For centuries many have thought that the church building was the church. We even use phrases today like, “Let’s go to church.” We know by that we mean, “Let’s go to the church service at the building where Christians meet.”
We are moving (in some areas) into a proper understanding of the true definition of church. Church is not a building. It’s not even a service. The Greek word for church is ekklesia, which means “called out ones.” In other words, it’s who God has called out of the world to become Christians.
We understand that we are the church on Sunday mornings when we worship together. We also know that we are the church when we are just a couple friends having dinner together around the fellowship of what Christ has done for us. We are the church when a couple guys from the church are helping an elderly woman do some work around her house she can’t do on her own. We are the church when someone is going through a tough time in life, and there are people from the church who are meeting, praying, and encouraging that person.
Like most things, we have developed a pendulum swing. The American church, within the American culture, has fallen trap to this philosophy. Society decides something is wrong, and instead of correcting it, they run to the opposite spectrum of that idea. We have the same thing happening within the church. Many have taken church services and their church attendance too lightly.
How do they justify themselves in that? They say, “Well, the church is everywhere and is not just a service.” Therefore in their heads the church service is just another optional Christian activity. They believe that they can have Christianity without the corporate church and service. What could be a problem with that?
THEY BELIEVE THAT THEY CAN HAVE CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT THE CORPORATE CHURCH AND CHURCH SERVICE
We have all seen this, and almost every single time it ends the same way. Someone starts out with gusto. “I’m going to be the church at home. I’ll read Scripture on my own or just with my family.” It starts out with good intentions, and almost always comes to an end. Why is that?
God never intended us to be alone in our Christianity. He designed us to worship with others. One reason He created the corporate church is so that we can encourage one another. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says about groups, “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”
HE DESIGNED US TO WORSHIP WITH OTHERS
Worshiping together, and doing so regularly, is not just about encouragement, but correct doctrine. The church was organized by God in a way to help individuals stay true to God’s truths. Proverbs 18:1 says, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement.”
Show me someone who is “doing church on his own” I can almost always show you someone who has a lot of bad theology. Remember, theology is important because it is the study of God. Get the doctrines of Scripture wrong, you misrepresent God.
For some who “do church on their own” this is actually what it is often about. It is about the fact that “only I do church the right way. I’m the only one with right doctrine.” But if we have no one to correct us or challenge our doctrine, then we can easily fall away.
Christian, you can’t have Christianity without the church. I’m not saying you can’t be saved without the church. The church is set up as a collective beacon of light in your community. It’s a place where when some fall (spiritually, emotionally, mentally or physically) others are there to pick them up. It’s a place to study the truths of God together, and make sure that we are correctly worshiping God the way He intended.
Do you see value in the church? Have you studied scripture to see how God is the great uniter of Scripture to bring the church together? Do you really think that you can study scripture on your own without anyone else sharpening you? Christian, God intended you to be a part of the church and he never promoted Christianity without the church.
A church becomes a family. You need the family, and the family needs you.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.