Shriners, Knights of Columbus, Masons, Rotary, Optimists Club, and Lion’s Club, just to name a few, are

all organizations that have been established to give their members a sense of community and belonging.

While they usually have a “mission” that serves the greater good, they also exist to provide support to

the individual members of their club or organization.

Many people who attend college join fraternities or sororities for that very reason: they form a fellowship--contacts and relationships that are forged early on that usually last a lifetime. Any one of them can call on any of the other members of their organization for help when needed, and expect that

help will be on the way. The Marines and other branches of service are like that, as well.

    The church is an organization, obviously. But, what kind of an organization is it? Does it come close to

those that I mentioned above? In my opinion, it exceeds them all in every way… except, maybe how they treat others at times. Listen, when you have a God-given revelation of the body of Christ, and you are aware of the love that God has, not just for your fellow church members, but literally, for EVERYONE, then how you treat others and how you talk about them when they are not listening will change! Here’s the basics of the gospel: God sent his only Son to die on the cross to forgive us of our sins and to reconcile us to Himself!

If you have accepted that gift of Jesus, then you are very well aware that it applies to you. What you may not be aware of is that--whether they have received it yet or not—God still loves that person

enough to send Jesus to die for them, too!

    What does that mean to me? I know that Jesus loves me. And I have become very much aware that He loves that person who is always annoying, too. He loves the inconsiderate person at work. He loves that man who tells inappropriate jokes. He loves the arrogant guy who thinks the world revolves around him.

    He loves the girl who thinks she’s better than everyone else. He loves the drunk, drug-addicted, and

deeply lost person. He loves the depressed, lonely, and demonized. He loves the dirty and the down- and-out. He even loves that one who gets in front of us and drives 15 miles per hour under the speed limit! I know! I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true! Moreover, He loves them enough to send Jesus

to die for them, too!

    Here’s a wake-up call for some of us. I think that sometimes we actually treat the unbelievers better

than we treat those who are of like-precious faith. That’s sad. Realize this: every believer is a part of the body of Christ. “Body of Christ” is not just an outdated term

that has become another name for the church. It literally means that every person who is part of the

church is a part of Jesus’ body… an arm, or finger, or knee, or whatever, but they are a fellow part of our


   If you are in your right mind, you do not purposely cut, hurt or injure any part of your own body, right?

No! if part of your body is injured, you nurture it, you medicate it, you dress it, you treat it delicately,

you protect it! You help it get better and recover! That’s the call on the body of Christ, to nurture one another, especially when a part of us is down.

In 1 Corinthians 11, verse 30, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For this reason, many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.” The context of what he’s talking about here is properly “discerning the body.” Many people in the church are sick and many have even died because they have not properly treated other members of the body of Christ, whether they are part of your church or not. That’s a serious problem. You mean, I might be sick because I have talked bad about someone who is part of the body of Christ? Yes, but I didn’t say that, the Bible says it!

Look at Psalm 109:17-18…

   He also loved cursing, so it came to him; And he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from him. But he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, And it entered into his body like water

And like oil into his bones.

A wise man once said, “He who slings mud must dirty his own hands first.” It’s clear that when you speak ill of or curse others--that curse sticks to you, even getting down into your bones. How much

more when you curse a part of the body of Christ?

   On occasion, I’ve heard it said that the church is the only “army” that actually kills its wounded. Well,

not this one! Many times as we ask our congregation to greet one another during the service, I’ve said, “Don’t treat them like family, I know how some people treat their family! No! Treat them BETTER than family!” That’s what we teach, and that’s what we practice! Your local church should be the best of the best when compared to any club or organization. You should find connections there! You should find friendships there that last a lifetime! You should find safety and security there. And when you need it most, you should find support and healing there.

   As I conclude this message, I am reminded of the inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” I believe this expresses the heart of God. He doesn’t turn anyone away. He loves everyone, and He loves them so much that He

refuses to leave them the way He finds them. Are you tired, poor, hurt, wounded… yearning to breathe

free? I know a place where you can find rest, blessing, truth, healing, and the God kind of life! You are welcome at Grace Fellowship of Beattyville where we talk about things like that!

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