Who Needs Church?

There are many people who go through life thinking that their relationship with God is just fine while they have little or no relationship with the church. The reasons they give for staying away from the assembly range from hypocrisy, real or imagined, to the idea that they can just as meaningfully worship at the fishing hole, in the garden or on the couch. The line from the Don Williams song rings true for them, “I don’t believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate.” Their view of Jesus may be that he simply wanted to spread a message of love. They may see the church as a non-vital body part like an appendix that they can just as easily do without.

No one can deny that the church is an imperfect thing. By its nature it will always be imperfect because it is made up of imperfect people just like the folks who criticize it for its imperfections. But neither can one deny the church’s rightful place and priority in the life of the Christian if we believe what the Bible says. The New Testament simply knows nothing of a faithful Christian who is willfully unattached to other Christians through corporate worship and spiritual fellowship.

Here are just a few of the truths that the New Testament teaches us about the church:

  • The church is the body of Christ (Colossians 1:24). To cut yourself off from the church is to be cut off from the body, to be amputated. The amputated hand is not only cut off from the arm but also from the head, who is Christ (Colossians 1:18). Let’s be real clear. The amputated body part dies. So does the amputated Christian.
  • The church is the bride of Christ (Hebrews 12:22 with Revelation 21:9). To leave the church is to walk out on Christ.
  • The church is the place where God is glorified (Ephesians 3:21). To leave the church is to be more concerned with what you want than what he wants.
  • The church is the household of God (1 Timothy 3:15). To leave the church is to leave God’s family. It is to be the prodigal son or daughter (Luke 15:11-32). And until we also, “come to our senses”, we’ll be sloppin’ with the pigs.
  • The church is the possession of God (1 Peter 2:9). To leave the church is to strike out on your own, to be your own man or woman, not God’s.
  • The church is the blood bought flock of God’s sheep (Acts 20:28). To go it on your own is to be repossessed by the world, living outside the care of God’s fold.

The church isn’t perfect as it exists on the earth. We’ve already established that fact and that’s news to no one. But it is perfect in its design because God is its Designer. God created it with the realization that it would be populated by imperfect people. A few of those imperfect people may be insincere hypocrites who have no interest in being truly transformed. God knows who they are. But the rest of them are conscientious men and women who are acutely aware of their own sin and shortcomings. They know they are not perfect in and of themselves. But they also know they are perfected by the One who is. So they stay with his church. You would do well to stay with it too. Otherwise you’ll spend longer than you bargained for with those hypocrites you allowed to keep you from the church.

Brad Fry

Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 10:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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