Sometimes people avoid going to church because they feel the place is filled with hypocrites. When I hear that I often think to myself, “So, what’s one more?”
The church isn’t supposed to be a place filled exclusively with people holier than thou. The church is supposed to be a place filled with people who are working to be conformed to the image of Christ, because we are called to be His body. Not hypocrites, as much as people who aren’t perfect; but trying hard every day to serve Jesus with all they’ve got to give. That concept may sound a bit foreign to you, but let me unpack a few ideas for you to think about.
But before we get started, welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert,” thanks for joining me. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better. Please like, subscribe and share with a friend.
In today’s verse, Jesus says WHERE TWO OR THREE GATHER IN MY NAME, I AM THERE WITH THEM.
Jesus always calls His followers into relationships that strengthen them, encourage them, and also challenge them to press on to higher and better things. The truth is, we need one another. He illustrates this need perfectly by comparing us – His Church – to a physical body. In fact, God has arranged the members of the body, every one of them, according to His design; it’s not some random blob of believers.
The body is a unit, even though it is composed of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ’s Church. Sometimes we get frustrated by the differences between us, even within the same congregation; but our diversity is actually our strength. We are built differently to accomplish different purposes; but we all need one another. In fact, we belong together.
The foot can’t say, “Because I am not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” even if the foot thinks the work of the hand is somehow better or more important. Thinking that way would not make it any less a part of the body. And the ear can’t announce, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body.” Uniformity is not the goal. If the whole body were made up of eyes, it would be pretty tough to hear anything. Or walk anywhere.
It’s plain to see the different parts of the physical body have different gifts and abilities. Did you know that God has given all of us different gifts, too? We all have a part to play in being the Body of Christ. We need one another, but the others need us!
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you.” Nor can the head say to the feet, “I do not need you.” If the body is going to function properly, we need every part — but each part needs to work !
So what about the “WHERE TWO OR THREE GATHER IN MY NAME” part?
It’s as we come together and DO what Christ has equipped us to do that we begin to see the impact He can have through a group of willing and obedient people who are determined to follow Him. He created us on purpose, called us on purpose – and now He leads us to fulfill that purpose.
So we come together to learn how to worship Him better. And to learn about Him, how to discern His call on our lives and use the gifts He has given us. At its core, church is intended to be much more like a gymnasium than a stadium. It’s supposed to involve everyone who comes in a program of training and strength building, not fill seats with a bunch of folks who came to watch a few pros put on a show.
Your church needs you if it will ever be all that God intended it to be. And the reverse is true. You need your church to become all you can be in Christ. That’s why the “gathering together” part is critical.
So critical, in fact, that Jesus Himself promised to come and join you. You cannot learn to follow Him if He’s not there to lead.
So pray for guidance from Christ, and find a church congregation that’s determined to follow Christ. And then be the kind of person you want the church to be.
An anonymous author once wrote this about the church. “It will be friendly if I am. It will do a great work if I work. It will make generous gifts to many causes if I am generous. It will bring others into its fellowship if I bring them. Its seats will be filled if I fill them. It will be a church of loyalty and love, of faith and service if I, who make it what it is, am filled with these qualities.”
We are called to be the Church. We won’t do it perfectly, but we need to keep doing it the best we can.
My final three words on church … JUST DO IT !