Garry spoke tonight about the church of God. The church is a people who assemble together because they are called by God. God knows the best way for us to live and if we are to live well (thriving instead of just surviving), we need to live according to His ways. God calls all people to Himself, offering us an open invitation to come (see Matt 22:1-4). We are God’s assembly, joined together by this common call from God.

The church in action is seen in Eph 4:14-16. Growth is God’s goal for us all, but this involves effort on our part, as we are called to rid ourselves of all malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. (1 Pet 2:1-3) These attitudes have to be replaced by a desire to do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal 6:10) We are called to live not by lies, but to allow the truth of Jesus to govern our behaviour. This will mean getting rid of hypocrisy (double standards), envy (resisting the advertiser’s lure) and slander (running people down and making false statements about people.)

Peter goes on to say we should crave spiritual milk, getting a taste for spiritual things. Paul told the Corinthians that they needed to grow and move beyond milk, though (see 1 Cor 3:1-3). Growth gives stability. It enables us to withstand the storms of life (see Matt 7:24-27), including the fear of death and war, the rising costs of living and so on. Growth comes from good soil (Matt 13:3-9, 22); we have to understand that God calls us to be warriors, nor worriers. When we are afraid, we can put our trust in God (see Ps 53:1-4), understanding that His peace enables us to live without being tossed about by events all the time.

When our granddaughter was just one, she was knocked over by a wave which would not topple her now, two years later. She has grown and developed and could easily stand up against such a wave now. As we walk with God and grow and develop in our spiritual lives, we too can be strong. We are the church; God is alongside us!