Monday, June 12, 2006

Relationships -- not something to mess around with

In my last blog entry, I said, "The church is only as strong as the relationship between you, as a believer, and that member of your local congregation to whom you feel the least inclination to express your love." I believe that 100 per cent.

It's quite obvious that our relationships are something we are to take very seriously. Yeshua says in Matthew 5:23 and 24, If you are offering a saccrifice at the alter, and you remember that someone has a grudge against you, then leave your offering, go make up with that person, and then come back and finish the sacrifice.

Consider the expense people went through in Yeshua's day just to comply with the the Torah regulations regarding the offering of their sacrifices at the Temple. It was serious business. It would easily compare with just about anything we'd do in ministry or any form of worship or service we'd do in the church today. Yet, Yeshua says, "Stop. Put it all on hold. Make sure your relationships with your brothers and sisters are right first. Then go ahead with your act of worship/ministry/spiritual obligation."

Yet, look how much priority we give to relationships today. When we hear that brother so-and-so and sister whoever had a falling out, we shrug and say it's none of our business.

That's not how the early church reacted. They took it seriously, as this passage from the Didache indicates. The Didache is like a handbook for doing church, issued towards the end of the first century. It probably dates to before the Gospels began to circulate. The full title of the document is, THE DIDACHE or THE TEACHING OF THE LORD TO THE GENTILES BY THE TWELVE APOSTLES. Anyway, here is a quote from section 14 of that document:
Let no man who has a dispute with his fellow join your assembly until they have been reconciled, so that your sacrifice may not be defiled; for it was this sacrifice that was spoken of by the Lord; "In every place and at every time offer Me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great king, says the Lord, and My name is wonderful among the nations."
What would you think of a church that applied this rule in their congregation today?

No comments: