Today we begin the book of 2 Thessalonians. It's one of Paul's letters written to a church of new believers. And believe it or not, though there are lots of things that are going right in this church, there are also a few problems.
Sometimes we look at the early church like everything was perfect and every Christian had it all together. This book, like the rest of the New Testament, readily disabuses us of this notion. Who else would we expect to find in a church but people with problems and failings, who are as wrong about some things as they are right about others, who sometimes fall woefully short of the example set for us in Jesus?
In short, who else would we expect to find in our local churches but PEOPLE JUST LIKE US.
Churches are full of imperfect people. They all have problems. They all have issues. That's the way it's always been. Until Jesus comes again, that's the way it will always be.
What is really needed today is people who, like the Apostle Paul, will not use this as an excuse to distance themselves from the church in general or local churches in particular, but will commit themselves all the more deeply to one another and by God's grace, forge ahead. That, I think, is what the kind of love Jesus commends to his followers (who he prays will be one) is all about.