1 Timothy 3:15 – If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and buttress of the truth.
THEME OF THE DAY. JESUS, YES, CHURCH, YES. The highlight of the week for Christians is Sunday; the Lord’s Day. It is a day we look forward to each week with anticipation and expectation. As the day approaches, we begin to be filled with delight as we think about gathering with God’s people to enjoy the weekly family reunion He calls us to. Yes, Sundays are to be special for us. It is also to be a day so different than any other in the week. It is to be set apart for corporate worship, fellowship and growth.
As one reads the Bible, and especially the New Testament, and even more so the worship scene in the Revelation chapters four and five, what is noticeably absent is individualized scenes of service and worship. We do have them in the Psalms from David, but most of those occasions were because he was hindered in being in a corporate worship setting. He didn’t choose to absent himself from being with God’s people for worship. He was hindered. The greatest worship scenes in the Bible are not private but corporate in the gathering of God’s people. And that is one of the primary reasons for the church, our local assemblies.
I recently read an article in a Christian publication titled, “Jesus, Yes. Church, No.” It was focused on the growing number of professing Christians who say they love Jesus Christ, are committed to a personal relationship with Him, but do not attend any church nor see the need to be faithful and sacrificially committed to one. The article saddened me. I didn’t immediately with coldness and a Pharisee-like attitude, question the salvation of individuals adhering to the Jesus, yes, church, no crowd. I am not to read hearts. I don’t even know my own (Jeremiah 17:9). But the article reminded me of three things concerning church and Christians.
First, the Bible is clear that the church, yes, local visible assemblies, is God’s desire and chief means for reaching the lost and spiritually growing His children. If one simply reads the New Testament with an objective and teachable spirit, the conclusion is clear. Church matters. Church is important. And God expects, even demands, His people immerse themselves in the body life of His church. Simply put, “Jesus, Yes. Church, No”, is in direct conflict with the Bible.
A second thing about the church and Christians is that the local church is God’s means of showing forth a unified witness of who He is, His love, and His work in the world. Think about it. Our individual witness and work for the Gospel is simply limited due to it being a “one person” work; individualized and private. Not so with the church. When we band together for prayer, worship, and the work of the Gospel, it is a mobilized force able to put forth a powerful community witness of love and service for the Lord Jesus. Our culture is increasingly more individualized, independent, and private. This is creeping into the lives of Christians and produces a serious spiritual deception of “Jesus, yes, church no.” There is no Biblical support for a private and individual Christian life. And what gets lost if we practice this or think this is right is the powerful influence of the church alive in her communities.
Thirdly, the church is the gathering of God’s people where we love and help each other in spiritual growth. The Lord’s Day alone is a means of holding each other spiritually accountable to be faithful. We need each other and we simply cannot grow with each other and love each other when absent from each other. And remember, we are gathering with family and family flocks together, sticks together, and stays together. Perhaps the “Jesus, yes, church no”, crowd has never fully grasped this truth that a commitment to the church is a commitment to God’s forever family.
God in His great wisdom has given us the church. It is a big deal to Him and should be for us. It isn’t “Jesus, yes, church no”. It is “Jesus, Yes. Church, Yes.”
PRAYER: “Lord, I praise You for Your wisdom in forming Your church.”
QUOTE: “God delights in corporate worship and promises to meet us there. Why miss such times?”