Isn’t church unnecessary?

This questions comes from the assumption that being a Christian is basically an individual thing and you don’t need to attend a weekly religious service or be part of a local community of believers like the New Testament describes.  While it is true that these things don’t make you a Christian, Jesus established them because they are, in fact, required for significant spiritual growth.  This happens as believers come together to worship God through the preaching and reading of God’s Word, receiving the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, and praying, singing, and serving together. 

The Bible doesn’t describe “church” as a worship service or a building.  Instead, it describes believers in this way: “you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

When you see word “church” in the Bible, it doesn’t mean “building.”  The word meant “public assembly,” but Jesus added to the meaning by using the word to describe the communities he was establishing on the earth and the structure he was giving them.

What Jesus built (and continues to build) is not the brick and mortar structures that people call “churches,”  but rather, local communities led by qualified men called “elders” (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1) that bear the marks of a true church as described in the Scriptures: the true preaching of the Scriptures, the right giving of the Lord’s supper and baptism, and the loving care and discipline of the church.  These local covenant community of believers form a structure that will stand forever, filled with the presence of God, offering Christians the support they need to know God better and get through life.  Jesus intended the Christian life to work this way.

 

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