Another society meeting. Another singspiration. Another mass meeting. When these events are announced in the bulletins, our eyes may subconsciously pass over them. After all, they are happening all the time. These periodic get-togethers may even annoy us. Do we really need another one of these?
It can often be a difficult task to recognize the many blessings that our churches have to offer. We sometimes take for granted the fact that we will hear the pure preaching of the Word of God on Sunday. We may not even realize how special it is to be surrounded by like-minded believers, especially other young people. We have been so blessed for so long, that we often fail to take advantage of the wonderful blessings God has given us.
In contrast, saints around the world are searching for a church with pure preaching of the gospel. Instead of mindlessly preparing for another Sunday evening service, some of our brothers and sisters in Christ are making preparations to move their family across the country, or even the continent, in order to become a part of a true church and live among God’s people.
The Faith Young Adults’ Society recently read and discussed various letters from Professor Engelsma’s book, Bound to Join. Using this book as the starting point for our discussions proved to raise many interesting questions and insights. Because the letters in the book are clearly addressed to saints who reside in areas that do not have a faithful church nearby, our society had to learn to see these important issues from a different perspective.
An important foundation for our discussions was identifying the marks of a true church as detailed in Article 29 of the Belgic Confession. These marks are the pure preaching of the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, and the proper practice of church discipline. Thankfully we recognized these marks in our own church, but we also saw—through the testimony of the letters in Professor Engelsma’s book—that this is not always the case. It is not uncommon for a child of God to be forced into difficult decisions and great sacrifices for the sake of becoming a member of a true church.
These discussions gave us the unique opportunity to take a different point of view; we took a careful look at our own churches and our individual lives. We recognized the magnitude of the sacrifices made by saints around the world to join the fellowship of God’s people. Do we share the same desire to be active participants in our church life? Or, do we take for granted the many opportunities that come with living among God’s people and even neglect them?
Those examples of great sacrifice should encourage us to respond by living a life as a shining light, a light so bright that it can only point to our Savior Jesus Christ (Matt. 5:16). We must take to heart the calling to “speak the truth in love,” both in the church and outside of it (Eph. 4:15). We are so blessed! Let’s take advantage of the many opportunities available to be active members of the church!