Isn’t She Lovely?

Many people will say they have high regard for faith and spirituality but lesser use for the church.  Such statements, if not made with an air of superiority, are made in full confidence of propriety.  Doubtless, many who hold to this view have some reasoning behind their positions though more than a few will use this stance to bolster the belief that they do not need to go to church to please God.  Simply and truthfully, this translates to, “I don’t want to go to church and you can’t make me.”  That there have been and are problems in the church is undeniable.  The effects of the fall are apparent in even sacred ministrations.  But is the stance against the church correct, and does the building of God have a place in our lives?

God created the world a perfect place and filled it with perfect people (well, there were two).  He, promptly, left his flawless creation in their hands though under divine control.  While we don’t know exactly how long Adam and Eve remained in Eden, the Scripture seems to indicate the entrance of sin was imminent.  We know no children were born there.  So, the perfect couple took to sin like ducks to water though they had advantages unknown today.  This is a testimony to the pervasiveness of sin even in the best of circumstances, as well as, weakness in even the strongest individuals.  We should not be surprised to find evidences of the fall in the church, but we should remember that such faults are of human, not divine, origin.

Scripture makes an integral connection between the believer and corporate worship.  In fact, biblical Christianity requires the body of believers.  While it is true that we are individual priests before God, it is also true that Christians are sheep in a flock, stones in a building and parts of a body.  Just as the Bible knows nothing of true faith without works and diligent following of Christ, it also pictures saints in fellowship.  It is and has always been the manner of some to forsake the assembly, but such an approach is incorrect.  In saying this, I do not mean to set at naught the legitimate grievances some have with organized religion.  However, most of the religion I have observed is not that organized.

In the church, we find fathers, mothers, family and friends.  God meets our needs for community through His church.  We, also, find helps for needs in the church.  Since benevolent work requires wisdom and a certain amount of inspection, I will, sometimes, ask an applicant, “Where do you go to church?”  You know where they go- nowhere.  The point I’m making is that, if a person has a home church, they have assistance.  Not only that, they have love and prayer as resources.  I’ve never had a lot of money, but, in my life, a fortune has passed through my hands. A good deal of it has come through the church, many times, personally from other believers.  God meets our needs through people.  His people meet in local churches.

Once is a while, a person will claim connection with the invisible rather than the observable church.  The element of truth in this perception is not as great as some would make it.  While it is true that the church is comprised of all believers everywhere, the Bible pictures individual units as the organizations through which God’s work is carried on.  That there are denominations of confusing origin does not diminish the plan of God.  He works in spite of our weaknesses as individuals or groups.  No, it is the plan of God that believers bind together in assemblies to worship and work for Him.  It is, also, material and mature that a person regularly attends and activates themselves in the ministry of their church.

If beauty is only found in perfection, we will find it nowhere.  For all its flaws, the earthly church is the bride of Christ preparing to spend eternity in His presence.  It is filled with wonderful and kind people who have sincere desires to live righteous lives and serve others.  It is important that we focus on the roses though thorns may catch.  In addition, the church holds the secret of life and the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  It is the pillar and ground of the truth.  You can never be singularly what you can be through association with other believers, and you will grow spiritually if you do nothing other than attend church.  Christ died for individuals, but Scripture says He died for the group, as well.  The church will beautify your life if you so allow.

Sterl

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