and words--then the church truly looks great!

Pastor Jerry

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