For those of us who have been baptized, our commitment is to God. Not to a church organization, not to our friends, not to our family members, not to the ministry, but to God. And if we know that the Bible is God's word, then our commitment includes believing and obeying the Bible.
Many brethren in the United Church of God are about to go through a trial in the Church. Not necessarily everyone will go through the trial. It may come sooner for some than for others. It will probably be harder for some than for others. For some, the trial has already started. For others, if may start in six months, a year, or two years. For some brethren the trial may not come at all. It has been fifteen years since United Church of God began, and just prior to that time the Church of God had gone through about 10 years of increasing trial as doctrinal change swept through the Church and the Church became scattered. In a sense, UCG was born in trial.
There have been splits from United Church of God before, probably the biggest being when Mr. David Hulme left and formed the Church of God, an International Community about three years after UCG was organized. A period of division has begun again, and this would be a good time for us to remind ourselves that in spite of the trials created by the mistakes, weaknesses, and unfaithfulness of men, God is faithful and He will be loyal to us if we are loyal to Him. As in any trial, we should place our trust and faith in God and look to the Bible to know his will, and then do it. Mr. Luker in his recent sermon called for members to set aside a day for fasting as they see fit. I would also suggest that this is a good time for members to get in the habit of spending more time in prayer and with the Bible. Decisions will have to be made, decisions that can have enormous consequences later, and drawing closer to God by spending more time in prayer and Bible study (and less time with TV and movies) may be a good way to improve our chances of having God's help and wisdom to make the right decisions. This may be a long trial.
"Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, And to Sarah who bore you; For I called him alone, And blessed him and increased him." (Isaiah 51:1-2). Notice that God says that He called Abraham alone. Abraham did not have a church to attend and a multitude of spirit-filled brethren to encourage him. Yet he and Sarah were faithful to God. Abraham BELIEVED God, and became the father of the faithful (Romans 4:3, James 2:23). God counted him as righteous because he believed what God told him (Genesis 15:6). He was obedient to God (Genesis 26:5, Hebrews 11:8-10) and was even willing to give up his own son to be loyal to God (Genesis 22:1-18, Hebrews 11:17-19).
Abraham believed, trusted, and obeyed God through every trial, and we have committed to God at baptism that we will do the same. And God is faithful and will not permit us to be tried more than we can stand (1 Corinthians 10:13).
No matter what mistakes men may make, no matter how men may prove unfaithful or fall short, God is faithful. "...Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar..." (Romans 3:4).
Our faith must not be in men, but in God. It is God who will help every converted member through his or her trials, including trials in the Church.
More to come...
Here are links to related sections in Preaching the Gospel:
Our Attitude and Approach Towards God's Word, Chapter 1
How to Understand the Bible, Chapter 1
The Source of Our Beliefs, Chapter 6
How Is the Church Organized?, Chapter 7
Proving the Truth, Chapter 6