Our current series of sermons is on "The Church." We need to have our minds and hearts refreshed by Scripture concerning what the church is and how it should function. I am privileged to be the Pastor of a church where I see God working in people's lives and they are anxious to hear God's Word preached and taught. I am humbled by this, and thank God that the past 40 years of ministry as a Pastor has been a good journey.
My intention is to put the sermons up on the website, so I do not need to repeat the material here, but maybe give a few highlights. My approach is to take the Scripture at face value, and let the Word speak for itself. In terms of application, that is were we need to be bold and forthcoming regarding how the body should act and respond to the Word of God and to one another. We need to accept one another without 'coddling' or making excuses for bad behavior in the church. The Apostle Paul did not put up with that, nor should we. When the apostle saw something that needed to be addressed, he did not 'dance' around the issue. He faced it squarely and forthrightly. That is what we need in the church today- honest, prayerful self-examination, and correction.
With that said, we find that when people have a proper view of God and His Holiness, that paves the way for right relationships between believers. So, in my preaching, I include teaching on 'knowing God' in the context of the body, the Church. It is my studied opinion that when people have a skewed understanding of God, then that opens the door to all kinds of bad behavior within the context of the Church. For example: when someone is behaving badly, like making a ruckus about church polity or practice, the problem (9x out of 10) is not the specific issue people have with the Church, but with a heart that is not squared with God. Of course there are legitimate issues that need to be addressed and worked through, but that is not where the majority of church arguments come from. This is my opinion and experience, and if you wish to take issue, please tell me your ministry experience.
I close this with saying that, by and large, my ministry experience has been very satisfying and by God's Grace, fruitful. I am especially blessed by God to have a wonderful congregation that values the teaching of the Word. I am blessed!