Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:40

“The Dearest Place on Earth”

Written by  Rev. Bill Thompson, Grace @ Bell Road Church
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He is known as the “Prince of Preachers.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England where he regularly preached to over 10,000 people. The following is a quote from a sermon he preached on April 5, 1891. He said,

 

Give yourself to the Church. You that are members of the Church have not found it perfect and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a Church till I had found one that was perfect, I would never have joined one at all! And the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect Church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us… All who have first given themselves to the Lord, should, as speedily as possible, also give themselves to the Lord’s people. How else is there to be a Church on the earth? If it is right for anyone to refrain from membership in the Church, it is right for everyone, and then the testimony for God would be lost to the world!

 

As I have already said, the Church is faulty, but that is no excuse for your not joining it, if you are the Lord’s. Nor need your own faults keep you back, for the Church is not an institution for perfect people, but a sanctuary for sinners saved by Grace, who, though they are saved, are still sinners and need all the help they can derive from the sympathy and guidance of their fellow Believers. The Church is the nursery for God’s weak children where they are nourished and grow strong. It is the fold for Christ’s sheep—the home for Christ’s family.

 

 

I want to draw your attention to his description of the local church. Spurgeon referred to her as “the dearest place on earth.” My goal for this article is to convince you, if you’re not already convinced, that the Church is the dearest place on earth for you and as a result you would, as Spurgeon said, give yourself to her. Again, repeating Spurgeon, “Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us… All who have first given themselves to the Lord, should…also give themselves to the Lord’s people.”

 

We live in a time where the church has fallen out of favor with both Christian and non-Christian alike; where voices tell us the church is no longer necessary, they tell us that you can live out your faith on your own or with your family. Many professing Christians regard connecting with a church as optional. Maybe more so than at any other time in church history, there are large numbers of unchurched Christians.

 

I confess that I don’t understand such sentiment. I fell in love with the church shortly after making a decision to follow Jesus. Having never attended a Protestant church, I found a community of people who became like family to me. They loved me and cared for me and challenged me and helped me to get to know this Jesus to whom I had given my life. For the past 30 years, my vocation has been to serve the church and what a blessing it has been.

 

I know the church has a dark side. Believe me I know! But as Spurgeon reminds us there are no perfect churches. We live in a fallen world and the church is not immune to the effects of sin. My first pastor used to often say, “The church is not a rest home for saints but a hospital for sinners.” There are many challenges in a hospital full of sinners! Spurgeon said that the church “is the nursery for God’s weak children.” There are many challenges in a nursery full of sinners! But never forget that you must count yourself among the company of sinners.

 

More than anything else, we should consider the church “the dearest place on earth” and give ourselves to her because of God’s view the church. The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) If Jesus loved the church and gave himself for her, should we not follow in His steps?

 

Seek out a gospel-centered, grace-filled church and give yourself to her. If you do, you will find her to be “the dearest place on earth.”

 

 

Rev. Bill Thompson is the pastor of Grace @ Bell Road, a congregation of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. It is located at 5 Bell Road at the corner of Atlanta Highway.

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 14:47
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