You are the church. Think about that for a minute…no make that two minutes. The implications are tremendous.
We just finished up our latest round of membership classes at our church. We do these throughout the year to help people learn about Jesus, lay foundations for following him as a disciple and also for people curious about our church and considering becoming members. I thoroughly enjoying these weeks. It reinvigorates me in the gospel and into loving our church and his mission anew. One of the big concepts we unpack is understanding what it means to be the church and not simply attend one.
If you are a Follower of Jesus Christ scripture teaches that you are not longer your own and no longer alone. You were bought with a price and became his bride. You were redeemed from the smallness of living for yourself into freely running through the vast eternal expanse of his kingdom. You were rescued from the isolation of sin and welcomed into the family to live in the peace and joy of being a son or daughter of God.
You are the church in Christ.
God himself said it was not good for Adam to be alone. Part of Israel’s discipline for ignoring God’s law and love was that they were exiled from living as one in Him to live by themselves in other lands. In the New Testament the sentence upon pervasive sin was the casting out of someone from biblical community in hopes that they might think about the effects of their actions on the body and its witness – a sort of spiritual time out from the Father that kept them from playing with others in grace. The Lord takes being part of a redemptive community seriously. It reflects his glory and it benefits our good.
You are the church for Christ.
Is your church’s vision your vision? Are the church’s hopes and dreams your’s as well? Is the gospel preached on Sunday transforming your life throughout the week? Is the transformation you’re experiencing being passed on and shared with others around you? Churches thrive when they are all going in the same direction. Talking to one another. Spending time with one another. Traveling together toward the same destination – Him. Encouraging each other toward holiness. Disciplining one another away from sin. Strengthening side by side with grace. Is it any wonder God compares the church to a marriage?
As members of one body we all play a part. Each with responsibilities to God and toward one another. Our walk and the walk of others is directly dependent on each of us doing our part to see the body take steps to move forward together.
You are your church and your church is you.
Before you think this is impossible, remember that we are not our own, and we are not on our own. God is in us, with us and for us because it reflects him. All that he asks of us he is equipping us to do. He is at work in each person that makes us each part of his body.
You are the church and He is in you.
I’d also recommend a short article Tom Rainer wrote a while back about some of the responsibilities and habits we should pursue to be and live as Jesus’ church, especially as it pertains to being members in a local congregation. You can read it here.