We have just celebrated the bicentenary of the chapel’s existence. That does not mean God’s church wasn’t in West Row prior to that. The church is not a building, the church is God’s people and yes, some of God’s people in West Row meet in the building commonly known as the chapel. Some of God’s true church have been meeting in the chapel for 200 years but unfortunately over the past 2 centuries and even today there are people who do not belong to God’s church who come to the chapel regularly or just from time to time.
To be a member of God’s universal church means you have to trust in His Son, the Lord Jesus and in Him only, to make you acceptable in God’s sight. In John 14:6 we read, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” You cannot make yourself acceptable to God – it does not matter how hard you try to do what is right, how much money you donate to great causes or how many times you attend services in the chapel or another place of worship – these things don’t make you acceptable to God! Again it tells us in Isaiah 64:6 that our best deeds are like “filthy rags” in His sight.
There are those who believe that simply coming along to special celebrations like Harvest Thanksgiving Services earn them “Brownie Points” with God. That too is at best wishful thinking and at worst full blown satanic deception. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to attend all services but it has to be done with the right motives and with the correct understanding and conviction that it is only the Lord Jesus Christ who makes us acceptable in God’s eyes.
When we believe that and it is evident in how we live our lives, then things like the Harvest Celebrations take on such great significance. As we sing harvest songs and hymns, read God’s Word, the Bible, and as we view the beautiful harvest displays that accompany the celebrations we are reminded just how good God has been to us and how good He is to us now! However, for others, each harvest time that goes by is just another gracious warning that there is a God, that He is the great designer and sustainer of all things and that one day He is going to return to right all wrongs.
The harvest is frequently used as an illustration in the Bible to warn people that the world that we live in will come to an end and that all people will then stand before God and give an account of how they have lived their lives. God is clear that it is only those who have placed their trust in Jesus, who have believed that He paid the penalty for their sin when He died on the cross and have willingly submitted themselves to Him and are obediently carrying out His commands who will be welcomed into heaven.
All others, God warns, will spend eternity paying the price for their own sin! I would suggest that it’s time to be absolutely honest with yourself. What does harvest time mean to you? Is it just another time of year or is it a time to thank God for His rich blessings to you in providing your physical needs through food and your spiritual needs through the Lord Jesus? Your answer to this will inform you if you are part of His Church or not. If not, why not ask Him to be gracious to you and reveal Himself to you this Harvest time?
May the Great Creator whose power is displayed day by day by an unwearied sun, create in you a pure heart and renew in you a steadfast spirit.
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