Why is it Important to Identify with a Church?
The Importance of Christian Community
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Gift of Community
Did you know that God never intended for you to do life alone? Instead, His desire is for you to have support, guidance, and relationship with other believers. So while we may mingle with coworkers or talk to our neighbors, authentic community helps us battle sin, supporting us through life's ups and downs. That kind of interaction requires knowing one another beyond a "Hello" or "How are you doing?"
That's why God gave us the gift of community. Community provides a sense of belonging, family, encouragement and comfort. It occurs through the relationships we develop with other believers as we pray for one another and support each other in our walk with Christ. It draws us out of isolation, strengthening us as we walk with fellow believers through life.
Since God designed us with a need for relationship, both with Him and other believers, He gives us an example to follow. His Word tells us that the Church is Christ's bride. In Ephesians 5:22-23, Paul compares the relationship between the Church and Christ to that of a husband and wife. Paul explains that Christ is the "head of the Church," and the Church is to submit to Him because He sacrificed His life for her. Christ cares for the Church as the husband cares for his wife–and together, they are as one. What a beautiful picture of God's love for us.
In addition to the Church being referred to as the bride and Christ, her bridegroom, God's Word tells us that the Church is also the solid foundation or building.
In the Old Testament, the temple or tabernacle stood as a reminder of their separation from God. God was personally present, but the curtain dividing the holiest of places blocked even the priests from entering whenever they wanted. But, when Christ sacrificed His life for our sins, the veil that separated us from God was torn from the top to the bottom. This is significant because Christ's sacrifice gave us direct access to God.
Later, in the New Testament, Paul tells the Corinthians that they are "God's building." As believers in Christ, the Corinthians had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, with Christ as the foundation–and so do we!
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is present whenever two or more believers gather together.
Matthew 18:19-20 says, "Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."
How wonderful is that!? God demonstrates His love for us through others and uses us to meet one another's needs. Just like iron sharpens iron, being in the presence of other believers who know us well helps us choose the right path, stay the course and grow closer to God.
To help us better understand, God gives us another example. His Word tells us that the Church is like the body.
Paul explains in Corinthians that Christ is the head of the Church and believers are the body. 1 Corinthians 12: 17-20 describes how each has a specific function, but together we work as a whole. For example, some may be the eyes, or others the arms and feet. But, together as a whole, we can function as one, accomplishing God's will.
So what can we learn from these examples of the Church?
As believers and members of the church community, we have the opportunity to use our gifts and talents to serve others–sharing in their lives and sufferings. Together we can grow in our understanding of Scripture, edifying one another and serving one another.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
How then should we serve?
Community encourages and helps to meet one another's earthly needs.
Romans 12:10-11 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
God tells us to love each other the way He has loved us. As Christ Himself laid down His life for His friends, so are we to model His example–being willing to comfort, serve and love others well.
Community bears one another's burdens.
Galatians 6:2 says, Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Life can throw some challenging things at us. However, when we have the love of others to support and comfort us, it makes the burden or pain we are experiencing easier to bear. Therefore, we are called to come alongside one another, praying for one another.
Community works together as one.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
As members of one body, we are to serve God together so that others might come to know Him.
Finally, remember, we are to look to God as the head, working together in unity and love. God knows that life can be challenging; that is why He gave us the gift of community. He desires that we belong to His Church, where we can serve and grow through the body of Christ.
Pray this week:
Heavenly Father, You are the God of the universe. I will desire to serve you today through your Church. Help me to be a blessing to others.
How can you use your gifts to serve others in your community today? Connect with a caring volunteer to learn more.