Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What Is the Church?

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” 

(Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

            When we think of the word “church”, a certain image comes to mind.  For most of us, the image is that of a building.  Perhaps it’s the image of a sanctuary.

            However, the word “church” literally means “assembly.” The church is, essentially, the people of God.  It’s the gathering together of his faithful.

            In our day and age, church has little to do with the gathering together of the body of believers.  For most of us, it’s simply the one hour each week that come for worship.  We come to sing the songs, to pray the prayers, and to hear the message.  But we don’t truly desire to interact with one another.   As soon as the service is over, we’re out the door.

            Most of us, today, think of the Christian faith as “Jesus and me.” We don’t think that our faith has anything to do with the church, the people of God.  And this contributes to the low priority we place on gathering together.

            In one sense, this thinking is correct.  Scripture tells us that we’re saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus.  We aren’t saved by the faith of anyone else.  However, that being said, we have been called to make disciples.  We’ve been called to edify the body of Christ.  We’ve even been called to receive ministry from the church.  And these are not things we can do by isolating ourselves.

The Christian faith was never meant to be lived alone.  As we see in the above passage, we’re not to neglect meeting together.  We’re, instead, to consider how we might stir up one another to love and good works.  We’re to encourage one another.  And we’re to do so more and more as we see the Day, as we see the return of Christ, drawing near.

            We’re to seek ways that we might build up one another in faith.  We’re to encourage one another in the expression of our faith.  And this isn’t merely a one-time thing.  It’s ongoing.  It’s something we’re to do continually.  It’s something we’re to do more and more.

            When understood properly, gathering together with the church should be a priority for us.  It shouldn’t be done only when we have the time.  It should be something so important that we wouldn’t miss it.

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