Sunday, July 1, 2012

Building Blocks

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock
I will build my church, and the gates of Hades
will not overcome it."

-- Matthew 16:18

Ask a dozen people what comes to mind when they hear the word church, and you'll get a variety of answers. Their responses will likely cover everything between a roadside clapboard chapel to a stone and stained glass cathedral. Others might take a different approach with answers citing the home churches found in China and Cuba. And believe it or not, a few might even mention churches that meet in movie theaters.

The common theme is the parallel between the word ("church") and the location or style of the physical building. But that's not the Bible's definition. Rather than an impressive structure filled with pews and crowned by a soaring cross-topped steeple, the church is actually a group of people: everyone who accepts and trusts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. No matter who you are or where you live--if you're a Christian--you're a literal building block of His church called the Body of Christ. And in this light, we're His servants, followers and worshipers, who gather each week to experience Biblical preaching, authentic worship and faithful prayer.

We're indeed a body that's spread all over the globe. We speak different languages, represent different races and hail from distinct cultures. But every one of us is united by Jesus' death on the cross as payment in full for the wrongs we've done (and continue to do) in our lives. As varied as we all are, we're still a single family that's accepted Jesus' free gift of forgiveness and salvation.

But like all families--even the strongest and most stable--differences, disagreements and disappointments are bound to arise among siblings and distant relatives. The simple fact is that the church isn't perfect. And why should it be? It's composed of imperfect people who do imperfect things.

This all leads to another key Biblical truth about the church: It's not about us--it's all about Jesus. Everything we do as Christ-followers should be done to glorify God through Christ, who the Bible reveals is the Head of the Church. And this Body of Christ answers to an audience of One.

Jesus paid for His Church with something far more valuable than money, jewels or precious metals. He bought our spiritual freedom and eternal future at the price of His own blood. So whether we worship Him in a massive cathedral, a quaint country chapel or even a multiplex movie theater, we're ultimately a single body joined through a common faith. Let's therefore strive as Christ-followers to build up a body that's healthy, strong and worthy of His sacrifice.

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