In an age of individualism, Christians would do well to open our bibles and look at the testimony of Scripture: There are no solitary Christians. Persecuted? Yes. Imprisoned? Certainly. Banished? Undoubtedly. Solitary? Never. In fact, walking through the New Testament epistles, I am reminded of how little is addressed to the individual. The bulk of our New Testament canon is directed to the church, and even when an epistle is written to one, for example Timothy, it is for the sake of the church, and in the context of the local church, specifically. Even the Greek word ekklesia that we translate as “church” literally means “assembly.” No one assembles alone.
Tag Archives: Church
The Blessing of Corporate Worship
While we are still assessing the worldwide issues that came out of the pandemic, for Christians, surely, we can agree that one of the key lessons learned was the value of corporate worship on the Lord’s Day. Perhaps we got a taste of what our brothers and sisters face in countries where they are not free to assemble in worship or even persecuted for it. How easy it is to take in-person, assembled worship for granted. You may remember, like me, the anticipation and excitement of returning to corporate worship with grateful hearts to praise the Lord together. Now, I want you to think back to that moment, and capture that in your memory, if you can. Because, that experience captures the essence of this psalm. Or, borrowing from this psalm, we could say that we were blessed to bless the Lord.
How God Strengthens His Church
God also strengthens his church through the obedience of faith, an expression Paul used to begin this letter and now to conclude to it. It is the obedience to believe the gospel as well as to live it. Or, as one commentator describes it, “obedience always involves faith, and faith always involves obedience.” He who enabled and empowered us to believe so also enables and empowers us to live obedient lives. We shall not be defined by sin and the decay of death but life through the faith God gives: “May we be rich in faith, be strong in faith, live by faith, walk by faith, experience the joy of faith, do the work of faith, hope through faith.” And so, God strengthens his church through the obedience of faith.
Members One of Another
Modern Evangelicals have seemingly accomplished a miracle (Or, maybe it’s a magic trick?), something foreign to Scripture yet readily embraced: the churchless Christian. Emphasizing our desires over God’s design and our pleasure over pleasing him, we have relegated the cherished assembly of the Beloved into a consumer’s option. This not to say that God is forgotten. But with the reign of easy-believism, the individual is all-important, and the authority of the self stands sovereign. In his commentary on Romans, James Boice (writing in 1995) observes, “It strikes me…that today the problem is our individualism, which I would define as hyperpersonalized religion. It is the religion of ‘Jesus and me only.’” Boice goes onto label this phenomenon a form of narcissism, warning, “you cannot have ‘one body in Christ’ if everyone is creating a private little a la carte religion for himself.”
The Purity and Peace of the Church
In an age which has a low view of the church, this may sound startling. Yet, it is to the church that Christ has given his commission, commands, and keys. It is in and through the church that God matures, his children with his promises and presence.
A Disciple’s Life
A disciple is one who by God’s grace savingly confesses Christ, rejoices in assembling together as a church, may be tempted but hopefully never assists Satan, to the glory of Christ denies self, and awaits his imminent return and eternal glory.