Jesus promised, “I will build my church.” But what does it mean to truly be the church? What should faithfulness to our risen Lord look like? The church of Jesus Christ has been around for a long time. She has outlasted religions, empires, and nations. She has experienced persecution, political oppression, and even martyrdom. She has lived in hypocrisy, idolatry, and even committed great acts of violence. But still, she remains. Because of these things, the question should loom large: Why does the church matter so much?
As his people — his bride, his family, his body — how can we carry ourselves in the world while embracing and extending his love to those around us? Yes, the church matters, but what does that mean?
Here are three reasons why the church matters so much:
- The church matters because it matters to Jesus.
- He is the architect and builder of the church. He died and rose from the dead to bring it into existence. And, He promises to preserve and protect His church until the day He returns to put every enemy under His feet.
- The church matters because, by its very nature and definition, it is unique from other forms of Christian gatherings or personal worship.
- A “church” is a gathering of Christ-followers who meet in a specific location to hear and respond to God’s word in congregational worship as they work together to move Jesus’ mission forward in the world. The primary gathering Jesus had in mind when he talked about building his “church” was not the universal church (for example, see Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24), but the local church. The unfolding story found in the book of Acts shows us this.
- The church matters because, in congregational worship, you can experience God in a way that’s impossible anywhere else.
- At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be (see the context of 1 Corinthians 14:25).
Don’t let the world infect you with a low view of Jesus’ church. Don’t let imperfect Christians make you think less of Jesus’ church than he does. If Jesus loves imperfect people, maybe you can learn to do that too. Don’t tell yourself that you’re just fine on your own at the lake, watching from home, or just hanging out with a group of Christian friends. Those things aren’t bad. There’s lots of good in them, but they’re not the same as being a worshiping, contributing member of Jesus’ local gathering.
Take to heart the invitation that the author of Hebrews offers you:
“Let’s think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but instead—[come together to] encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25-26)
*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.*
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Written by Charlie Boyd