Christians should never feel that they can overstate the importance of the body of Christ. They should never stop talking about it with fondness and love. Whether we refer to it as “The Church” or “The Kingdom,” this institution which was created by God through His only begotten son Jesus Christ, is one that I love. It is my prayer that not only I but all members of the body of Christ never forget its importance.
First, I love the Church because it provides a unified and definitive way to worship God with fellow believers.
In our ever changing world, the need to update, adjust and accommodate the masses has made its way into most groups who profess Christ. However, the Bible tells us of how we should worship God. As a body, we should be unified in Christ (Ephesians 4:4-6 & I Corinthians 1:10ff). Our worship, therefore, should also be done in unity and performed in a manner that is orderly, performed with a sincere heart before God, and done to magnify God.
In the nearly 2,000 years since the Church was established on this earth, the parameters for how we are to worship God have been in place and have not been altered. The holy scriptures tell us that we are:
- to sing (Ephesians 5:19, Col 3:16),
- to pray (I Thessalonians 5:17, James 5:14-15)
- to study the scriptures: teaching and preaching (Acts 20:7, II Timothy 2:15)
- to take up a collection for the saints (I Corinthians 16:1-2)
- to remember the sacrifice of Christ through the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-28, I Corinthians 11:23-29)
Those components have been in place since the first century. These basic elements of worship allow for those in the body of Christ to worship and give praise to our heavenly Father in a cohesive, unified manner. Man, however, has allowed his desire and pleasure to usurp what God has permitted for approved and orderly worship; and in doing so has created divisiveness which I believe is the catalyst for the countless groups who profess Christ in our world today. Still, the scriptures tell us what acceptable worship is, and that worship is what is found within the Lord’s Church.
Secondly, I love the Church because it provides a refuge on earth for enduring worldly cares.
In Hebrews 10:24-25, the Hebrews author instructions the 1st century Christians to encourage one another, not forsaking the assembling of themselves as was the custom of some. The author was aware of the worldly struggles that the brethren would endure. Not only did they have to worry about the struggles of temptation and sin but, the 1st century Christians also struggled with the desire and peer pressure of returning to the old law.
Today’s world is no different. Though the struggles appear to be more intense, the sinfulness appears to be more outward, and the pull to return to our prior state pulls at our hearts and minds, the world, in general, has always provided its share of lures. These lures continually strive to pull us towards anything that is opposed to the Lord’s Church. Alone, all Christians are at risk of being pulled or lured back into the world and its destructive ways.
Within the Church, there is a refuge on earth. The body of believers, with their focus on its head Jesus Christ, is to be working constantly and to be aware of the weaknesses that abound within itself. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, “And we urge you brother, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”. This command and admonition are to be done with the love of God at its heart (I John 4:7ff). Furthermore, we are to strive to be a unified body with our many parts (or members) serving the one body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12-31).
Another reason for why I love the Church is that it provides a glimpse into who my fellow inhabitants of heaven might be.
Continuing with the previous point of being a place of refuge and encouragement on earth, as we are working to build up one another as well as preach to the lost in this life, we are doing so as a means of preparation for the life to come.
The conversion of the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts, as well as the letters he would send throughout the world, is a testament to this very idea. Paul, as Saul, was well known and respected Jew. As a defender of his faith in the Jewish system, he not only strove to maintain order within the old law, he sought to put out the fire of the new testament faith that was emerging. Still, from Acts 9 and onward, we see where Christ made his appearance to Paul, the eventual teaching by Ananias to Paul of Christ’s commands, Paul’s conversion and ultimately the great work that was done for the sake of the Lord. Paul, through Christ Jesus, became the great evangelist who was the ultimate encourager among the Jews and the Gentiles to continue to follow the steps of Jesus.
Colossians 1:23 – If indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Paul’s parting words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-8 speak precisely as to what our mission should be in the ministry of the Church as its ultimate destination and goal should be heaven. But, the last two verses in that passage should be how we view our relationship to the Church, its work and the desire to get to heaven. Speaking at the close of his life, Paul says to Timothy:
I Timothy 4:7-8 – I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Finally, I love the Church because it was bought and purchased in love by the blood of Christ.
Paul wrote in Colossians 1:13-14:
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Paul also wrote in Ephesians 1:7:
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
The significance of this redemption and its relationship to the Church (the Kingdom of God) can not be overstated. Our faith as a body of believers and our salvation are tied together as one. The blood of Christ was shed as a sacrifice for our sins. This atonement for our sins sets us apart from the world. As we are set apart from the world and its sinfulness, we are added to the collective body of believers, that is the Lord’s Church. Furthermore, this sacrifice made by Jesus Christ was done so out of obedience and submission to the Father and out of love for all of mankind.
Jamie Davis and his family attend the Cawson Street Church of Christ in Hopewell, VA where Jamie works as the Youth Director. He is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University (B.S. Bible 1999).