I love my church – An Excerpt from Pastor James’ book
Matthew 16:18-19 (KJV)
And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The importance of the church and its position is evidenced in the above scripture in which Jesus our Lord expresses His jealousy and guard for the church. The church, first and foremost, cannot be destroyed by demonic agents assigned against it. Secondly the church has been assigned weapons to stand victoriously against its enemies.
The love of Jesus for His church is shown when on three occasions He demanded that Simon Peter feed his Lamb (the church) if he truly loved Him. We understand that the church is not just an unforeseen institution but a real physical entity, or setting of a group of people who have decided to come together with the purpose of worship and service to God.
It a place where people are cared for, trained and taught the word of God so they can be a light to the world. It is a place where the believer is prepared for eternity. It is the most important and most sacred place on the surface of the earth. It is a place where God always expresses himself through the release of spiritual gifts and divine encounter with the believer. If the church is so highly regarded by God, then what must be the attitude of the believer to the local church, which represents the physical existence of the body of Christ?
The early church people joined the church because there was something about it that made them have an emotional attachment, a willful commitment and a sense of need for the local church.
In the book of Acts we realize that they joined the church after having experienced the word preached to them and they receiving it with gladness. They also continued in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayer.
‘’Acts 2:41-42 (KJV) says then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there was added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers’’.
They needed the church. It was a place of spiritual nourishment and upkeep. We will place value on our church if we see it as a place God has allowed us to be to receive ministry. Receiving ministry adds to our lives and produces a healthy response of commitment and relationship. A sense of appreciation and attachment is given from members.
The local church has met many important needs for God’s people throughout history. The early believers recognized that it was important to identify with and be part of a local church and therefore set a pattern for today’s believer. The believer cannot survive without the support, friendship, encouragement and teaching of the local church. In fact the bible strongly admonishes us not to neglect being part of a local church (Heb 10:25).
Generally, God created man not to be alone but in relationship to one another. In the book of Genesis we read it is not good for man to be alone. Thus He created marriage, family and the congregation. The church therefore, meets an essential need in a person’s life that will never be met if he dwelt alone. Throughout the entire bible, there is continual reference to the congregation. God has always had the intention that His people be a group, which works and flows together. There are benefits in being more than just individuals. The bible says in “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (KJV).
While we relate to God individually, we become a part of a group. Thus group called the church, functions together to accomplish the will of God on earth. We minister to one another and reach the world. We protect and care for one another. We become a part of an extended family that grows in relationship. It is through our relationship with people that our Christianity is developed. Our involvement with people is where our love for God is reflected, expressed and often experienced. (1 John 4)
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul the apostle emphasizes how the parts of the body cannot survive alone. Even if the could, they could not function or be of any real value. As part of the body of Christ therefore, it is eminent that we need one another. We need the strength that comes from being part of a healthy body that is the church. It is our shortsightedness that makes us fail to fully understand our need for one another and therefore commitment to a local church.
The need for strong, vibrant and kingdom minded churches with members committed and united to see its vision accomplished cannot be underestimated in the days we live in. Paul in his missionary journeys, established churches and ordained leader (elders) in every city. He knew that the converts (believers) could not survive if left on their own. We cannot afford to go back to the days of the people of Israel where every man did that which was right in their eyes because they did not have any structured system where they could receive Gods instructions and help to mature and grow in the knowledge of their God. The consequences were enormous. They disobeyed God on numerous occasions and God had to punish them on several occasions.
In the church we can follow the teachings presented in the word of God and have victory and stability in our walk with Him. We must see the church as a piece of heaven on earth where true worship, exercising true love, obedience to God and relating to one another is experienced. I encourage believers to love their church even as Christ loved it. The role of the church in our lives as believers cannot be fully experienced without our full commitment and devotion for which God had it established
Rev. James Commey
December 26, 2016
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