|Photo by: dan|
They come in one by one. There are a few families. There seem to be a lot of singles walking through the doors. You can see on their faces that they enter carrying burdens. Some have baggage hidden deep inside, pasts they have tried to forget . . . but can’t. Some have lost a partner. Others carry sickness, sadness, and worry. A woman walks in after a lifetime of abuse, and another woman is currently abusing herself with drugs. Each person is a story. Each person represents a life, a soul. And, each one comes through the doors of the church looking for something.
One man only wants acceptance and to have stable friendships.
A woman desires true joy, and she finally found it in Jesus.
Another man has physical needs, and he needs compassionate, practical help.
A woman has marital problems. Her husband refuses to go to church with her, but he goes to a different church.
A man hides perverse fantasies.
A woman faces guilt every day over an abortion she had years ago. She still has nightmares about a floating baby.
A man is mistreated because of his physical challenges. People think he’s mentally challenged, but he isn’t at all. It’s just that he can’t get the words out. He’s frustrated, but he finds acceptance and friendship in church.
Some are divorced. Several are single moms.
This couple has a stable marriage and three nice kids.
They walk in.* Most are silent. All—every single one of them—are needy.
Back in the Apostle Paul’s day, all kinds of things were happening in the early church. When Paul got wind of some of the goings on (specifically Christian brothers taking other Christians to court) he sent one of the most issue-busting letters to the church in Corinth. We know his letter is the Word of God, and it’s relevant today.
The church people thought they were good and qualified to judge others.
Let’s read what Paul says: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
I can just imagine the Corinthians nodding their heads. “Oh yes,” they’re thinking, “those people don’t deserve heaven!”
And then Paul shares the Truth: And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Did they forget where they came from?
“Yes, you guys,” says Paul, “there are a lot of scoundrels in the world. Not too long ago—before you accepted the grace of God through Jesus—you were just like them.”
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:1-5).
Are you needy?
When you walk into church, are you going because you need God?
Are you going because you need fellowship with God’s people?
Do you need encouragement because of your past?
Are you battling substance abuse or another addiction?
Do you need practical and compassionate help?
Do you need to be saved?
I love what Jesus said, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (from Mark 2:17).
If you are going to a Bible-preaching church, and you find yourself surrounded by many others with issues, you’re in the right place!
We are all “sick.”
We are all needy.
We need what Jesus Christ can do for us.
- He can save. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
- He can restore. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).
- He can come alongside us and give us strength to overcome. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26). But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
- He is always there. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5b).
- He answers prayer. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:22).
- He will do great things through us. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
* My examples are completely fictitious. No one I know exactly fits these details.