An introductory note. I have an assignment over this summer from my denomination to write a 75 page credo which is Latin for “belief”. In other words, I have to write a lengthy statement of belief. To work out a few points of that paper, I will use my blog to help. The first topic, just for fun, is ecclesiology, or what I believe about the church. Rather than merely write what I believe about the church I want to show how beliefs about the church will motivate those who call themselves Christians to go to church, and by doing so, I hope you will learn something, and I hope for myself that I will be able to better articulate, ecclesiology. One final hope is that we will be convicted to get up Sunday morning.
The Church is given multiple titles in the Bible and I want to focus on a few. Body of Christ, Bride of Christ, and the gathering place of God’s holy people. Each title is significant in its own way and should be touched on accordingly.
The Body image is significant. Some call it a metaphor, and this is part right, but it is also a truth. According to Paul in Romans 12:4-8,
“4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
The Church is called the Body of Christ, for as Paul says, we are in Christ. That is, it is by Christ’s sacrifice we are counted as righteous, and it is in him that we are saved. We should also note that Christians, though in Christ, are not all the same for each is given differing gifts. Now the question to ask yourself if you claim Christ as Lord is: are you sharing the gifts given to you with the Body of Christ?
The gifts given are not for you to selfishly horde, but to share with the Body, and I can tell you truly, the Body needs your gifts. You were not created with specialties to not use them! You were created, and called, to use your gifts to glorify God, and you glorify God by being part of the body.
” 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
The Church is called the Bride of Christ. John writes in Revelation 19:7,
“7 Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.”
Think about this a moment. If Christ is coming back, which he is (that will be another post), who do you think he is coming back for? If you are a husband and have physically been absent for a couple thousand years, who is the first person you would want to see? Ummmm, your bride. Now it is very important that you be part of that reunion for if you do not you will be eternally separated from that marriage (Hell is another post coming soon too). No matter how many different ways I can say something, Paul is rather keen at getting to the point. Read this closely.
“21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body”
I think this post is getting rather lengthy and if you have hung in there and made it this far, I commend you. Please read a little more. This is vital and could not be any more important in America today: What you believe about the church reflects upon your belief about the risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
Are you a Christian? Are you a member of the Body, or do you assume that you do not have to go to church to worship God? The Bible teaches to be a Christian, to be saved, to be the Bride of Christ, that is the Body of Righteous Ones that will be united with her husband, you must be part of a church.
“19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:19-20)
Please, I urge you to join that house, to be mortared and sealed with the Chief Cornerstone, to abide in the warmth of his saving grace.