Monday, January 20, 2014

Do We Need a Church?

So here is a question for you, do you have to be in church to be a Christian?  This question is asked a lot, it's said often and I hear it a lot.  You don't have to attend a church to be a Christian and worship God, right?  To really answer this question, we have to take a big step back and define a few things.  First off, what is a church, or more correctly, the church.  Often when we think about church, we think about a building we go to on Sunday mornings for about an hour or two, where a Pastor or Priest or Minister speaks for a while after we sing some songs, give some offerings, maybe participate in Communion.  When we think of church, we think of going to Church.  Is this the correct view of church, is this what Jesus had in mind?  Lets look at three passages from the New Testament to see what it says about church.

When Jesus and His disciples were in Caesarea Philippi, He asked who they say He is in Matthew 16.  After Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, Jesus tells Peter that He would build His church on that rock.  Jesus used the word ecclessia which means "called out ones", which was a popular term for those who are being called together for a distinct purpose.  Jesus was beginning the church with these twelve rag-tag guys.  Ephesians 2:20 tells us the church is built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets with Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone.  Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:4  that we are living stones.  The church is all made of people, the called out ones built together into a living temple.

So, do we need be in church to be a Christian?  As a Christian, we are part of the church, it is what Jesus does when we get saved, as we become His we are living stones being built into the church.  We are part of the church, of His church and without being in community we are missing the key elements of what Salvation really is.  We are saved and adopted and brought into a family, adopted as sons and daughters of God.  To really be part of what God is doing, we must be in community with other believers as part of this living, breathing structure we call church.

This doesn't mean you have to be in a building at 11 am on Sunday Morning.  While that is the most common place manifestation of Church, this isn't what it looked like for early believers.  They met in homes or in common places, they were often together daily.  They were in smaller groups, reading the word and praying.  This is what is necessary, a group of believers coming together to worship, pray and for mutual encouragement.  This experience is definitely key to the life of any Christian.

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