God's Church is Essential Part 3
Many people who are not of the church today understand the church as a building. Now we who are the church understand that, that is not the biblical understanding of the church. The church is more than just a building.
If fact, The word “church” is a translation of the Greek word ekklesia, which can be defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.”
The root meaning of church is not that of a building, but of people. It is ironic that when you ask people what church they attend, they usually identify a building.
The church is the body of Christ, of which He (Christ) is the head.
22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) until Christ’s return. Biblically, we may regard the church in two ways, as the universal church or as the local church.
The universal church
The local church
The universal church consists of everyone, everywhere, who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
This verse says that anyone who believes is part of the body of Christ and has received the Spirit of Christ as evidence. All those who have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ comprise the universal church.
The local church is described in Galatians 1:1–2:
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
Here we see that in the province of Galatia there were many churches—they had a localized ministry and were scattered throughout the province. They were local churches. A Baptist church, a Lutheran church, an E-Free church, etc., is not the church, as in the universal church; rather, it is a local church, a local body of believers.
Now with that part of church understood what makes church so essential or important.
The Bible tells us we need to attend church so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth. The early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
We are to follow that example of devotion—and to the same things. Back then, they had no designated church building, but
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
Wherever the meeting takes place, believers thrive on fellowship with other believers and the teaching of God’s Word.
Church isn’t essential because church gathering together is a “good suggestion”; No its essential because it is God’s will for believers to gather together.
Hebrews 10:25 says we should
25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers. Perhaps it was because of persecution or some other reason they began to fall away. Nevertheless, it is God’s will that we gather together in one accord praise God through acts of worship and growing through the teaching of His Word.
We need the encouragement that church gathering affords. And the approach of the end times should prompt us to be even more devoted to going to church.
The church provides a place for all who love God to grow together in love for one another...
God’s church is essential because it is the place where
believers can love one another (1 John 4:12),
encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13),
“spur” one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24),
serve one another (Galatians 5:13),
instruct one another (Romans 15:14),
honor one another (Romans 12:10), and
be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).
When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, he or she is made a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
For a church body to function properly, all of its “body parts” need to be present and working (1 Corinthians 12:14–20).
14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
It’s not enough to just attend a church; we should be involved in some type of ministry to others, using the spiritual gifts God has given us (Ephesians 4:11–13).
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
A believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without having that outlet for his gifts, and we all need the assistance and encouragement of other believers (1 Corinthians 12:21–26).
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
For these reasons and more, God’s church is essential. And through the gathering together, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer’s life.
Now before someone starts to misunderstand or even question somethings about the requirements of gathering together in church let me just state that there are many within the body of Christ who are physically unable to attend a local congregation. Those individuals have a deep rooted desire to gather with their church family but because of physical limitations can not come.
There is no where in scripture that says that the believer is required to attend in order to maintain a spiritual closeness to God or closeness to the God’s people.
In fact Jesus did say that God desires to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. Which means that those who are born in God’s spirit has then the spirit of God to equips them to worship God correctly and they have God’s holy word (The truth) readily available to now God’s revealed word to them which in turn will produce a true, acceptable act of worship.
So as a church family who have people who are unable to make it to church gatherings due to physical limitation (Madie and Glenn Deavers, Mary Sorrells, Bobby Sutterfield, Rose Mary Pierce, Peggy Vernon) let us not forget who they are - so we can call them, write them, connect with them in some way to pray for them, encourage them and show them they are not forgotten but they to are valuable and needed and still used of God.
Jesus is the Cornerstone of the Church (1 Peter 2:6), and we are “like living stones . . . being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
As the building materials of God’s “spiritual house,” we naturally have a connection with one another, and that connection is evident every time the Church “goes to church.”
Is God’s Church Essential? YES, Yes it is.