17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church…
I Love God but do not need the Church!
Those who say that they do not need the church because the church is filled with hypocrites; people such as these, who bring this type of indictment against the church, saying that the Church is a bunch of hypocrites are, in fact, themselves also hypocrites by their own admission. To say that “I believe in God but hate the Church” or “Believe in Christ but do not need to go to Church” is an oxymoron by definition according to Scripture! In other words, to say that one loves God but hates [scorns] his brother is a liar and the light and truth of God is not in Him(1 John 4:20).
- Salvation is individual!
Salvation is an individual thing because, after all, my salvation cannot cause my wife or even my children or anyone else to be saved unless Christ, Himself, shines His regenerating light into their lives and causes them to be saved. It is a falsity, a misnomer to think that your own salvation can cause anyone else, even your household to automatically be saved despite quoting Acts 16:31 (Out of Context).
- Salvation also concerns Christ’s Church – His Body!
However, Salvation is far greater than just an individual thing. You need to know that Salvation, even though it is individual, works itself out in many ways including a corporate way i.e. within the Church which is the Body of Christ. As we have just read, Colossians 1:18 says that “[Christ] is the head of the body, the church”.
Hebrews 3:1-2 goes to show the plurality of Christ’s Church; “Therefore, holy brothers [and sisters], you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.
The church is not a place to go to just to feel good!
Now, despite popular belief that church is a place where you go to just to listen to a sermon in order that you can feel good about yourself is a perversion of
what Church is and should be. By the way, that is not just my sentiments but also according to Jesus and also according to the rest of Scripture.
What is Church?
Having said all of this, it brings me to a crucial question; “What is Church”? Throughout Scripture, there are many names given to describe what the Church is. It is known as a Family, a Kingdom, a Vineyard, a Flock, a Building, and even a Bride as I have mentioned before. However, the most profound name given to the church, one that has no Old Testament equivalent, is that of a Body.
Here in Colossians, and elsewhere in the New Testament, the church is called a Body. A body does not mean an assembly or a club-like get-together of a group of people or even something like a school governing body. Rather, in this sense, as we see in Colossians, it is referring to a living organism much the same as a human body which has hands, feet, eyes, ears, and also the head. In other words, what Paul is saying is that the Church is a living organism comprised of essential parts and members that a fully functional human body cannot do without. Let me illustrate this with another Scripture.
1 Corinthians 12:12-20, 27
12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though [they are] many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts [or members], yet [are] one body.
27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
The True Church will Comfort one another despite trials!
However, the true Church will take God at His Word and be the Church; that true Church that Jesus spoke of and established by His own divine wisdom (Matthew 16:13-20). The true Church will not just come to church but, rather, the true Church will be the Church, that is; they will be the Church for one another as the true Body of Christ to the glory of Christ as their main objective.
They will not see the church as an extramural activity – something that they will do whehn they feel up to it – but , rather, they will see themselves as helpers for one another, ministering to one another, and comforting one another whether in good times or in times of disparate trials and tribulations (Ephesians 5:19, cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:18). Even in desperate trials, the words of Scripture will become a hiding place, a refuge, and a great encouragement for the Church in order that we may comfort those who are suffering because we ourselves have suffered and taken comfort in God’s word (1 Peter 4:12-17)
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…”
There is nothing more meaningful than when you are able to speak to someone who is going through a terrible time and be able to comfort them with genuine compassion because you know what you are talking about because of having experienced first-hand the comfort of Christ. Speak to them with God’s experiential wisdom because you know His word to be true, you have experienced His peace, you know what you are talking about because you have experienced God’s peace in the midst of turmoil, even when God did not answer immediately or even in the way you expected Him to answer. Yet, He was by your side every step of the way. These are the type of Christians the Church needs; those who have trusted God and know what they are talking about and then can give genuine comfort to others because they feel genuine compassion.
Why do you go to church? Is it because of tradition? Is it because you need “An Adrenaline Shot” for the next 2 to 3 weeks until we see you again? Is it because you need some sort of guilt relief?
Or, is it because you see yourself as a true member of a living organism, a living body which has Christ as its Head and, therefore, you are controlled by that Head? If you answered “Yes” to the last question then, if you are controlled by the the Head – Christ – then the rest of the Body of Christ will be of utmost importance to you as well.
Again, let me put it this way; are you concerned only about your own problems whether they are at home, or at the workplace, or where ever they may be or are you concerned about Christ’s Body as well? That is the bigger question. If all that you are concerned about is your own welfare, your own spirituality, and your own “Jesus” or, as I like to put it, “J.A.M – Jesus and Me” then, unfortunately, you have missed the mark completely and, by the way, not just here but also in other Churches as well.
Rev. S.C Bryant (OMIN CLC) BDiv Cum Laude, MI