I have always loved the way that Paul started his letter to the Colossians. But, every time I read it it always makes me think about how the church that I serve in is perceived by others. When people around our community talk about Ridgecrest Baptist Church what do they say? What is our reputation – both among believers and unbelievers?
Have they heard about our faith? (1:4a) – By definition the church is made up of a community of believers. Our faith is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. But how is this confession worked out in our lives day by day by day. Does our behavior reflect what we believe? As James says, “faith without actions is dead.” Many people are quick to confess that “Jesus is Lord” but nobody around them would ever guess that this true by the way that they live their lives. This is not only a damaging testimony personally but also damaging (and dare I say damning) testimony to the church they represent.
Have they heard about our love for all the saints? (1:4b) – John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Both Paul and John are talking about how believers love and care for other believers. And both seem to indicate that the world will take notice when we demonstrably love one another. Is this what Ridgecrest is known for around Durham? Are we known far and wide as a church that deeply loves one another?
Have they heard about our gospel fruitfulness? (1:6) – Again, what are we known for? Are we known for the great programs that we have at our church? Are we known for our friendliness? Are we known for our great facilities? Or… are we known for the lives that have been changed, the families impacted, the churches planted, the souls saved, the disciples made – the eternal fruit of gospel faithfulness.
What are we known for? I admit that I do not have an answer to this question for my church. I am on the inside looking out. My prayer is that more and more that we will be a church known for our faith in Jesus and our love for one another and our fruitfulness due to gospel faithfulness.