Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Why I love the local church

It will be seven years next month since I've been a member of my church. It's hard not to get teary-eyed when I think of the journey that led up to that day. It's also hard not to get teary-eyed as I write this and think of what this group of believers means to me. If you asked me 10 years ago whether I would darken the door of a church again, the answer probably would have been, "What!? Are you kidding?" Yet here I am today, a member in good standing of a local church.

There was a good chunk of time when my family thought we just needed us and Jesus. We had been through a difficult church situation and pretty much threw the baby out with the bathwater. I would strongly discourage anyone from going lone ranger for Christ now, but I am grateful that God was greater than the choice to do so. While this doesn't excuse sin, He uses all things to achieve His purpose, which included bringing me back into Christian fellowship again.

So here are some reasons why I love the church and specifically my local church:

- After being a Christian for 40 years, I finally heard the clear presentation of the gospel for the first time. Oh how sweet and freeing it was to realize that Jesus not only paid the penalty for my sin but also provided the perfect righteousness I so desperately needed. This message continues to be proclaimed week after week.

- This is the place to receive the means of grace. After being spiritually malnourished, sound preaching Sunday after Sunday and regular celebration of the Lord's Table are feasts for my soul.

- This is where the one anothers of scripture are put into practice. Love one another, exhort one another, pray for one another, and the list goes on.

- "[B]eing united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man."1 Suffice it to say, I have received abundantly from the gifts and graces of my brothers and sisters.

- Because of the gospel, I am united with those for whom Christ died and with those He loves. My lone-ranger days are over for good. And though we haven't arrived yet, we share in the promise that He will present the church to Himself without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, for which He gets all the glory. (Eph. 5:27)

… to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:21

Now that I've shared why I love the church, it's your turn. Why do you love the church? Please share in the comments section.