With his finger pointed toward a window, he shouted, “My church, my church is those mountains over there all alone!”
Why did he say that? Well, I invited this man to join me one Sunday morning. Instead of joining me, he decided to give me a lecture on how he does not need the church to be a follower of Jesus. Over the years, this statement has become more and more common. However, nothing could be more antithetical to what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Why? Well, listen to what Paul writes:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For 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 (1 Corinthians 12:12–13).
What does that mean? Great question! Christian baptism has both vertical and horizontal implications.
Vertically, it is a public declaration of a person’s faith and trust in what Jesus has done through his life, death, and resurrection alone to bring them into right relationship with God (Romans 6:1-4). Horizontally, Paul tells us that it serves as an outward symbol of what the Holy Spirit has done to join a Christian to a larger body of believers.
In the New Testament, there are 59 “one another” commands. We are to love one another, serve one another, pray for one another, and more. If the New Testament says it once, we obviously should pay attention. If it says it 59 times, to neglect it is to miss the big E on the eye chart.
That is why it is impossible to be a follower of Jesus Christ and not belong to and regularly associate with other believers. Seriously? Yes! You see, the author of Hebrews writes in Hebrews 10 v 24–25:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Why does he say that? It is possible that some were making claims like the man I met that day. Sadly, it appears not much has changed either. I believe regular church attendance has diminished to twice a month. Now that should sound alarms in the life of Christian! Why?
Well, the author of Hebrews goes on to warn us in the rest of the chapter of the consequences and judgment that can result from a lack of regularly meeting with other Christians. In these verses, he implores us to frequently gather together so that we can strengthen each other’s faith as we eagerly await the coming of Jesus! We need one another!
Grace Point Church Northwest, please do not shrink back from frequently meeting with other followers of Jesus. Make the Sunday gathering and weekly community a high priority. And trust me when I say I get it!
It’s hard to get everyone ready and out the door. There have been difficult weeks in which I just wanted to stay home. However, I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to shrink back, but in obedience to these verses, decided to participate in community group or the weekend gathering. Each time I was so thankful that I did for God used a message, song, or person to strengthen my faith. I need you, you need me, and we need others!
So with that, I’ll see you on Sunday!