How important is the church to me?
Teaching the church membership ABF along with preaching Isaiah 54 causes me to stop and contemplate the importance of the church in my life. Yes, even as a pastor, I easily allow the ordinary “stuff of life” to interfere and take the place of what ought to be important. If I have this problem, chances are many share the same challenge.
Take a few minutes to read this post. Please, don’t rush your way through for the sake of completing another task. Take your time and think about the questions. Be honest before God. I trust the post will renew your vision of the church and encourage you to continue to serve the church for the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior.
Let’s be willing to reflect on the importance of the church.
Do we ask ourselves the question, “How important is the church to me?” In asking the question, let’s break it down to practical questions. Here are a few questions that come to mind.
- As we put together our agenda for the week or month, how should the church fit into our calendar?
- What priority ought the church be given over our family or extended family?
- Should we allow the church “access” to our lives? When does elder involvement become an invasion of our privacy?
- How much of our talent and resources ought to be invested in the church compared to other areas of our daily living?
- Does our view of the church reflect our view of Jesus?
The Bible explicitly speaks about the importance of the church. Sometimes, when reading the New Testament, we see that our culture and view of the church appears to be different than the first-century believers. Incidentally, when the Bible speaks of the church, it seldom speaks of the church “universal.” The majority of writings about the church in the New Testament speak in the context of the local church.
The Importance of the Church as defined by Scripture
We all agree that we need to be in unity with God. Therefore, when it comes to how we think of the church, we need to agree with Scripture. We are in danger if our views and interactions with the church are shaped by our preferences rather than letting the Bible direct our thoughts and actions.
Here are a few striking examples of how the Bible ascribes importance to the church.
The church is the instrument for bringing about Christ’s Kingdom (Luke 24:46-48) –Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. God is exalting Jesus as head over all things. A King needs a kingdom. God is using the church to gather the kingdom in which His Son will rule and reign.
The church reveals the diverse wisdom of God to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10) – God is showcasing His wisdom to all the spiritual hosts through the church. The church displays God’s work of atonement and unifying of rebellious creatures through the ministry of His Son.
The church is founded by Jesus, the Cornerstone (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:19-22) – Jesus establishes the church. He assigns His disciples with the task of building the church and establishing it in every locale of the earth. He is the Cornerstone upon which the church is built, having everything line up with Him. God sees the church as a temple upon the earth in which His Spirit dwells.
The church is identified with Jesus as His body (Colossians 1:18; Acts 9:4) – Think of how important our body is to our head. The Bible uses the metaphor of the head and the body to help us understand the relationship between Jesus and the church. The church is an integral part of Jesus. Jesus loves the church and sees it as important in the same way we see our arms, lungs, digestive system, and muscles as important to us.
The church is purchased with the blood of Jesus (Acts 20:28) – We assign value in life based on the purchase price. The higher the price, the more valuable the item. The church is purchased with the blood of Christ. What more needs to be said regarding the value and importance of the church?
Every member of the church is important
Let’s take our view of the church one step further. In addition to examining our view of the church as a local body, we also need to examine our view of how we fit into the local church as members. A few more questions come to mind.
- Does God value my membership? Is it important to Him?
- Is my membership important to others in the church?
- If I neglect the church, am I hurting or negatively impacting others within the church body?
- Does my contribution matter? Do I think too little of the positive impact I make when I attend or serve?
- Does my view of church importance reflect negatively on my Savior?
Let’s allow the Bible to speak on the importance of our individual involvement in the local body.
Each member causes growth – (Ephesians 4:11-16) It is worthwhile to read Ephesians 4 to see the value of the individual within the church. The leadership of the church is responsible to equip church members. The equipping is for the ministry of the member (not the church corporately). God sees the ministry of the individual as very important. We are all being fitted and held together by the individual. If one individual is missing or fails to contribute, the body suffers growth. Every member brings growth to the church Jesus founded.
Each member needs each other (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) – Most Christians are familiar with the passage in 1 Corinthians which equates the church with the physical body. If one member suffers, the entire church suffers. There is no member more honorable than another. Members may not say they do not need the other members. Each member brings a valuable contribution to the church. Each member is different, by design.
God clearly sees each person within the body as an integral and important part of the church. We need to be sure our view aligns with God’s view.
Christ Community Church Covenant
We are people who need reminders. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we need to be renewed in our commitment. Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of our church covenant.
As members of Christ Community Church, we view the church as being very important. When we become members, we agree to uphold the church covenant. The church covenant is a promise – a promise made to God, to other members in the church, and one’s self. The church covenant is a biblically based, series of pledges which summarize how we agree to conduct ourselves as members. We agree to a commitment – a commitment to God, to the gospel, and one another. The Covenant of Christ Community Church asks a series of questions which every member responds in the affirmative.
- Will you make every effort to make the Bible, not your own or anyone else’s opinion, not your preferences or feelings, the standards by which you will govern your life?
- Will you faithfully study the Scriptures and seek to preserve purity in practice and beliefs in your own life and the life of the church?
- Will you be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in this local church by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, being united in the spirit, and being intent on one purpose with Christlike humility?
- Will you seek to exercise your God-given spiritual gifts to build up the believers in this local church and do all you can to stimulate them to love and good deeds?
- Will you diligently seek to advance the cause of Christ through this local church by your regular attendance, financial contributions, and the sacrificial giving of your time, talent and resources to meet the needs of others in the church family?
- Will you commit to teaching biblical truth to your family and acquaintances, as God gives you the opportunity, with a desire to see them come to trust Jesus Christ and be saved?
- Will you commit to faithfully praying for the ministry leaders, people, and ministries of this local church?
- Will you respect, support, cooperate with, obey and submit to the loving leadership of this church as they exercise their biblical responsibilities of shepherding the members of this church in accordance with Scripture?
- Will you commit to receiving love, encouragement, teaching, admonishment, comfort, and exhortation from members of your church family with a genuine desire to grow in the knowledge of Christ and His Word?
To all these questions, we reply, “Yes, I will.”
Closing and Prayer
Let’s all take a moment to reflect upon the church. Let’s reflect upon the importance of the church to God. Let’s meditate upon our commitments as members. And, most of all, let’s think about what a great gift God gives us when He adopts us as His child and places us lovingly within the fellowship and community of believers.
Father in heaven, we are thankful for our Salvation. We have hope of eternal life, and we enjoy the unfathomable riches of Christ. You love us and care for us. As a demonstration of Your great love, You save us with the blood of Christ, and You place us in the church where we may grow and be conformed into the image of Christ our Lord. Thank you for the gift of the church. Forgive us when we don’t value it or serve the church as we ought. Renew our heart with a passion for the church, and the mission of the gospel. We ask for our joy and satisfaction, and for the glory of the Head of the church, our Savior Jesus Christ, for it is in His name we approach Your throne.