How many have heard this phrase? The phrase in and of itself I believe to be true that
the church is made up of individuals who each have different talents and abilities and where you physically meet is not a matter of consideration. However, some misuse the phrase to push the agenda that one does not need to attend church just simply live their life as a Christian should. The thought of this article spurs from seeing a blog post on this exact topic. I thought the topic was worthy of addressing and I would like to give a couple of thoughts on this matter.
First off I think we should notice Acts 20:28 which says, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." Notice that the blood of Jesus was the purchase price for the church. When we downplay the church of God we downplay the crucifixion of Christ. Let us not dishonor such an event as important as this, by dishonoring the church of God!
Notice Hebrews 10:24-25 which says "24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." Notice the end goal here is stirring up one another to love and good works and we are not to neglect this. With that being said the natural progression is that we meet together encourage one another and build each other up. We all need the church, the community of believers that worship God.
From passages such as Ephesians 1:22 we gather that Jesus is the head of the church. It is a divine institution, not merely the product of human hands. If we claim that we respect and honor God we can not diminish the institution that he put in place, that He purchased with his own blood.
Ephesians 5:25-29 says "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." Notice the nurture, admonition, and love that Christ shows the church. The love that one shows for his wife, looking out for her needs and sacrificing much for them, is the type of relationship that Christ has for the church. Christ loves the church dearly and so should we!
Often the correct phrase "The church is the people, not the building" can quickly become a wrong assumption that the gathering of the church does not matter and you can miss out on this essential divine institution. If we want to be like Jesus and honor and respect the things he honors, we can not successfully do this without giving honor and respect to the church. Jesus loved the church and created the church for us so that we might have a place to worship God and grow together in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. While it is true it does not matter if we meet in a building a home or under a tree, it is not true that we can be pleasing in God's sight when we downplay this ever-important institution that Jesus put in place and bought with his blood.
Maybe you have downplayed the gathering of Christians. Or maybe you have yet to figure out where you fit in in all of this. We would love to have you at Wisconsin Avenue church of Christ. We want you here and so too does God! We hope to see you this soon!