Monday, April 1, 2013

Children of Designer Gods (part 2)

One of the great fallacies of the day among professing Christians is that they can, as one friend said years ago, "worship God better sitting out there on my rock," without the need for regularly attending a church.
We can and will agree that to worship the Creator in the midst of His creation can be a valid and valuable thing.  However, we're directed to meet together regularly in worship; to do otherwise is another part of designing God after our pattern, not conforming to His.
The concept of a church is first mentioned by Jesus when he said "upon this rock I will build my church."  That rock mentioned here, by the way, was not Peter himself, but more accurately understood as the truth of what Peter had just stated: "You are the Christ, the son of the Living God."  The church is further pictured in the New Testament as the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ.  Common sense will tell us that brides want to be in close contact with their grooms and body parts when separated from one another are not of much value.  Jesus envisioned the Church as a group, not a bunch of individuals.  There are two general concepts of the church.  One is the church at large: all believers of all times, world-wide; the other is the local church: local gatherings, whether small or large of believers.
The whole concept of a church is not a building, but rather a gathering together of like-minded people.  It exists for several purposes.  One of them is for the building up and encouraging of other believers.  That's among the reasons that the writer of the book of Hebrews warned about neglecting meeting together.  When you're running around solo, it's easy to become discouraged, when discouraged easy to fall away.  Using the imagery of the sheep and shepherd, it was the solo sheep that were caught by the wolves.  Of course, it's also the place to be taught, corrected, nourished, comforted, protected and a host of other things; but we're specifically warned that to be without fellowship and encouragement is a dangerous thing.
Most of us recall that Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd.  It's wise to consider that since we are His sheep, we should be in close contact to the rest of His flock.
I will never say that any local church is perfect, none are.  All are composed of imperfect people.  One pastor friend even has commentary on the imperfect nature of his church by calling the church's website
So, thought we might occasionally be upset or disappointed in any church; we cannot escape the fact that we belong there--regularly.  I know few, if any Christians who have not had periods of running solo.  As a lone sheep, I could easily have been plucked off by a marauding wolf a couple of times.  God has faithfully brought me back each time.
If you're trying to worship on your rock, isn't it about time to get back to the flock?

Matt: 16:16-18
Heb. 10:25
1 Cor. 12:27
Rev. 21:2

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