The Church that Christ Set Up
Today was a busy day filled with work, “Alien vs Predator: Requiem,” filing an auto claim, and ended with some incredible fellowship. I just arrived home after chilling with some of my best friends. YC’s Mongolian BBQ and a good cigar set the evening’s scene that allowed for the discussions that were held. Our conversation ranged from the imperishable salvation we hold onto because of the powerful hand of God, to the necessity of the local church for Christian people.
Each of us at one point or another had a shaky view of the church at best. It took some immense trials and difficulties for us to discover the Biblical view of what role the local church should have in the lives of the saints.
Back in the day … (not too long ago) … I used to carry my Bible with me EVERYWHERE. I decided recently that that is something I am gonna do again, besides, who wants to encounter an enemy force-sensitive-user without your lightsaber of the Spirit? I certainly don’t! So tonight I brought my laser-sword with me, and it only took us a matter of moments before God’s Word was referenced. Doesn’t God’s Word blow you away at how relevant it is to every aspect of every topic? Amidst the course of our perusals, a text from Hebrews was mentioned that encouraged us greatly:
Hebrews: 10:19-25, “19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (NASB).
Verse 25 was the focal point, but notice the beautiful argument the author of the epistle makes as he leads up to it: “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus…” and “since we have a great priest over the house of God…” These are powerful statements! Whatever follows must truly be important.
The writer is, of course, writing to admonish Jewish Christians not to go on living as though the Old Covenant were in effect because Christ came to establish a new covenant with better promises. There were many Jews who, at one time, professed faith in Christ and were falling away. It was for this reason that the author was specific in his directions to not waver in our confession of faith. Practically speaking, he writes that Christians are to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Included in this are the local gatherings of the church. We are not to stop meeting together as a corporate body. Consider that it was Christ that established the New Covenant, and in this better covenant Christians were to actively participate in the church structure He set up.
One of the immediate benefits I experienced when I began attending the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church was the blessing of a relationship with my elders. They worked at getting to know me, and I them. This experience was what the same author also wrote in 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (NASB). It is presupposed, not only in the book of Hebrews but throughout the New Testament, that Christians know their elders, and that their elders know the members of their flock. Why is this so? Because elders keep watch over our souls as those who will give an account to God. I was listening to a sermon by an Irish Presbyterian pastor on this subject who, commenting on this verse, said that we can really assist our elders watch over us by our faithfulness in our participation in the church. This not only includes attendance, but I think can also carry the thought of service and time.
As the conversation began to wrap up, all of us were in complete agreement on one thing: the local church and fellowship within the corporate body are a great blessing from God, designed for our betterment.
Our God is remarkable in His care for His people, is He not?
Thanks for reading,