Church Matters

By Alex Russon / April 7, 2024

If you’re a regular church-goer, or irregular for that matter, it’s comforting to know there’ll be an accessible venue wherever you may find yourself on a Sunday. Churches aren’t members-only establishments, all are welcome. This week for example I found myself in Aberdeen so dropped into Bridge Of Don’s Baptist Church, and a welcoming bunch they were too.

The sermon centred on the last three verses of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus instructing his followers to make disciples of others, reminding them not to fear since he’d be with them always. This message applies to modern day Christians too of course, we’re all encouraged to witness for God as effectively as we can whilst having the comfort of knowing he is with us every step of the way.

God provides opportunities for us to share with others the love that we have for him, it’s just a question of whether we’ll accept those opportunities. We don’t have to be pastors or preachers to ‘speak’ about God, just knowing him is sufficient qualification with which to share our devotion, and it needn’t be in words. Our behaviours and attitudes will do. There are so many ‘lost’ people, seeking peace or satisfaction but not considering the true author of such; God. If we can live our lives as a testament to the peace God gives us then we’re honouring him.

But what is it that holds us back from being encouragers of others or accepting encouragement ourselves? Fear is one answer, usually of rejection or ridicule, or simply the fear of failure. Apathy can also prevent us from stepping forward, we can’t be bothered so leave matters to others rather than taking responsibility ourselves. Distractions divert us too, we may have the best of intentions but are too easily dissuaded, our minds getting crowded, our focus lost. Or we may be held back of course simply through a blatant lack of compassion, an area our hearts need to address. God places people in our lives for a reason, we’re to make the most of these opportunities to share his love and not rule them out through sheer selfishness.

Those with faith aren’t insured against difficult times mind you, they themselves need the encouragement of others. It’s a misconception that to have a belief in God is an insurance policy to protect one from all ills, there are plenty of times when believers also need to be pulled up by the bootstraps and encouraged, times when we ourselves may need the mentoring of those more mature in their walk with God. We must be humble enough to accept that. Pride comes before a fall, its not good to wave away those who’ve discerned our need for correction, discipline and re-direction. Tough love they call it, when folk convict us to be accountable for our actions. We’re to be thankful when being encouraged by others not to continually entertain the wrong things in our lives.

Whether aiding others or receiving aid ourselves, in all things we must look to God for guidance and discernment, Ephesians 3 helps us in this regard, God promising to be with us in all situations, empowering us as we seek the way forward. Our close walking with God finds him opening doors to situations, providing the people he needs us to speak to and providing too the words he’d have us share. We’re his hands and feet here on earth, why not open your heart to him and allow him to bless others through you. It’s an honour indeed.

Matthew 28:18-20 NIV – Then Jesus came to them and said, – Bible Gateway