Jul 18, 2012
For too many people church is nothing more than attending meetings.
But in the New Testament, church meant being part of a community.
That’s what I’m urging you to be part of — a church community.
What that means
It means being part of a group of people who —
- Drink of the Spirit together (1Cor 12:13)
- Deeply love each other (Rom 12:10)
- Weep with each other’s weeping (Rom 12:15)
- Bear each other’s burdens (Gal 6:5)
- Speak the truth of God’s Word to each other (Eph 4:15)
- Pray with each other (Acts 2:42)
- Advance the Gospel together (Phil 1:27)
There’s more – but you get the idea.
In the New Testament — church is not just meetings you attend — it’s a community of believers you know and love.
What’s one reason you MUST be part of a church community?
It’s because as a believer you are part of the body of Christ (1Cor 12:13).
This is not just theory. This means you are to be part of a local community of believers.
You are like a hand — which is supposed to be joined to a physical body.
Why MUST a hand be joined to a body?
One reason is — to survive.
Yes. That’s implied in Hebrews 3:12-14 — where we are urged to exhort each other daily lest anyone’s heart fall from God.
In the book of Hebrews falling from God implies being lost forever.
So the reason we need to be part of a community which gives and receives daily exhortation is so we won’t be lost forever.
But what about eternal security?
I believe in eternal security — but like John Piper says — eternal security is a group project.
Your brothers and sisters need your encouragement to keep persevering in the faith.
And you need their encouragement to keep persevering in the faith.
A severed hand
Think of Paul’s analogy of church as a body — and of yourself as a hand.
If you are not part of a community of believers — it’s like you are a hand that’s been severed from a body.
If a severed hand doesn’t reattach to the body — and receive blood, oxygen, and nutrients from the body — it will die.
And if you don’t attach to a body of believers — and receive the spiritual blood, oxygen, and nutrients from the body — you will die.
That’s why you must be part of a church community — to survive.
But maybe at this point some excuses come to mind —
But it takes energy to find a church
Yes. It does.
But unless you are living in a closed country which has not yet been reached by the Gospel — God has a nearby church He has chosen for you — and He will guide you to it.
(And if you are living in a closed country — He will sustain you by His grace until He raises one up.)
It might take some energy. But until you find it — you are a severed hand.
So pray earnestly. And start looking.
But I’ve been hurt by church in the past.
That happens. It’s tragic. And I can’t guarantee you won’t be hurt again.
But you are a hand which needs to be joined to a body.
Better to risk possible hurt than risk spiritual death.
So — ask God to heal your heart from the past hurt.
And then ask God to lead you to what church He has for you. He will.
But I don’t like the worship or the preaching or the age of the people.
Remember — apart from a local community of believers — you are a severed hand.
So if the worship is Christ-centered it makes no difference if it’s off-key — you need the blood.
If the preaching is Bible-based it makes no difference if it’s monotone — you need the oxygen.
If the people trust Jesus it makes no difference their age — you need the nutrients.
Any Christ-centered worship — any Bible-based preaching — any group of believers — is better than none.
God has a church for you
He will give you all the grace, wisdom, and strength you need to find it.
So pray — and lift this up to Him.
Ask Him for wisdom.
He will guide you — help you — provide for you.
Picture a severed hand — blue from lack of blood, oxygen, nutrients — coming back to life as it’s reattached.
Thoughts? Feedback? Comments?
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And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
From My Wife: "How God Freed Me Through A Spiritual Gift"
What I Learned About How To Be More Loving
When Martin Luther Was Struggling
How Jesus Changed My Heart About A Christmas Party
(Picture is by john-p from everystockphoto.)