It is maligned, misunderstood, taken for granted, scorned, abused, laughed at, numbed down, gossiped and lied about, considered old-fashioned and not necessary, and under constant attack. Of course, I am speaking of the Church. All born-again, regenerated believers from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) to the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) make up the universal church. Jesus Christ promised . . . upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). When a sinner receives Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit places him into the “Body of Christ” which is this universal church (1 Corinthians 12:12-14,27). This function of the Holy Spirit began at the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4; 11:15-18).
A local church is a group of believers in this church age that meets on a regular basis and is biblically organized to continue the work of Christ here on earth (Acts 1:1-14). The central purpose of a local church is discipleship (Matthew 28:18-20) and to bear the image of the gospel for God’s glory. The church is not an organization but an organism. It is alive, infused by the Spirit of God, to accomplish the work of God to make a difference for Christ. The church is the vehicle God is using today to fulfill His redemptive purposes in the world. The church is Christ on display to the world.
Therefore, as believers, we must not take lightly the ministry of the local church nor our participation in the church. We are a part of the most glorious movement in the world, and we have a grand responsibility that accompanies this privilege. What is your attitude toward the church? Are you an active participant in the church? Do you pray much for your local church? Do you faithfully serve in your local church? Can your local church count on you? Can Christ count on you? Do you see the local church through your eyes or the lens of Scripture? Have you found a perfect local church? Do you grumble about your church? Since Christ has saved your soul, restored your relationship with God the Father, baptized you with the Holy Spirit, and placed you in His Church, are you a reflection of Christ in your local church through the good times and the hard times?
My friend, this week, I want to challenge our hearts about how we view the church; what we say about the church; how to be a godly church member, etc.
May I encourage you today to read Ephesians 4:1-32, and ask yourself, “Am I an Ephesians 4 church member? Can the world see Christ on display by how I function in His church?”