“I believe in Jesus but I don’t need organized religion.”
“I can worship in my own way I don’t need to be with other Christians.”
These are phrases you commonly hear in our country. The majority of people in our country would say they are Christians (around 83%) but only a small portion of them are a part of church body (around 20%).
As you can see there is a huge disconnect with people in our country when it comes to saying they are a Christian and being a part of a body of believers. People will cite many reasons for this from believing you can live a fruitful Christian life on their own, they don’t see the point in “going to church”, bad experiences they have had that pushed them away from the church, all the church wants is my money, the church is just about big buildings and programs now, the church is full of hypocrites, etc…the list could really go on and on. However, I believe it is crucial that if we claim to be Christians that we look at what Christ actually said about the church.
We need to realize that Jesus Christ was the founder of the church! Jesus equipped his disciples to be witnesses to the ends of the earth and sent the Holy Spirit to empower them as they built the church. The Church was not just a side thought for Jesus. The church was not something that the disciples thought up on their own. The Church is the bride of Christ! Imagine for a moment that you were at your wedding reception with your bride and someone came up to you and said, “Man I love you, but your bride she is so nasty ugly, I can’t stand her.” Would you just say, “That’s cool…don’t worry about it at least you like me.” No way! You would probably would want to punch them in the mouth. If we claim to be a Christian then being a part of the church is crucial to our faith because it is Christ’s bride.
1. The Church is the body of Christ
In 1 Corinthians 12:12 says, “For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body-so also is Christ.” We are the body of Christ together. We weren’t meant to live out the faith on our own just us and Christ. We were meant to be a body of believers together living out this faith as one.
In 1 Corinthians 12 it goes on to tell us that God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as he wanted. None of us are less important than another. There are many parts but one body and none of us can say to another I don’t need you because that would be like the hand saying, “I don’t belong to this body” or an ear saying, “because I am not an eye I don’t belong to the body.” This wouldn’t make any sense at all. If we are in Christ we are made to be a part of the body of Christ! We are made to have concern for one another so if one of us is struggling then all the members suffer with it and if one member is honored, then all the members rejoice with it.
God has not made us to be lone ranger Christians where we just venture out in our faith on our own but he wants us to be together to love, support, challenge, rebuke, mourn, grieve, laugh, and worship with one another!
More to come on Monday!
Special thanks to Adam Hamilton for his wisdom in his book “Leading Beyond the Walls” which inspired me to write these next several posts.