Valuing Your Connection to the Local Church

A good connection to the church matters little if I am not where I need to be in my relationship with Christ. A strong relationship with Christ equals a strong relationship with the church as the two things go hand in hand. Likewise, a poor relationship with Christ equals a detached reality with the church. The claim so many are making today that I can have Christ without the church is blatantly false and leads to utter spiritual ruin. You cannot have Christ and not be a part of the church.

Perhaps the clearest passage that illustrates this is Ephesians 1.22-23: And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way. Note how this is a statement of union … of one-flesh connectedness. You cannot have one without the other. What good is your head without the body? What good is your body without a head? The head directs the body and has authority over it, 1.22. The head needs the body in full-functioning form for effective action in the world. It is profound when we think of how the Son of God has humbly attached himself to an imperfect body (saints who believe in Him) and loved it. He has filled the body with the Spirit for the work of transformation so in the end He may present it (you) to the Father without spot or wrinkle… but holy and blameless, Ephesians 5.27. If we neglect the church, we neglect Jesus.

Charles Spurgeon also saw the importance of the local church when he said:
I believe that every Christian ought be joined to some visible church – that is his plain duty according to the scriptures. God’s people are not dogs, otherwise they might go about one by one. They are sheep and, therefore, they should be in flocks.

It is impossible to have Jesus but not the church. If we are in union with Christ, the head, then we are necessarily also connected to his body, the church. Christ is inseparably identified with his people and if we neglect the church, we neglect Jesus.

Assembling with the local church is something special. When coming together every week, you are participating in something that is timeless and vast. Spiritually we all make up the universal church, which is “the totality of God’s people under the New Covenant.” The Hebrew writer said it this way: you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel, Hebrews 12.18-19; 22-24a.

We have all come to a spiritual mountain and are part of the universal church. We are already participants in this gathering, but there is more. Each week the Cornerstone family comes together for a particular and special purpose. We gather in the presence of the Lord for the purpose of hearing and responding to his word. Isn't it wonderful to know we have been drawn together by God into a family? As a member of His church, you are part of His family of believers. We are all part of a building that is being built together for God's dwelling in the Spirit, Ephesians 2.21-22. O blessed thought! When God draws people to Himself, He draws them into a family!

How valuable is that?

Matthew Allen

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