See if you find a common theme in these greetings and words from St. Paul:
To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7
At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem in a ministry to the saints; Romans 15:25
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. 1 Corinthians 1:2
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the saints throughout Achaia 2 Corinthians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus Ephesians 1:1
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi. Philippians 1:1
To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae Colossians 1:2
Did you see it? There were saints in Rome, Jerusalem, Corinth, Achaia, Ephesus, Philippi and Colossae. The big question for today is where have all the saints gone? Where are the saints in Flint, Grand Blanc, Fenton, Davison, Swartz Creek, Clio and Flushing? Where are the saints in your home town?
We need more saints.
Saints aren’t white haired pew dwellers who had served Jesus in the sweet by and by and now are waiting to be taken to Glory. Saints are committed to holiness. Saints love Jesus and His church through thick and thin. Saints are generous. Saints refuse to gossip. Saints don’t give up when things get tough. Saints defend the weak. Saints have their pastor’s back. Saints are loyal. Saints endure, press on, and are committed to the very end. Yes, we need more saints.
There are a lot of saint wannabes. They post Bible verses on social media a lot. They blabber holy platitudes. They stick with a church for a little while, and then move on when someone offends them (and someone is always offending them). The pastor isn’t perfect and they will tell you why. They love mentioning “prayer requests” (read: un-sanctified gossip). They give subtle hints of their generosity (the church treasurer and Jesus know the stingy truth). They like to toot their own horn. We don’t need more saint wannabes, we need the real deal.
At every graveside service, the preacher reads from Revelation 14: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” But just before mentioning dead folks, John the Revelator issues an appeal for strength and perseverance to the living. He wrote: Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:2). That’s what we need. Not wannabes, but those saints who are keeping the commandments of God and holding fast to Jesus.
I met with some saints this week. The love Jesus and His bride, the church. They have all the good qualities listed above (and then some) and none of the bad. They have endured and kept the faith. It was a blessing to be with them. We rejoiced with how God is working in our church. We ended our time in prayer. It was a joy. But as I left our meeting, I thought, “They aren’t building them like that anymore. Where have all the saints gone?”