You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. (Ezekiel 34:4)
God intended it as a reprimand for the leaders of Israel who had failed to fulfill their duties. Yet it indirectly gives us a broad overview of what God expects of His church and those within it.
Time won’t allow us to look at each role in depth, but this single verse highlights many of the things which constitute a healthy, God-approved church. In short, a church should be a source of strength and healing for its members. By definition then, a church has to be a place where the weak, sick, and injured (spiritually, emotionally, or physically) are welcomed. The church is NOT only for those who have already become strong and healthy – it’s equally for those in need of strength and healing!
Secondly, a healthy, well-balanced congregation is one that also has its eyes on those who have either strayed from the faith, or never found faith in the first place. Does that mean every church is to be evangelical? I believe it does. In fact, according to God’s Word, “evangelical church” and “evangelical Christian” are completely redundant phrases. Every member of every church should be on their own private search and rescue mission.
Searching for the lost and strengthening the found. That’s God’s expectation for His church. Are you fulfilling it? Are you in need of it? –Dave
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