Loving what Jesus loves

Jesus Loves the Little ChildrenJesus Loves MeThe Love of God.  Remember these songs from church?  They are all true.  Jesus loves us.

There’s another thing Jesus loves – his church.  In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says he came to build a church and he sealed the deal with his death at the Cross.

Some of you back away from that.  You only want to think about Jesus loving you, you, you.  The church? Not so much.  Especially when it comes to your participation in it. Maybe it’s not all about you as an individual. Jesus has a thing for his collective church, too.

Disclaimer:  I’m NOT saying you have to go to church to be a Christian.  Not at all.  But why wouldn’t a Christian not want to attend, support, pray for, and give to the church for which Jesus died?  A Christ-follower that doesn’t flesh-out his followship through a local church?  There’s something just not right about that.

I understand why non-Christian outsiders often loathe the church – sometimes our actions deserve their contempt.  What I don’t understand is why Christian insiders ignore the church.

Attendance and participation in churches in America (a Christian nation?) has reached an all-time low.   Data-gatherers now define a “regular church attender” as someone who attends church once a month!  Really?  The Southern Baptist Convention boasts a church membership roll of over 16.2 million people. But on any given weekend only about 6.1 million are in a worship service.  (I’m not picking on the SBC.  It’s much worse in some other denominations.)

Proof of Jesus’ love for his church?

A.  He died for it.

B.  He calls it his Bride.  Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church & gave himself for it.”  See also Revelation 19:7, 21:2, 9-10.  I wonder what Jesus thinks when we treat his Bride so shabbily?

C.  He calls it his Body.  1 Corinthians 12:26 says,  “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts;  and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”  I wonder what he thinks when the individual parts don’t plug-in and function as he has designed them to do?

D.  He calls it his Building. Ephesians  2:21-22 says, “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being             built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”  I wonder what Jesus thinks when parts of the building refuse to be joined together?

Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- & all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The church of Jesus Christ is often messy, sometimes chaotic, frequently unprofessional,  usually uncontrollable, often hypocritical, sometimes judgmental, frequently selfish, usually trying to figure it out as we go along.  The church is filled with sinful human beings.

But it is STILL the Bride, the Body, and the Building of Jesus Christ.  And it is beautiful.

And if you claim to be a Christ-follower, you should support it.

Period.

Grace to you.

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~ by jackpickel on January 14, 2013.

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