The Local Church is crucial to the life of a believer. When we are born again we are adopted into a family and we become part of the body of Christ. How should we view the Church, and what is so important about the Church? Why is it crucial to the life and growth of a believer?
Paul says in Ephesians 2:19-22, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
The Danger of Walking Alone
Walking alone is not good. We are called throughout scripture to be committed to the church (Heb. 10:24-25) and bind ourselves to one another (Gal. 6:2). This bond we form between each other as believers, restores us in a spirit of gentleness (Gal. 6:1), encourages and builds us up (1 Thess. 5:11; Heb. 10:25), brings unity, sympathy, love, tender-heartedness, and humility (1 Pt. 3:8). These blessings are manifested unto us as we continually engage in community and fellowship with one another. To neglect these things would be to deny the body of Christ in some measure and to give up the blessings of God.
Walking alone is dangerous because when we walk alone we isolate ourselves from the church body. The church is not like a body, it is a body. Can a part of a physical body survive if it is not directly attached? Absolutely not! So how much more does a believer need the body of Christ? From it we get the very nutrients needed to sustain us, and even more so we grow in our knowledge and love for Christ.
A Proper View of The Church
A great example of what the church should look like that I always turn to is Acts 2:42-47.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
In Acts we see a body dedicated. The early church was truly a family, and as a family they sat under the authority and teaching of word by the apostles day in and day out, and not only did they subject themselves but they dedicated themselves. One thing particularly peculiar about this church in Acts is that they met with each other every single day, and this is the point we need to change.
We view church as a once a week activity. We as a western church live dual lives. On Sunday we go to church, we participate in fellowship with the church “family,” worship with the church “family,” preaching with the church family, and praying with the church “family.” But just as soon as we leave those doors on Sunday we seem to forget about the church “family.” Now I am not saying that every single person in my church and in churches across America do this, I am saying that a vast majority of the church in America is like this. It is a habitual practice of “church people” to attend Sundays and go on about their week as if they do not know Christ. We neglect Him, His word, and His family Monday through Saturday.
So, am I saying that we need to be in church every single day? Not at all. Quite the opposite. What I am saying is that church on Sundays should be an overflow of our week together as a family. We need to be devoting ourselves together “day by day” just like the Church in Acts was doing. And it disgust me when I hear people say, “Oh, well, we are just too busy to be doing that, we have a family to be with.” You don’t think the early Church members were busy? They had fields to take care of and actual work to do that required physical labor. They didn’t get cushy desk Jobs with set hours.
You don’t think that the early Church had family as well? In fact I would bet that a majority of people in that Church in Acts had family members that were murdered for the sake of Christ on their way to hear the preaching of the word or to gather with the Body. Secondly, it is correct that we have a family to be with, and that family is the Church Body. We ought to love one another just as we love our immediate family. We ought to devote ourselves to one another just as we devote ourselves to immediate family.
It is time we change our view of Church. Church is not a once a week get together to complain about life’s struggles and get prayed for. Church is a day in and day out dedication to the Body of Christ. You’re excuses are nothing. No excuse will ever excuse you from the body of Christ, and when I say no excuses I mean no excuses. It is time we stop viewing our lives as believers as individual. Re-form the way you view the Church today.