Newsletter: January 27, 2016

Hello Church Family,

What will they say about you when you die? Not just those presiding at your funeral, but everybody. Those who knew you at your best and at your worst. Those who knew you way back then and those who knew you at the end. What about those people who only had a secondhand impression of you from others?

How will you be characterized? What is distinctive about your life? What kind of aura do you leave with people? Is there some passion driving you that the writer of your obituary will struggle to find words to explain? Is there some depth and complexity of character others caught from you that could not have been taught?

What they will say about you when you die depends on how you live. To be fair, in one sense, it does not matter what others say about us because we will stand before the great, omniscient Judge of the universe who will lay even our secret thoughts, desires, and motives bare. However, in another sense, God has designed the local church to judge one another now so that we may stand confidently then.

Now, many of you are probably thinking about our nation’s favorite Bible verse. No, not John 3:16, but Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” The context of this passage does teach we are certainly never to try and usurp the authority of the perfect Judge of the universe, but the main theme of Jesus’ teaching here is against a hypocritical, arrogant treatment of others’ sin. In other words, there certainly is a wrong and sinister type of judging, but there is also the kind Jesus and Paul commended to the church (Matthew 7:5; 1 Corinthians 5:12-6:3). The purpose of this kind of judgment is to affirm one another—or, if need be, to reprove one another with the express intention of correction and restoration.

All this is to say, in a way, we have been brought together in order to help each other live and die well. We want His name to be glorified as the stories of our lives are described. We want to live lives that testify to the goodness and grace of our God. But if we want to be remembered as ones who “walked with God,” we are called to tell one another when we see anyone walking with any other. Better still, we want to look to our left and look to our right and see the brothers and sisters we have linked arms with trudging right along with us that we might say to and of one another, “We walked with God.” Amen.

Gentry