Some people claim to follow Jesus, but do not see the need to be a part of the church. They want to say “Yes” to Jesus, but “No” to the church. These people have a problem. God doesn’t give us the option to accept Jesus and reject the church. Such a notion is completely foreign to Scripture. In fact, in the Bible, the church is a really big deal.
The church was in the heart of God even before the creation of the world. Ephesians 1:4 says, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…” Before he created us God knew that we would choose to sin and that we would need to be saved. Therefore he planned to send Jesus to die for the sins of the world so that anyone who would put their full trust in the crucified and resurrected Jesus could be saved. Those who are saved are added to the church at the time of their baptism (Acts 2:41) and are taught to be faithful members of the church (1 Cor.12:27) until the day that they die (Rev.2:10). That’s a big deal!
Being a regular participant in the worship services of the church is also a big deal. Heb.10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Our church friends need our encouraging presence in the Lord’s house on the Lord’s Day. We need to see each other’s smiling faces. We need to hear encouraging words from our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need the hugs and handshakes and the occasional shoulder to cry on. We need to lift up our voices together in song and in prayer. We need to celebrate communion together. We need to pool our resources to further the work of the Lord. We need to open up God’s Word together and reflect on how we will obey him. We need to worship together, therefore, the church is a big deal!
We are not only the church on Sunday morning, we are the church 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Therefore, the church is a big deal as we spread out into the community where we live, being the salt of the earth and the light of the world that Jesus has called us to be. The church is a big deal because we can make a difference in the lives of those around us. In this world where there is so much suffering, you can find a broken heart anywhere you turn. The church can offer hope in times of trouble, and that’s something that the world cannot do. Whenever disaster strikes, it is the church that is quite often the first to arrive with help and the last to leave the scene.
The church is a big deal because God has chosen us to make known his wisdom concerning the gospel message, the good news of salvation through Jesus (Eph.3:10). Jesus says that we will be his witnesses (Acts 1:8). While there is much that we can do individually to bear witness to Jesus, our witness is magnified many times over when we consolidate our efforts to evangelize. Working together we can be a great force in spreading the word about the salvation that is available through Jesus.
There is much, much more to be said about the fact that the church is a big deal, but let me close with this thought—God purchased the church with the precious blood of his Son Jesus (Acts 20:28). It cost God the life of his one and only Son in order for the church to come into existence. If this is how God shows how much he values the church, how do we show how much the church is worth to us?
The church is indeed a big deal!