You are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian – Ephesians 2:19b
We are called to belong, not just to believe. When you enter into God’s family through giving your life to Christ to be born-again, according to Romans 12:5,” though many, we are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” To Paul, being a ‘member’ of the church means being a vital organ of a living body. Yes, we are created for specific roles, but it’s possible to miss it if we’re not dedicated members of a living church in our local area. Our relationship with others, especially those of the household of faith helps us determine our role in life. One of my favorite songs puts it best: “I need you, you need me, we’re all a part of God’s body… you are important to me, I need you to survive.”
The church is not a building – it’s the people. We are not to neglect the church. We can, and should where necessary, offer well thought out suggestions for improvements, but we must remember that we are commanded to love our spiritual family.
Your local family: A Christian without a church home is in an unnatural state. Popular belief is now preaching that you can become a Christian without having a local church family, but God will disagree with that. Hebrews 10:25 send the message clearly, “Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Why you need a church home
i. A church family identifies you as a genuine believer: In John 13:35, Jesus said, “your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” It’s so powerful to watch people from different backgrounds come together to worship Christ as one!
ii. A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation: Church teaches us how to practice unselfish, sympathetic love… I Corinthians 12:26 says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” God endorses great relationships. In John 3:16, we are told that “just as Jesus laid down His life for the world, we should lay down our lives for our friends.” This doesn’t mean you need to put yourself in harms way by virtue of being a good friend, but be there for your friends, and offer them anything you have that they need.
iii. A church family helps you develop spiritual muscle: We don’t grow to maturity in Christ simply by attending services, we need to become workers in God’s house. We need more than the bible to mature spiritually. We need other believers who provide accountability in order for us to grow.
iv. The Body of Christ needs you: 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “a spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” Your local fellowship is the place God deigned for you to discover, develop, and use your gifts.
v. You will share in Christ’s mission in the world: The church is God’s instrument on earth. God works through us in the world. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
vi. A church family can keep you from backsliding: No one is immune to temptation. Given the right situation, we are capable of any sin. Hebrews 3:13 admonishes us to “encourage one another every day, while it is called today, so that not one of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” My friends know, the phrase “mind your own business” is not in my life mantra. Your business, is my business. Seriously. I can’t watch someone suffer and remain quiet. If we see some brethren wavering spiritually, it’s our responsibility to bring them back to Christ.
vii. It’s all in the church: God has created the church to help meet of 5 deepest needs:
purpose to live for
people to live with
principles to live by
professions to live out
power to live on.
In the same light, God’s purposes for the church are identical:
Worship helps you focus on God
Fellowship helps you face life’s problems
Discipleship helps fortify your faith
Ministry helps find your talents
Evangelism helps fulfill your mission.
Find a living church! There’s nothing else quite like it on earth.
Your choice: When a child is born, he/she becomes part of the human race, but needs a specific family to receive love, nurture and care to grow up strong and healthy. We can apply the same idea to being born-again. We automatically become a part of God’s family, but we also need to become a member of a ‘local’ expression of God’s family. The Christian life is not just a commitment to Christ, it’s also a commitment to other Christians.
Food for thought: Does my level of involvement in my local church demonstrate that I love and am committed to God’s family?