Nr.155 ended with: “But the enemy didn’t sit still either and difficulties arose in our church in Beerse………..!” (See richardandmarina.net).
That difficulties arose in the small church in Beerse, was in a way, not strange. Look at the N.T. churches. Paul writes to the Galatians, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.” Gal.1:6. “So soon!’ Yes, wrong teaching was coming in already. That is one problem that arises, but of course there are others. One of the most common difficulties is relationships. That is also the greatest problem in the world, from fights to marriage problems to family feuds to outright wars. Jesus came to restore relationships, first of all between God and men, and then between people, but that doesn’t go automatically and takes effort.
There was no false doctrine coming into the church in Beerse, but there was some friction between some believers, others were having marriage problems and some were becoming lukewarm. There was also a lack of leadership, and all this together caused the attendance to go down, and seeing it was a small church already, this was disappointing. One Sunday morning when I arrived there, there were only five people at the meeting, very sad and discouraging. Some friends figured I was wasting my time and they suggested closing the place and letting the Christians go to another church in the next town.
I drove home and went to my study, took my Bible and got down on my knees by a chair with the Bible open before me at Matt.16. I started praying and reading the words of Jesus in verse 18, “….. I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” I said, “Lord Jesus, these are your words. You said that You would build your church. You said that the gates of hell would not prevail against it, but Lord Jesus, in Beerse the gates of hell are prevailing, are You going to allow that? I will visit people, I will preach and teach, but You must build your church.” I prayed on like this for quite some time. Today there is a church in Beerse with about 45 people, which is not bad for a European Catholic country. They have their own building and two elders are leading the church. Evangelism is taking place and last year several people were baptized, praise the Lord. In 1997 the Henry Heikoop family came from Canada to Beerse and lived and worked there for three years. They were a great help in many ways and had a wonderful testimony in the town.
I wrote this to show that there is a battle going on, that there is an enemy, but at the same time, that there is a way to beat him. It is by prayer and standing on the Word of God.
Our home was often a busy place, three churches were started in our living room, and mom and dad were pretty involved, which wasn’t always so easy for our children……….! (Go to Musings).