In last week’s blog, "The Bride and the Bridegroom," we looked at Jesus and His gathering of followers, the Church. As the Bride, we, the Church, are being prepared to meet and to serve Jesus, our Bridegroom.
An essential means in which we are being prepared to become more and more like Christ and to to serve Him where we live is to belong to a local church congregation.
Today’s church locations come in many shapes and sizes. Some churches are elegant while others are warehouses and home churches. It doesn’t matter the grandeur of the building. What matters is what takes place inside of the building; that the congregants are worshipping God in spirit and in truth; that the word of God is being taught and studied.
A lot of the people who identify as Christians in today’s culture do not find it necessary to belong or even go to church. This saddens me because the church is where we grow together in God’s word and learn to care for one another.. We take what we learn within the four walls of the church facility and apply it to our personal lives, then to our immediate families, to our neighborhood communities… moving into our cities… across the country into other nations. The church equips us with good teaching, and helps us learn our spiritual gifts so that we can best serve within the church. We learn to care for one another’s needs and exhort one another. The church also helps us sharpen our gifts to serve God outside of the building's four walls, to bring Christ to the world.
Brookhaven Presbyterian Church photo by Sharon Moye
God is pleased when we gather together to worship Him. He uses corporate worship to help us grow. He uses it to encourage us. As an example, last Sunday at church, a sweet lady shared her testimony. In her testimony she spoke on loneliness as a single young lady and how she is learning to place her identity in Christ, to depend on Him to fulfill her needs. She described her struggles and explained to us that this loneliness is real and truly exists. Instead of hiding her struggles, she shared them with us. Now we know how to love and serve her better, and also to be aware of the potential struggle with loneliness singles can experience.
God means for church to be a safe place to grow in relationship with Him; to be nurtured, to learn our spiritual gifts; to become more and more equipped to serve Him where we are called. This world is a lonely place without the community of believers.
The church is not perfect. It is full of sinners and hypocrites. In fact, the word of God makes clear that we are all sinners. Therefore, we can’t use that as an excuse for not attending church. Where there are people, it gets messy at times, but with humility and love we grow in community.
“Not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
My Discipleship group at the beach (Missing two from our sweet group)
I encourage you, that whatever community you live in, find a church with good solid biblical teaching; gather and worship God with other believers; become equipped to be the servant God has called you to become. There is no greater joy than to be used by God to share His love, locally or across the world.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Cibilo Creek, Texas Photo by Sharon Moye
We weren’t meant to go it alone. Christ followers were meant to fellowship. We were meant to gather together in His name. Collectively, we, the church, are His Bride.