Pay Much Closer Attention

How To Keep The Church Alive – Until Jesus Comes!

By: Maynard H. Belt
State Representative
Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches

We all were on pins and needles recently when the news came of the nine miners who were trapped 240 feet underground for 77 hours, in a Pennsylvania coal-mine. My father, for a brief time as a young boy, worked in the coal mines of West Virginia and I recall him telling me of the dangers and constant fear of working “underground” in the darkness and dampness of unknown terrain. After a torrent of ground water, due to a fallen wall near them, was released into the area where they were working, rescuers, after three round-the-clock days of digging and drilling a 26-inch wide rescue shaft, lifted the miners to safety one by one. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stated that, “Those who saved them and those who prayed for them reflected on the remarkable triumph of engineering, technology and, most significantly, the human spirit.

In what most of the major networks and national newspapers called, “The Miracle at Quecreek,” these nine courageous miners decided early on that they were either going to live or die as a group. The 55 degree water threatened to kill them slowly by hypothermia, so according to one news report, “When one would get cold, the other eight would huddle around the person and warm that person, and when another person got cold, the favor was returned.” Miner Harry B. Mayhugh told reporters after being released from Somerset Hospital in Somerset that, “Everybody had strong moments. But any certain time maybe one guy got down, and then the rest pulled together. And then that guy would get back up, and maybe someone else would feel a little weaker, but it was a team effort. That’s the only way it could have been.”

These nine miners faced incredibly hostile conditions together — and they all came out alive together! As I listened to the stories of these men, I couldn’t help but think of how this scenario is such a beautiful portrait of the Body of Christ as recorded by Paul in I Corinthians 12. I do not have space to comment on this instructive passage of Scripture but please take time to read it for it clearly demonstrates how to keep the church alive until Jesus returns! Just as those nine miners faced incredibly hostile conditions, so the local church also faces such conditions today, both from within and without. The only way we are going to survive and maintain a “light for His glory” is to decide that we are going to do it together! Not individually, not as small groups, not as pastoral staffs, but TOGETHER! Each using the gift(s) that the Lord has given to us to profit “the body” and not just our own personal interests or agend! as. We all know of churches that have died because of such personal pursuits. Some may well be on their way right now!

Will you please allow me to exhort you, the pastors and members of our churches, to work together in accomplishing the plan and purposes of our Heavenly Father? On paper, we believe in the imminent return of Christ, but in our hearts, and in our actions, are we living in the light of this great truth?

During the great revivals in Northampton, USA, Jonathan Edwards and his people were so fearful of losing the blessing of God through division, that on March 16, 1742, they made a community resolution. As local churches, would we be so bold as to make such a covenant? At least, let’s think about it, and maybe even pray about it!

  1. In all our conversation, concerns, and dealings with our neighbors we will be honest, just and upright.
  2. If we wrong others in any way we will not rest until we have made restitution.
  3. We promise that we will not permit ourselves to indulge in any kind of backbiting.
  4. We will be careful not to do anything to others out of a spirit of revenge.
  5. When there is a difference of opinion concerning another’s rights, we will not allow private interest to influence us.
  6. We will not tolerate the exercise of enmity or ill will or revenge in our hearts.
  7. If we find that we have a secret grudge against another we will not gratify it but root it out.
  8. We will not allow over-familiarity in our talk with others, or anything that might stir up licentious behavior.
  9. We resolve to examine ourselves on a very regular basis, knowing that the heart is very deceitful.
  10. We will run with perseverance the race that is set before us, working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ……the body is not one member but many…there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another….you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” I Cor. 12:12, 14, 25, 27

© 2002 Maynard H. Belt
State Representative
Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches
From THE BARNABAS FILE
Volume 2 Number 24 8/16/02
"He….encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord." Acts 11:23