If you’re a Christian and you question whether or not you need to be connected to a local church, let me answer that question; you do! Hebrews 11:25 says emphatically that we are not to forsake the gathering of believers as some are in the habit of doing.
Social media will not comfort you when you’re experiencing emotional, mental or physical pain. Instead, it will likely be the reason for your pain.
My smartphone, tablet, or television isn’t going to call me out when I’m flirting with sin or falling away. It may act as a buffer to conviction.
Being a part of the church is not just about what I get from it but what I give. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Yet, God has blessings that can only be experienced when we are engaged in a local church. As people of faith, we are dependent wholly on the favor and blessing of God. We can’t grow spiritually without it.
To experience the fruit of faith requires obedience. Partial obedience is as no obedience.
With God, obedience is never about control. It’s about freedom and abundant life.
Church attendance isn’t the objective of Christian life. It’s a requirement but attendance is not about checking an item off your todo list.
The church is not a theater where we come and watch. We are a body that works together to advance the Kingdom of God on earth.
In Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul, who wrote nearly 2/3’s of the New Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, relays to us heaven’s manifesto for the local church.
He is communicating these truths while in prison. And he’s in prison for preaching the gospel that he encourages them to preach. Any other movement or organization would have dissolved at this point.
Paul begins by saying, “I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” The word urge means to strongly encourage another to action.
This is not a suggestion but a firm statement about how they should live because we are the benefactors of God’s grace and gifts.
The instruction to walk worthy is supported by five qualifiers that set the parameter for church life.
Culturally in Bible times, humility was viewed as weakness. But humility makes sure that we think of others more often than we think of ourselves.
This quality is often paired with humility and used interchangeably, but it stands on its own. Meekness is power under restraint. Meekness ensures exercise mercy in our words and actions.
The Greek word for patience is defined as longsuffering, which is the hallmark of a follower of Jesus.
In life, more things are out of our control than in our control, and patience is a vital characteristic. We need patience because God’s timing is not our timing more often than not.
We live in a hostile world, and the alternate response is hate. Hate always tears down and destroys, but love binds and builds up.
Furthermore, we receive God’s full and unconditional love, so we need to love others.
Peace is critical because life presents us with so many trials that can lead to despair. With God, we have complete access to a peace that surpasses all understanding. Meaning when you think peace is unattainable, that’s when it shows up.
In verse 3, Paul explains that these five qualities are critical for maintaining unity. We don’t create unity, we maintain it. The Holy Spirit creates unity.
The Church is a diverse fellowship in every way. We represent different ages, social, educational, and economic statuses. We comprise of different cultures and ways of seeing, perceiving, and thinking about things.
With all these differences it imperative that we actively maintain peace.
These five attributes listed above are the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. Therefore, they are already inside of you, giving you the advantage in maintaining unity. This also indicates that disunity is an intentional act.
Unity in the church is not the byproduct of uniformity.
The world employs unity through uniformity; do this, think this, don’t do that, don’t think that. The world can’t achieve unity without eliminating individuality.
Yet, in the church, we don’t suppress individuality because we are united by the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Unity sets the table for “what we do” as the Church.