Summary: This sermon is from a sermon series entitled, "What We Believe." In this study we look at how the church is the body of Christ, and exactly what that means, looks like, and entails.
What We Believe
The Church: The Body of Christ
As we continue through our series on what we as Christians say we believe in, we’ll be looking at a number of different doctrines, or teachings, of the church. And it is my hope that everyone will not only grow in their understanding, but also in their ability to apply them to their lives.
Today, we’ll be examining what the Bible says about the church, or as it is described as the body of Christ. Let me begin by saying that the local church, that is, those houses of faith located within each community, is the hope of the world.
In Foursquare’s “Declaration of Faith,” which is the denominational affiliation of our own church, Living Waters Fellowship, it says this concerning the church.
“It is the sacred duty of the believer, whenever this lies within his power, to identify himself with, and labor most earnestly for the upbuilding of God’s kingdom with the visible church of Christ upon the earth; and that such visible church is a congregation of believers, who have associated themselves together in Christian fellowship and in the unity of the Spirit, observing the ordinances of Christ, worshipping Him in the beauty of holiness, speaking to each other in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, reading and proclaiming His Word, laboring for the salvation of souls, giving their temporal means to carry on His work, edifying, encouraging, establishing one another in the most holy faith, and working harmoniously together as dear children who are many members but one body of which Christ is head.”
Unfortunately, there are those who claim to be Christian who do not believe this way. They have given up on church attendance claiming either a bad experience, or that the church is run in such a way that misses the biblical mark.
One man struggled going to church for 35 years claiming he was an introvert, and said that God wasn’t asking him to make church attendance a priority. He says that from the time God showed him this, he’s had tremendous peace living his life free to follow God in whatever way he saw fit.
Now, while it might sound great, it falls short of what the Bible, or God’s word teaches.
Another person gave quite a lengthy list of why they no longer attend church. He said, “I don’t go to church because those people think they’re better than me. They manipulate people to get their money. And with all these church splits and infighting of those that attend, they are a bunch of phonies. I’d like to find God, but I also hope He’s not like the “church.”
I can understand this person’s frustration. I didn’t want anything to do with church because of my experiences with a few of them with their cliques and their need of always wanting money. I’ve also been involved in several church splits that have turned my stomach.
But God never called me to be like the people of the church or to keep my eyes on them. Instead He called me to be like Him and to keep my eyes on Him and off the others. He’s called me to make a difference through what He has ordained, that is, the church.
For those who have been hurt by the church through some bad experience, I am truly sorry. Someone has rightly said that the church not only shoots its wounded, but also buries them before they’re dead.
But before I go any further, let me state categorically that going to church doesn’t save anyone, and that going to church doesn’t make someone a Christian, the same way as a rock in a garage doesn’t make it a car.
The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)
Now, while I’ve gone through much of what these people say in my own church experiences, what I have learned is that my coming to church has everything to do with God and His calling upon my life, not on what other people say or do.
What I have come to learn and experience is what King David and the writer of Hebrews found out and wrote down for our instruction. Let me take this time then and share with you what the Bible says, and what I’ve found to be true.
Church Attendance is a Blessing
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ … Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 122:1; 133:1 NKJV)
There is a blessing when we come together to worship God as a family, and to hear His message from His word for our lives. Coming together as a church body should be the highlight of our week.