Over the years I have seen the ever-changing landscape of the Church. Just like the automobile industry, we see a new “improved model” of the church every year. There is such an ongoing change to the church that it has left the Body of Christ with little recognizable Biblical characteristics. The early church was a compassionate body of Believers concerned with the well-being of others. If one was hurting, they all hurt. If one celebrated a victory, they all celebrated. If someone had a need, they helped meet that need. The New Testament church realized that as they were ministering to one another, they were actually ministering unto the Lord. (Matthew 25:31-46) The significance of this Scripture has been minimized to the point of being declassified as information only. Whenever we do not act on the Word of God it becomes simply words without power.
The New Testament church was a compassionate body of Believers. Compassion led to passion which displayed itself through action. Much of the actions of the church today are motivated through personal choice. Christians tend to be self-absorbing. When Christians are more concerned with themselves then they are with others it is called “mirror identity.” When the church adopts that type of “religion” they cease to be the Church.
Identity Christianity was on full display when a church recently failed to identify one of their members who was suffering physically and mentally. This woman had lost her husband a few years ago and had failed to come to grips with her loss. During a twelve-month period, she deteriorated into a state of hopelessness. She neglected her hygiene as well as limited her caloric intake. Her dog was left unattended and as a result, defecated throughout the house. Finally, a neighbor investigated this woman’s visual disappearance and found her sitting in her living room soaked in human waste. She was eventually taken to the hospital and then transferred to a nursing home. Pipes had broken in her house causing a deteriorating of a healthy environment. The house was condemned. Sadly, this is not a unique case, but what makes it so hard to understand is that she was active in her local church, at least up to the last few months. She sang in the choir and helped in different capacities whenever the need arose. Where were the Believers who stood on Sunday singing “Trust and Obey” but failed to implement, “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble.” (James 1:27 NKJ) When a church fails to care for people, especially their own, it should be brought up on Biblical charges for neglecting its compassion clause.
A church without compassion is in direct violation of Scriptural ethics. The last two verses of Matthew 25 shows the seriousness of a compassionless response. What it is saying is that if we do not reach out with concern and love, we are neglecting our love for the Lord. The result of our disobedience….Matthew 25:46!!!!
Look around. Has someone slipped through the cracks? Is someone AWOL from our church? Let it never be said that we lost someone through our neglect.