You Are NOT the Church.
You are NOT the Church.
You’re a member of it. You’re a representative of it. But you’re not the Church.
Over these last few weeks, I’ve seen some pretty dangerous theology and doctrine promoted in the name of “meaning well”. There’s enough truth in it that I’ve even said it a time or two without fleshing it out. Primarily centered around the idea that we don’t need a building to be the church. Like every well meaning idea, there’s some truth in it. Because there’s a lot of churches that don’t have a building. And we are called to collectively be the Church whether we’re together or scattered. But don’t be deceived. Your enemy is using good intentions to promote dangerous notions. No, we don’t need to own a building to be the Church – a roof is a nice thing to have on a rainy day, but it doesn’t mean my family isn’t my family. But we do need fellowship to be the Church. We do need to gather together for worship to be the Church. We do need the unique way the presence of God manifests itself when we assemble as the Bible calls us to. We need the power that we receive when we’re together, to be what we’re called to be when we’re not.
Look at a few passages and ask yourself what happens when we substitute being a Christian, for being the Church…
Isolated Christianity leads to self-centered Christianity, not unity and maturity.
“It was He who gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-13)
Independent Christianity leads to spiritual weakness. We need each other to be encouraged, as the world we live in grows darker.
“Do not forsake meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25)
A church of one does not offer a process for relational restoration.
“If your brother sins against you, go and point out his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won him over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he still refuses to listen, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew. 18:15-17)
A church that does not assemble together does not have the power it needs to oppose the work of the devil.
When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. (1Cor. 5:4,5)
I could add more, but ask yourself this – “Who benefits from such a church model?” It is obvious that God has been working through this crisis, but only a spiritual infant would not recognize that the enemy has also been using it for his advantage in the lives of many. Of course we can, and we should, suspend services in times of great crisis, when our lives and the lives of our neighbors would be endangered by gathering together. But it should be done reluctantly. I might decide to stop visiting my 91 year old mother, or my grandchildren, if I was worried about getting them sick. But I wouldn’t think that a Zoom meeting was anything close to the same thing as being with them. If we’re going to interrupt our joining together in worship, fellowship, and the preaching of the word and discipling of the saints, we need to do so VERY cautiously. In recognition that the assembled church is a powerful thing. And with the understanding of exactly what we are laying down, temporarily, for a greater good. But make no mistake – what we are laying down is vital. It is necessary. And it is unique.
If church is only for our entertainment or even instruction, then it can be done at a distance, and at our convenience. But if that’s all church ever was to you, I’d suggest you don’t go back, because you were part of something that doesn’t resemble what the Bible defines as “Church”. Jesus promised that when we gather in His name, He would be in our midst. The Scripture tells us that His power is present as we meet together in His name. We’re told that the Church gathering together is the mechanism through which we are strengthened to be able to stand as the world careens toward judgment. And we’re instructed that through the authority God gives to those He raises up in the Church, we’re brought into maturity, unity, and reconciliation.
So no, you’re not the Church. The only thing that can be, IS the Church. So be a witness. Be a reflection of Jesus. Be an ambassador for Christ – as we’re called to be all these things. But a Church of one, doesn’t exist.