Fear of Outsiders – Need for Community
The Fear is Real
Scripture: Acts 20:28-29
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.
The Apostle Paul is giving a farewell speech to the body of believers at Ephesus. The Apostle had a very close relationship with this group. His heart for them to be protected from those who might come in among them, distorting God’s truth, is obvious. He is challenging the leaders of this community to be shepherds of the church of God. Later, Paul refers to those that would infiltrate their ranks with a distorted message as “savage wolves.” Yes, the danger was real. Outsiders, as defined here, should be feared. God’s people must come together and form a community of strength against such foes.
We should have this same fear in today’s church. We should fear any outside voice that might get in and cause dissension or disunity. Our fear of outsiders does not refer to those without Christ who need a Savior. We want to open our arms in every way to those looking for hope in a hopeless world. Outsiders that we fear are those who “pretend” to be Christ followers but are not walking worthy of that title. These “pretenders” can slip in among us and cause arguments and fights among God’s people.
The need for community among God’s people is clear. We must have Spirit-filled and Spirit-led leaders that are overseers of our “flock.” Those who refuse to join ranks with a community of believers become easy “prey” for those extremists that will take the opportunity to distort the truth!
Father, help me to stay away from the fringes by getting deeply involved with a community of believers – where it’s safe! In Jesus’ Name, amen.