There is a difference you know- between church and THE church; yet most people’s lives would not reflect it. At some point in time, we lost sight of what The Church was and we allowed it to merge and become one with church. This is a grave error on our part and one that we need to begin rectifying if we intend to do our part to further the Kingdom of God while we are here. For far too long, THE church has come to mean the building that we gather. We get attached to some of the dumbest stuff too- pulpits, hymnals, carpet color, committees, member types, routines, and we even get attached to our unofficial seating charts. What I want to know is….why? What biblical principle does any of this stuff have and why do we cling to it like it is our own personal ark in a lost and dying Earth flooded with worldly culture? Let me break it down for you and I promise to be very plain as I do. The truth behind all of this stuff that we cling to and we get bent out of shape over- IT IS A BUILDING!!!!! We have desperately got to let go of this idea that the building is someone how our own Holy of Holies that only we get to enter to be closer to God. The necessity for such a temple died when Christ was crucified for us on a cross (remember the whole curtain being torn in two? Yeah that’s what it meant). There is nothing magical about the walls of the building, there is nothing magical about the carpet, the pews, the hymnals, not the alter at which I kneel to pray. The truly amazing and powerful supernatural act comes from our Creator and He can hear my cry anywhere. However, before you jump on the bandwagon of “Why do I need to go to church then- I can worship Jesus on the lake this summer,” let me stop you and tell you how important the building is. You NEED to be in church!! There is this revolutionary secret that apparently not many people know in our area- Dollywood is still open at 1pm. That’s right, you can actually get into Dollywood AFTER church is over. 2nd amazing secret- the lake is STILL THERE after church is over. You need to be in church because of what should be inside of the building…THE church.
THE church is you and it’s me, and it is every person who claims the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior- or at least it is supposed to be. THE Church is the refuge that Jesus talks about in Matthew 11. THE church is the cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12. THE church is the teachers, preachers, worship leaders, and the ones who have been equipped for the Kingdom of Heaven that Paul talks about in Ephesians 4. THE Church is the ones that cared for people in Matthew 25. THE Church is the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12. THE Church is people who follow Isaiah’s plea in chapter 6 and cry out Lord SEND ME. THE Church is the body of missionaries that Christ order to go into all nations making disciples and baptizing them in His name found in Matthew 28. And it is long past time for THE Church to remember who we are, why we are here, and who’s mission we are on. We desperately need to become THE Church once again by taking up our cross EVERY SINGLE DAY, and following Him. THE Church needs to get outside of the comfort of their building and start making a difference in the lives of the people in their communities. We serve Christ in a lost and dying world that desperately cries out for a remedy for life, a remedy for the darkness, a remedy for hopelessness, and we have the cure- we have Jesus. THE Church needs to spend more time meeting and conquering this head on and less time in the building barricading themselves from the world outside. THE Church needs to be THE Church…WE need to be THE Church.
My final thought on this- the building is important. It is important for what it is supposed to be, not for what we have made it. It is one massive recharging station for all of us as we trudge through a lost and dying world every day of our lives. To spend the vast majority of our lives around a dark world that so desperately needs God can take a serious toll on your life and your spiritual walk. When you don’t go to church, your spiritual battery gets drained. Stay away long enough and you find yourself looking like the culture in which you live. The building IS important. It is the spiritual recharging station that we need to make it through our lives. But, the building is only important if THE Church resides in it; because THE Church is the hospital for the broken, it is the refuge for the tired and weary, and it is the hope for the orphan and the widow. There is a difference between church and THE Church. When THE Church is alive and doing the work God intended for it to do, the building becomes relevant to those in need. Otherwise, its just a building. We need to be THE Church.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach