|Vol. 16 No. 8 August 2014||
“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). There are many things to which we give honor in this life, our parents, country, friends and associates, etc., but nothing is to receive the honor due the church for which Jesus died. The Bible says, “But seek ye first the kingdom [church] of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). The church of the Bible is incomparably greater than all human institutions, sectarian or fraternal. This is so because God is its Author. “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11).
This is so because Christ is its Builder. “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). This is so because Christ is its Head. “And he is the head of the body, the church who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). This is so because Christ is its Savior. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and he is the savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23).
When we have a true conception of and a lofty appreciation for the church, we will do everything within our power to honor it, for in doing so we honor God and His Son. One of many ways we can honor the church is our faithfulness to the Word. A dear couple we have known for years wrote last week. In their correspondence they said, “There are a lot of churches in this country and mighty few want to hear the real Bible preached. I’m ninety-years-old and can speak from knowledge.” They are right; many no longer want to hear “the whole council of God” (Acts 20:22). Brethren, let us continue to honor the church of Christ as revealed in the New Testament by faithfully contending “for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
“I never made a fortune and it’s probably too late now, but I don’t worry about that much. I’m happy anyhow. As I go along life’s journey, I’m reaping better than I sowed. I’m drinking from my saucer because my cup has overflowed. I remember times when things went wrong, and my faith got a little thin. Yet, then, all at once the dark clouds broke, and the sun peeked through again. So, Lord, help me not to gripe about the tough rows I hoed. I’m drinking from my saucer because my cup has overflowed.”
Some of you may recognize this as a partial recitation that was written by Jimmy Dean, country music star and “sausage maker.” Alice and I are country music fans, and we’ve watched old programs where he recited this very piece. It is most humbling to hear him repeat it. The words of the whole writing give cause for thought.
How, though, can we make application to ourselves? David had no trouble understanding how to apply such words to himself. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want… Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me… my cup runs over” (Psalm 23). David said bad things might happen to him, but he knew that whatever came his way, God would be with him. He felt rich because of the blessings God had provided him, so much so that he could say his blessings were so abundant that they spilled over. He knew that because of the confidence he had in his standing with God, and he promised that he “would dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (v. 6).
Because of our sins, every one of us has enjoyed many more blessings than we deserve. Because we are mere men, we sin. That sin separates us from a God Who loves us. He loves us so much that He gave His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins that we might be reconciled back to Him through the blood of that Son. The possibility of being forgiven of our sins is enough by itself to make us think highly enough of our blessings that our cup has overflowed because we don’t deserve that blessing. We should humbly give “thanks to God for His unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
However, the blessings don’t stop there. We’re blessed every day in so many ways that are too many to number. We sometimes sing, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one.” Did you ever stop to think how hard it would be to name all your blessings? When you pray, do you remember to thank God for wealth? You may not be rich, but you have enough to get by. Do you thank him for health? It may not be the best, but you are still breathing. Do you thank Him for your physical blessings that sustain your life? They may not be what you’d like, but you have some. Do you thank God for the blessings we enjoy in this country? Compared to other nations, this one certainly leaves you drinking from the saucer because your cup has overflowed.
Aside from your many physical blessings, do you remember to thank God for your spiritual blessings? We’ve already mentioned the “unspeakable gift” of His Son. Do you thank Him for the church? You may not be able to attend all the time, but the church is still the avenue by which we find favor with God. Do you thank God for hearing your prayers? None of us can ever commune with Him frequently and sincerely enough, and He loves to hear from you! Do you thank Him for ready access to His Word that is a lamp for your feet and a light to your pathway in life? There are so many blessings that it is impossible to name them all in this little space.
Job affirmed God’s blessings as he said, “Does He not see all my ways and count all my steps?” (Job 31:4). God is merciful and continues to provide blessings of which we are not worthy, and He knows whether we are grateful or whether we just take our blessings for granted.
The apostle Paul was driven by his love for the Lord and suffered great persecution for his desire to serve God, but he said, “I have all; I am full” (Philippians 4:18). He made this statement in the face of persecution. He went on to say in verse 19, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Rest assured that God will take care of those who love and serve Him. I would think it impossible for any of us to recount all of our blessings, but one thing is sure, it just proves that we are “drinking from the saucer because our cup has overflowed”! Thank God for all your blessings!