There is a popular belief in the world today that spirituality is the only requirement for salvation. We often hear people say that they donít need to be a member of the church to be close to God. Can a Christian really have this attitude? Absolutely not! The church is important for the following reasons.
The church has always been in Godís eternal purpose. "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:" (Ephesians 3:10-11). From the very foundation of the world, God has planned for the church.
Furthermore, it took a great deal of preparation to bring it into existence. Have you ever stopped to realize that each of the four great world empires contributed something to the spread of the church? The Babylonian empire contributed synagogue worship.
Our Lord and His apostles always went to the synagogues to teach. In these synagogues they found people who were already acquainted with the Old Testament and were thus ready to hear the Gospel. The Medo-Persian empire contributed a strong sense of law. The law of the Medes could never be broken; not even by the king.
The Grecian empire contributed a universal language; Koine Greek. This also made the spread of the gospel easier.
Finally, the Roman empire contributed many roads which made travel easier. Also, during their rule, there was a near universal peace. God took great care in preparing for the church.
Christís sole purpose while He was on the earth was the establishment of His church. The Bible tells us that He purchased the church with His own blood; "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28).
How can anyone say that the church doesnít matter when Christ died for it? We can also see how important the church is to Christ when we look at His conversation with Saul of Tarsus. "And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest." (Acts 22:6-8).
Paul had not personally persecuted Christ. He had never met Him until that moment. However, Paul had persecuted Christís church and the Lord took that personally. The Lord still takes it personally today when people say the church doesnít matter.
Were it not for the work of the Holy Spirit, we would not even have a church today. For, without the Holy Spirit we would not have Godís Word. The Apostles needed the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth; "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13).
It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that Peter preached the first gospel sermon on the day of Pentecost; "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:4). and the first Christians were added to the church.
"Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." (Acts 2:47). This is not a popular teaching but it is the truth and anyone who truly believes that the Bible is Godís Word must either accept it as truth or reject it and face the consequences.
One is added to the church when he is saved. In order to be saved one must:
Are you saved?
"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:21). Followers of Christ are commanded to be a light to the world so that they may bring glory, not to themselves, but to God; "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neigher do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify yor Father which is in heaven." (Matt 5:14-16).
Christ is the light of the world; "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12). It is the job of the church to reflect that light to the world.
Just as the moon produces no light by itself but merely reflects a much greater light, so should the church reflect the light of Christ. The moon will never be as bright as the sun but, by its light, we can always know that the sun is still there.
Likewise, Christians will never live the perfect life that Christ lived, their light will never be as bright, but by their lives the world can know that Christ is:
No other organization in the history of this planet matters more. The church deals with spiritual matters which are far more important than material matters. "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:17).
Are you a member of the Lordís church? Are you one of the saved? See the Plan of Salvation.
-- Ralph Price --