Friday, December 23, 2011

How Important Is The Church?

Yesterday, I wasn't trying to start any controversy, but really wanted to know "Will You Go To Church On Christmas Day?" It is my feeling that many churches will be down in attendance, maybe not as sparse as this picture, but who knows. And honestly, I just do not get it. Let me first clarify some things I am saying, or really not saying.

I am NOT saying that we should necessarily go to church on Christmas day, whatever day it falls on. I have heard from some that have come out of the Roman Catholic church and feel like going to church on Christmas day is simply a ritual. That is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that when Christmas falls on a Sunday, a normal day that Christians normally gather, why not go? For instance, Christmas next year will be on Tuesday. I am not suggesting that the church should gather on that Tuesday.

Let me get to my point today. I said yesterday that I think the major reason why attendance will be down this Sunday is because I sense people do not fully understand the nature of the church. At the very root of the understanding of the church is the concept of gathering. That is specifically what the New Testament word Ekklesia means, the assembly or gathering. More than this, during the reformation, guys like Luther and Calvin, worked hard to define the true natures of a church. Their conclusions were that if a place preaches the Word of God, people listen to the Word of God, and the sacraments are administered in Christ's name (they would define these as baptism and communion), then a true church exists. Many later have added that the place is also organized under structured leadership.

It is this gathering of believers in Jesus to practice the sacraments and to listen to the preaching of God's Word that constitutes a church. This would mean then, that two couples getting together to talk about doctrine and Christ can be encouraging and beneficial, but it wouldn't be church. And this leads to an even deeper question. What is the purpose of the church? I would say that the church exists to the glory of God for the good of His people. The church gathers to worship God and to edify other Christians.

My final plea is that you do not play games with the church that Jesus is building (Matt. 16:18). He is building a church, not your family. He is building a church, not an earthly organization. It is all about Him. And if you are a Christian, when you were saved, you were placed into a new family. A Christian family. A church family. And until we realize that the family bows to the church instead of the church bowing to the family, we will always have questions like these. And guys like me will rant about the importance of the church over the family. I hope, to the glory of God and the good of His people.

Question: Is The Church Important To You?

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