Friday, April 17, 2009

Five Rules for Church – Part 2

Part 2. No one stands alone.

I’ve always felt it has been important for people to gather together to worship and serve God. And not only me, a lot of people think this and have thought this for a long time.

When I was in seminary, I learned about a man named Walther who, among a lot of other things, said it was important for Christians to find the most orthodox congregation / church they could and be a member there (I’m paraphrasing). For many years as a pastor I focused on the “find” part. But now I think I’m shifting my focus to the “be a member” part.

It isn’t that finding an orthodox church is not important, I think it is. A church needs to be deeply foundational in the Bible, no question about that.

But it is the membership part that catches my attention these days.

God forgives our sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But He also desires that we band together as family to support one another, to build each other up, to cry with each other, to rejoice with each other, to learn together, and to work together.

I’ve heard people say that they don’t like to go to church or be members of a church because of all the political fighting, the hypocrites, and the boring worship services. I’ve heard people say that they can worship God out in nature, on the golf course, in the fishing boat, on the hiking trail, even in their own homes.

I won’t argue that God can be found everywhere. I also won’t argue that churches can be difficult places to be at times.

But there’s no getting past the fact that God calls us – after He forgives our sins – to band together as family in congregations.

1 Corinthians 14 says a lot about the building up of the members of a church.

Ephesians 4 tells us about the unity of the church, a direct implication that there is a family aspect to church.

But Hebrews 10:24-26 is the most clear instruction on this. Simply put, we are at war. When Jesus died, He defeated Satan and his power – death and sin. But Satan doesn’t just go away with his tail tucked between his legs. He turns his defeated sights off of Jesus and onto Jesus’ followers. We are at war and there is safety in numbers.

There is no such thing as an “alone” Christian. You are never alone. Of course, God is always with you. But you also have a family to support  you when you are down, to rejoice with you when you are up. You can give to others just as you have been given to.

No one stands alone.

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