Thankful for the Local Church
Maintaining a thankful heart for your local church is not always easy. But the apostle Paul did. His thankfulness for the Corinthian church encourages us to be thankful for our local church, no matter how difficult things get.
Paul ministered in Corinth for eighteen months (Acts 18:1-18). During his stay he formed a new ministry relationship with Aquila and Priscilla, a married couple who were skilled in the same trade of tent making. He witnessed the conversion of many Corithians, and received a personal order of protection from the Lord (Acts 18:9-10). But then he left and the church splintered. Division replaced unity. Members began filing lawsuits against one another. Sexual immorality was approved. Spritual gifts were abused. Even the Lord's Supper was corrupted.
You might expect Paul to leave out his greeting altogether when he wrote to address the concerns in Corinth, but he didn't. He told them that he constantly thanked God for them:"I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus" (1 Corinthians 1:4). How was Paul able to remain thankful for the church in Corinth? He could see in them the grace of God that is given in Jesus Christ. You and I will remain thankful for the church we gather with when we view the other members as they are in Christ Jesus.
In his greeting to the Corinthians, Paul provides us with six features that we must keep in mind as we pray for and interact with our local church.
1. The local church belongs to God. (1 Cor. 1:2a)
2. The local church is God's holy people (1 Cor. 1:2b)
3. The local church is united to everyone who calls Jesus Lord (1 Cor. 1:2c)
4. The local church is blessed with grace and peace (1 Cor. 1:3)
5. The local church is supplied by God with all the gifts of His grace (1 Cor. 1:4-7)
6. The local church is sustained by God's faithfulness (1 Cor. 1:8-9)
When we keep these features in mind division will give way to unity. Immorality will be lovingly corrected. Disagreements will not seem as big. Grace will be extended and peace will be experienced. Boasting in self will not be normal. God's grace will be amplified in our conversations and His faithfulness will be our hope. Our hearts will be filled with thankfulness for as we view one another in Christ Jesus.
HOW CAN YOU USE THIS REVIEW?
1. Ask your pastor for a copy of the membership list and pray for each person listed.
2. Praise God for the gifts that He has given to your church.
3. Praise God for the work of grace that He has done in your life.
4. Tell someone else about how they can be blameless in the Day of Judgment (1 Cor. 1:8-9)