Why do I love the Church? And why should you also love the Church? Sadly, it has become very popular for Christians to bash the Church and minimize her importance today. I hear people saying the Church is no longer relevant. Some suggest that whenever 2-3 Christians gather in a coffee shop, that is really Church. Others say that they are a part of the world wide church and that is what really counts. Never mind that over 90% of the references to Church in the Bible relate to a local congregation. Sure, gathering in a coffee shop is part of Church, but only one part. Church, as described very clearly in the New Testament, is a group of disciples committed to Jesus and to one another. There are leaders or shepherds, there is discipleship taking place, there is a sense of mission, and there is correction and admonishment when needed.
I agree that the Church generally is not where God wants her to be. There needs to be changes for her to be all that God has intended for her. There are certainly faults and weaknesses. That’s because the Church is made up of people, and even redeemed people are a work in progress. It amazes me how much we extend mercy on people (even excusing sin at times) but not the Church. The Church is people. So why do love I love the Church? I can think of a number of reasons, but I want to mention just four today.
1. I love the Church because the Church is God’s instrument to bring about spiritual growth and maturity in His people. It is through the Church that God has designed for disciples to be made and reproduced. Without the Church, His people will not grow significantly, nor will they be equipped to do the works to which He has called them. Ephesians 4 is only one place that clearly states this.
2. I love the Church because the Church is the pillar and support of the truth (see 1 Timothy 3:15). One reason so many today are being deceived by all sorts of tangents and heresy is that so many have disconnected themselves from the Church. The Church has been given the responsibility, and the anointing, to guard the truth. Without the Church, truth will be lost!
3. I love the Church because the Church is the body of Christ here on earth. Do we understand that? The Church is Jesus here in this world. We are His hands and feet and mouthpiece. We don’t just represent Jesus here on earth, but we ARE His body. The world will not truly see Jesus without the Church! 1 Corinthians 12 is one of many passages that states this.
4. I love the Church because the Church is the Bride of Christ. See Ephesians 5. She is the focus of Jesus’ attention and affection and love! When I hear arrogant Christians bash the Church I must admit that I cringe. Is there no fear of God? How can someone who claims to know Christ bash His bride? It is the ultimate of pride, and it certainly shows no fear of God whatsoever. Jesus loves His bride, the Church, and so must we.
No wonder the kingdom of darkness works so hard to discredit the Church, and then tries to separate Christians from the Church. Within the context of the Church, followers of Jesus grow in maturity. The Church is the pillar and support of truth. The Church is the body of Christ here on earth. The Church is the Bride of Christ. And the day is coming soon when Jesus will return for His Bride, and bring an end to the kingdom of darkness. No wonder there is such attack on the Church!