Growing up in the church as a little boy and teen was an exciting time filled with many great memories and awesome Bible teaching. As I have grown in the Lord over 46 years, as one of the redeemed, the importance of 2 Timothy 2:15 has never been more necessary. I/ we must study to shew ourselves approved! Remember, Pastors are just men and, too, fallible. Many times they say things from the pulpit because it’s what they grew up hearing, or are just mimicking another Preacher whom they admire. Although this is very easy to do, it makes for substandard theology.

One of the phrases I heard as a kid was “us four and no more.” The importance of evangelism and love for the sinner and saint alike can’t be overstated. The purpose behind the phrase was to encourage us, as members, to step outside the comfort of the familiar and attempt to reach those around us.

Here is a great example of what the church has become over the years as the trend toward a recluse method of worship has become a reality.

If our desire is to further the Cause of Christ, then we must be more like Christ. Agreed?

Later, when my wife and I joined a local church and started attending Bible studies, something weird happened. Instead of praying and reading the Bible so Christ-followers could reach lost people, it seemed to us that being in Bible studies was more about Christians learning to protect and isolate themselves from the big, bad world and lost people. It appeared to us that growing in one’s faith was more concerned with guarding one’s family and self-preservation than in becoming missionaries. Some of the studies felt like a “us-four-and-no-more” club. Read the complete article here, Gray, D. (2019). Us Four and No More. [online] Just Marinating | A Blog by Pastor Derwin L. Gray. Available at: https://www.christianitytoday.com/derwin-gray/2014/december/us-four-and-no-more.html [Accessed 13 Feb. 2019].

Matthew 9:10 is very explicit and shows our need to become more like Christ. The church today manifests little desire to be as the verse teaches.
“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.”

Suggestions and exhortation

  • Drop the cliques
    • Yep, easy to love and help those in your clique
      • Doesn’t take a lot of effort or skill
    • Oooh, Church politics
  • Step out of your clique (comfort zone)
    • Help those outside your intimate circle of influence
      • May take some effort and skill you lack, so learn
  • Brotherly love
    • It’s just not your 4 and no more
    • Don’t fear sinners, publicans, and other saints
    • Quit investing your spiritual energy into your favorite Christian relationships
      • Watch Facebook and Twitter! It is sickening to watch the cliques chase each other around in hopes of getting a like or retweet from a comfortable relationship, or a well-known preacher or evangelist.
  • Have you noticed the lack of fellowship between churches over the past 20 years?
    • Youth rallies?
    • Revival meetings?
    • Where are the random gatherings for fellowship?
    • Genuine love and concern for a Christian outside the protected walls of your church, where did it go?

Many Christians are looking for a mentor to help with their walk with God or the calling on their life. If you are walking with God and working within the vocation wherewith you have been called….Don’t be selfish, but strive to be selfless; you haven’t arrived. Don’t be like the Dead Sea and hoard the gifts God has entrusted with you, but be an outlet. A responsibility to be a conduit of help is a burden you must own and therewith engage. This week, reach out to a Christian, publican, sinner (saved or not.)

Brotherly love is, indeed, evidence of salvation; be in the world but not of the world.