|WANTED: A return of
Looking at the importance of church
|What is your
experience of church?
What is your first memory of a church?
What is your worst memory of a church?
Have you let that worst memory drive you out of church?
A non-Christian once said to me that she wanted her grand-daughter to go church because she had been when she was young and “It didn’t do me any harm.” What a relief. I know this isn’t the experience of many.
Some people have been hurt and alienated by a particular church and have been unable to get over the “who did what to whom and why”. Here I want to look at the idea that what ever your experience of a particular church has been, what you can’t do without is going to a church.
There is a sad sense of “stolen-ness” when someone who belongs to Christ and the church stays away
|1. We belong to each other
If you are someone who has been saved by Christ then I belong to you and you belong to me. Romans ch12 v5 says, “in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” I don’t know if you have ever had anything stolen from you—no matter how important or unimportant the items stolen were, there is a deep sense of “they have taken something that belonged to me.”
There is a sad sense of “stolen-ness” when someone who belongs to Christ and the church stays away. We may not be able to identify those who stay away but we all feel the tremendous loss (particularly if our church services are poorly attended). If you stay away from the church for whatever reason you are stolen from the body of believers. I know this is hard for some of you who are reading this because you may have felt pushed out in hurtful circumstances. You need to find a way through because we are all at a loss. If this is you, my prayer for you is that “the God who heals you” will bring you back to a place where you can find good Christian fellowship again. If at all possible, try to meet with another Christian to pray over what has happened to you.
What made the difference was my turning to them and saying, “come on, you can do it.
|2. We need to encourage and be
Something I noticed with my children when they were young was that when walking along they would often begin to lag behind. Almost never did they have it within themselves to decide to put in a spurt of effort to catch up. If I carried on walking they would quickly give up and stop altogether. What made the difference was my turning to them and saying, “come on, you can do it.”
As Christian people we are the same. Hebrews ch 10 v25 says, “let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” Without a bit of encouragement we soon become down-hearted. We get left behind from the general enthusiasm of the growing Christian group. You may be in the position of needing some encouragement today but tomorrow it may be your turn to encourage another. Seek out encouragement for yourself and set out to encourage others as part of a church fellowship.
Sometimes people drift away from a church because they feel they do not fit in there.
|3. Every believer is part of the
The Bible uses the picture of a human body to illustrate how we all belong together. If you are not familiar with the passage you might like to read it—it begins at 1 Corinthians ch12 v12. That first verse there says, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body". The illustration talks about the different functions of the various body parts yet it all works together for a common good. Sometimes people drift away from a church because they feel they do not fit in there. When we feel we do not fit we are failing to see ourselves as God sees us. You do fit—He made you to fit, He gave you gifts that fit. I will be strict with you and tell you—stop thinking that you do not fit. What we may need to wrestle with is "how?" I will look at this another time.
|Jesus said, “I will build my
church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it,” (Matthew ch16 v18).
Do you see this? “The gates of Hell,” it says. “The gates.” Since
when were gates a weapon for attacking the church? No, gates are an aid to
defend. Satan is in defence with his gates. What is he going to do? Give
us a push? Well, yes, he will give us a push but that is all he can do.
And what will we let him do? Push us out or shall we stand, as it says in
Ephesians ch6? Jesus will build his church and everyone of us needs to
take our place in it. So please, if you are in the habit of not meeting
with other Christians, now is the time to be church.
This article © Linda Faber 2006-2009.