Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Your Church is The Body of Christ

In a recent commentary, Russ Moore from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has drawn some comparisons and conclusions regarding campus ministry. His thoughts are worth while. However, one quote caught my attention and I would like to build on it a bit.

Saying "I love Jesus" but hating the church is as irrational as saying to your best friend, "I like you--I just can't stand being around you." Your attitude toward the church tells you--simply--your attitude toward Jesus.

So, what is your attitude toward the church. I know many people (friends even) who hold to this, "I love Jesus, just not the church" kind of attitude. It has been my experience that most of these people don't have so much problem with the church as they do with authority. They resist the concept of anyone telling them what to do, and thus, the church does not fit into their "non-conformist Jesus" kind of lifestyle.

As Dr. Moore argues, the church is more than we give it credit for.

In the Bible, a local church--with all its ridiculous flaws--is an unveiling of the mystery of the universe (Eph 3:6). The church is in a one-flesh union with Jesus so that, as in a marriage, everything that belongs to Him belongs to her (Eph 5:22-33). A congregation, in covenant with one another as an assembly of Christ's people, is a colony of the coming global reign of Christ (Eph 1:22-23), a preview of what the Kingdom of Jesus will look like in the end (1 Cor 6:1-8). Where there is a covenant among believers, a disciplined community of faith, the spirit of Jesus is present among them, just as God was present among the people of Israel in the temple of old (Matt 18:15-20). When the church judges a repentant sinner to be a genuine believer, the congregation is speaking with the authority of Jesus when they plunge him beneath the waters (Matt 28:18-19). When the church judges an unrepentant sinner to be persistent in his rebellion, it is with the authority of Jesus that the congregation pronounces him to be a stranger to the people of God (1 Cor 5: 4-5; Matt 18:15-20). When we gather for worship as a congregation in covenant with one another, we are not simply fueling our individual quiet times with praise choruses. We are instead actually ascending to the heavenly places together, standing before Christ and all of his angels on Mount Zion (Heb 12:18-29).

So you've been burned in the church before, maybe you got your feelings hurt, but shouldn't you expect some of that? Let's be honest, who ever expected Christians to be perfect, you aren't. Are you truly out of church because you believe that to be the will of God, or is it the will of your flesh. Maybe you just don't like the way it's being done, or maybe you would rather spend a few extra hours on the lake. Either way, the real question you need to answer is not whether or not I will attend church, but whether or not I will obey God's command.

The church is the body of Christ, he promised to build it and he declared that it would be the vehicle through which his name would be proclaimed. Remember, even your church is part of Christ's body...will you honor him in and through his church?

Add to Technorati Favorites

No comments: