The work of the Search Committee
Every human is created to be in fellowship with the Creator. As I have written elsewhere, God has promised that we can find Him. He has said that we will find Him when we search for Him with all of our heart. God said that we will find Him when we set our heart and soul to do so. Commitment and effort are required. If we really want to find God, we will.
God gave us a few suggestions in the Bible. First, Isaiah 51:1 says, “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, Who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn And to the quarry from which you were dug.” (NASU) Surely in the Old Testament imagery, Christ is the rock from which we were hewn and the quarry from which we were dug. Christ is the rock of our salvation. Isaiah’s advice then is to look to Christ. If you seek God, you need look no further than Jesus the Christ.
Second, the Bible speaks about seeking God as part of a corporate body. Note the corporate nature of the search and the repeating of the plural case in Jeremiah 50:4-5 “In those days and at that time,” declares the Lord, “the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Judah as well; they will go along weeping as they go, and it will be the Lord their God they will seek. 5 “They will ask for the way to Zion, turning their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.” (NASU) Searching for and finding God is a process done best in a group, a group of sincere, like-minded searchers.
Not only does the search require total commitment and looking to Christ but it is a group search, done by a very special group. Deuteronomy 12:5 states, “But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.” (NASU) The sincere seeker will look for God at the place where God establishes His name. This particular passage was obviously looking forward to the temporary mobile Tabernacle and the permanent Temple in Jerusalem. In light of the fact that both of those are no longer in existence, it seems that the New Testament church is the logical place now. The local fellowship of believers who gather for worship, prayer, discipleship, and fellowship is the special group involved in this most important of all searches, the search for God.
One does not have to look very far or listen very long before he finds a person who has abandoned the church. They always have a reason, usually trivial. Even if the reason is not trivial, it is still rationalization. The sad fact of the matter is that those who have left the church have left because they have a misconception about the church. They believe that the church exists to meet their needs. That could not be further from the truth. The church exists so that they will have a place to worship God, not self. Believing that the church exists to meet one’s needs is worshiping self. A large part of seeking God is being conformed to the image of Christ. The church exists to help that process along. In a church you can love and be loved, forgive and be forgiven, offend and be offended. Those things are indispensable in your quest to be conformed to the image of Christ.
Pastor Steve Ellison is Camp Administrator at Ouachita Baptist Assembly near Mena and can be reached at email@example.com. Special thanks to the Mena Star for sending Pastor Ellison's columns to First Arkansas News.