walk in the word
“On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
A lot of people ask me, “Where is God working?” I’ll tell you right now—the place God is working is in the church. That’s where the action is.
I know for some of you that’s hard to hear. Maybe you’ve been disillusioned with the church. You’ve gone to church for months or even years, and to you it just seems dead. Nobody’s coming to know the Lord; nothing really miraculous is happening; in fact, nothing is happening at all. Or maybe you’ve been hurt by a church. No church is a perfect place; it’s filled with a lot of sinful people who’ve been forgiven. Or maybe you feel like you’ve been used by the church. “Man, those people, they just want my money, they just want my time, they just want more, more, more. But when I was in a time of crisis, they let me down.” You feel like the church disappointed you.
If any of these scenarios are true in your life, I want to speak a word of comfort and truth to your heart. In spite of all that could be said, the church matters. It really does. It matters a lot. In fact, let me just give you five fast reasons from Scripture why this is true.
#1. The church matters because it’s the place where sound doctrine is formulated. First Timothy 3:15 says that the church is the ground and pillar of the truth; it’s where doctrine is formulated and protected. If I said things from the pulpit that were wrong or unbiblical, I hope that the people and the leadership in our church would storm the stage and throw me out. They should! You have a Bible, right? Check what your church is teaching according to the foundation of God’s Word. It measures up?—good! Then it’s doing it’s job.
#2 The church matters because it is the place where the presence of Christ is lived out. This month, Harvest Bible Chapel celebrates our fifteen-year anniversary. Many, many of our body have been around a long time, including our staff. We’re committed to doing life together. We’re in relationships with one another and we’re living out this thing called the kingdom of Christ together and forbearing and forgiving and loving and caring for one another. Jesus’ life is being lived out in our body.
#3 Another reason the church matters: Christ watches the church. Revelation 2 and 3 speak of seven local churches in specific places with specific people.In these two chapters, it’s clear that Christ knows each of them inside and out and says, “I commend you for that…” and “You’re wrong about this.” I wonder what Christ thinks about our individual churches? He knows all about them. He knows the role we’re playing and the help we’re giving, or the resistance or conflict inside the walls. He knows each of our victories and defeat in detail. The church matters because Christ is watching the church.
#4 The church matters because Christ loves the church. You may say, “I don’t really love the church.” Well, Jesus does. Ephesians 5:25 says that Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it. “Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church.” Sacrificially. Passionately. Unconditionally.
#5 Lastly, the church matters because Christ protects the church. Remember in Acts 9 when Saul was on the road to Damascus? He’d been killing Christians and putting them in prison and then Jesus shows up and says, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting—Me.” Saul protested, “I’m not persecuting You; I’m just like killing all these Christians.” And Jesus responded, “That is Me.” Christ takes it personally when someone attacks or sows conflict or walks away from the church. He protects the church because He’s very committed to the church.
So, be sure of this, the church matters. The question is—will you have a part in the place where God is working? Instead of trying to get God to come over to your place and work on your stuff—go find out where He’s working and be part of it. We can choose. I would love to get to heaven and say, “I was living at the end of the 21st century when that big revival broke out, when people got right with God, and our church preached the truth. We were part of that!”
The church matters. We are still His beloved. We are the bride of Christ. Although we’ve lost our purity and spotless reputation, the church still matters to God. In fact, the church will never stop mattering to God. It’s the priority place through which He chooses to work in our generation.
Does the church matter to you? Do you long to see Him do what He longs to do through His Body? Ask God to re-ignite or ignite a passion in your life for the place that He’s most passionate about—the church.
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