February 19 I Saturday
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together…” —Hebrews 10:24-25
Many people believe in God and accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour but do not think it necessary to attend church. Some say they feel the presence of God far more in the great outdoors than they ever would within the confines of a building. It is wonderful to feel the presence of God, but is this truly what they are feeling? Or are they merely being reminded of God because of the beauty that surrounds them?
The New Testament teaches that it is essential to belong to a body of believers if we are going to experience all that God will do in our lives. Jesus Himself went to the synagogues and had to learn the Old Testament Scriptures. When He began His ministry, one of the first things He did was form His own nucleus of men and women whom He could teach, and who would later pass the gospel on. This involved dedication, perseverance and even suffering and persecution, but the church of Jesus Christ was formed.
Because of Paul’s mission to the Gentiles, he was involved in establishing many churches throughout the Mediterranean world. He writes, “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3). It is the Holy Spirit who brings light and understanding to God’s Word, but this is just the beginning. We are meant to go on knowing Christ and to be filled with Him so that His work in us will flow out into love and blessing for others.
Without a community of believers, we can be sure that what God does in us will eventually wither and die. We need instruction, nourishment, support and encouragement from other Christians. Even Paul and Silas needed confirmation from the church leaders in Antioch before setting out on their first missionary journey. Left to ourselves, we are likely to slip into quirky ideas about Christian beliefs—one being that we do not need church.
We need to be active members of the church of God, not shunning it. The work of the Holy Spirit will be affirmed by experience of what He does in our lives, but the experiential part does not come in isolation. It comes as we function and grow together in the body of Christ. We are not just individuals but are being built together, united in Christ, to serve the agenda and purposes of God, which He accomplishes through His church.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for creating the church as a place to be united with other believers, to serve Your agenda and purposes and to bring Your gospel to the ends of the earth. Help me to be an active member of Your church.