As Country Bible Church has grown we’ve learned to pay closer attention to those who are permitted to serve in ministries at the church. We’ve even established a requirement for background checks and/or police record checks for serving in certain ministries. It is important that we take the necessary steps to protect those of the community from potential danger.

Ezra’s genealogies in chapters 1 and 2 lists those with good record checks and those who have not passed a records check. The genealogical lists of those in the community represented those with family connections, i.e., references that vouch for the individual’s moral and ethical character. There must be a connection to the community that will guarantee the individual embraces the values and standards of the community.  In verse 62 we read after a records check on the background of certain priests “…they were not found there, and ?so they were excluded from the priesthood.”

The reestablishment of the community of worshippers in Israel after the captivity required care. Ezra did not want to allow into their membership those people who could not demonstrate that they fully embraced the standards and values of the community. Ezra knew that a community that gave no attention to the preservation of its values and standards was doomed to see those values and standards deteriorate and sooner or later disappear from the community.

Israel gradually embraced the values of the peoples of the land. That’s what caused their downfall. The same is true for many professing Christians. C.S. Lewis said, “The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.” Jude 20-21 (NLT)