Saturday, January 14, 2017

Building Blocks

Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer.

-- Hebrews 10:25

Church means different things to different people.

Maybe it's one of those modest clapboard places of worship that dot America's countryside. On the other hand it might be a massive European basilica, bejeweled with majestic stained glass. And still others might think of the small home churches found in China and Cuba.

We may envision church as a cathedral, Churcha coffee house or something in between, but the Bible defines it quite differently. Rather than being a structure filled with pews and crowned by a soaring steeple, the church is a collection of people: all those who count Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. No matter who you are and where you live--if you're a Christ-follower--you're part of his church called the Body of Christ.

What a remarkable concept! We speak different languages, are of different races and reflect different cultures. But we're all united by Jesus' death on the cross as payment in full for all the wrongs we have done (and continue to do) in our lives. As varied as we are, we're a single family that has accepted Jesus' free gift of forgiveness and anticipation of eternal life.

As with all families--even the best and most stable--differences, disagreements and disappointments are bound to arise among the siblings. And the fact is that the church isn't perfect. But why should it be? After all, its members are imperfect people who do very imperfect things.

This leads us to another key Biblical truth about the church: It's not about us. Instead, it's all about Jesus. Everything we do as Christ-followers should be done to glorify God through Christ, who the Bible tells us is the head of the church. So whether it's a local gathering of believers or the collective millions of Christ-followers on Earth, this Body of Christ answers to an audience of One.

Jesus paid for his church with something much more valuable than money or gold. He bought our spiritual freedom and eternal future at the price of his own precious blood. So whether we worship him in a massive cathedral, a quaint country church or maybe a refurbished drugstore, we're ultimately one body joined through a common faith.

Let's strive as Christ-followers to make his church a body that's healthy, productive and worthy of his sacrifice.

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