Posted by: Heather | April 7, 2010

Doctors and Nurses for Christ

“The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”  Author unknown

A friend of mine posted this to her Facebook page, and it immediately struck a chord with me.  This is truly what being the church is all about!

I consider my family very blessed.  Most people have only one pastor.  I am blessed to have two such men of God in my life at this moment that bring the Word of God in such a way that it’s easily understandable and exciting to me.   They bring things from the original language and culture into their messages in a way that it brings the Word alive.  Both have been committed to our family’s spiritual growth, and I am grateful to each of them.  One is the pastor of our church, Rural Hall Church of God, Pastor Rick Hudson.  The other is a Hebrew scholar, Biblical language and culture expert that drives from Charlotte twice a month to meet with us in our home, Dr. Karl Coke.  The Lord has blessed me indeed!

I’ve had this quote sitting in my ‘draft’ folder for quite some time, waiting for something to go along with it.  We had Bible study at our home last night.  This morning, the inspiration came while thinking over what was taught last night.  As the prelude to his teaching, Dr. Karl explained how denominations came to be, and which beliefs broke off from other beliefs to form the myriad of churches and organizations that exist today.  Even those that claim to be ‘non-denominational’ broke off from something else.  They’re just not affiliated with a denominational organization.

The idea of this conversation was that when we become saved, we usually choose a church fellowship based on where we feel the most comfortable.  Usually, we choose a church where the majority of the people believe like we do, and walk with God in the same way.  While there’s some degree of comfort in that, we also tend to forget that the reason we’re there is to see the lost saved and win them to Christ.  Our goal should not be to win them to our belief, but win them to Christ, and let His Word work in them to solidify their belief.

We are called to be salt and light to the sinner.  But so often, because of our comfort level in the church, we neglect to see the truth…the church IS a hospital for sinners, and we are called to be the ‘doctors and nurses’ that God uses to nurse them from their sin-sick state to a state of health and peace in Christ Jesus.   We come to have our ‘tanks filled’ and worship.  That’s not a bad thing…in fact, it’s needful.  But, we have to realize our true salvation is shown outside of the church, not inside…how we deal with those around us that don’t believe the way we do.  Those that need our help, and maybe we turn away, or just ignore them.

I say this, but I also have to admit that I have probably been one of the worst for neglecting it.  I was raised in the church, and for quite some time, had a judgment complex.  I never ‘strayed’ through my teenage years and got involved in things I shouldn’t have.  But, because of that, I also have a difficult time dealing with those that have.   I never said I was ‘holier than thou’ outwardly, because for most of my life, I didn’t even realize it.   But, a few years ago, the Lord began a process in me to break me from my way of thinking.  I won’t say He’s completely done, but so much improvement has been made, and I’m very thankful for it.  I thought I had it all together, and that I knew so much.  But, the Lord shows me daily how much of nothing I am without Him. I’ve always been timid in meeting and dealing with new people.  That has made me very fearful of saying much or associating with people I don’t know much about.  So, in this area, I need more improvement than anyone, which is probably why He’s convicting me about it even as He gives me the words to write.  🙂

As the church, so often we look down on those that have sin in their lives that they are struggling to deal with.  But, the sin of judgment is to me, one of the worst, and hardest things to overcome.   I feel, as Paul said, ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief’.  (I Tim 1:15).

Jesus Himself associated with sinners, even to the point he was called a glutton and drunkard:  Matt 11:19  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man, gluttonous and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. He had no problem associating with those that were not holy like He was.  His love for them overcame everything, and it was troubling for the religious crowd.

May we not be like the ‘religious crowd’, distancing ourselves from those that we perceive to be unlovely.  But, may we be like Jesus, who befriended them, and showed them through love, not harshness of words and judgment, what true Godliness is all about.

Church is not a place where Christians go to gloat over their perfection.  Because in reality, we all struggle with things inwardly, if not outwardly, that hinder us.  It’s not a place where we go to look at how pretty we all are, sing songs, listen to a sermon, and socialize.  Church should be the spiritual equivalent of the ER Trauma Center, where those that are badly hurt and in need of repair can come, find the love they need, and be given the strength to go on.   In the physical, the trauma center is just the first step in a long period of recovery.  We must be steeled in for the long haul, lovingly disciple them as they heal, and watch them blossom into people that love Christ and are willing to do the same…become doctors and nurses under the command of the Great Physician.


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