For many years, people have been emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus, and have neglected a critical part of that relationship. People have neglected the function of the church, and have failed to see that you cannot have a relationship with Jesus Christ apart from His church.
The church is the earthly body of Christ. Not the same body that hung on the cross, but the essence and representation of what Christ is. Christ is depicted as the Head of the body, the church in Colossians 1:18. It is the rule of Christ that directs the body, just the same as a physical human body cannot live without the head controlling it. The church is the body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22-23). We (Christians) were all baptized into this one body (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Our baptism puts us into His church. The Lord adds those to His church that are being saved (Acts 2:47). This does not mean that your name on a church membership role guarantees a place in Heaven. That is still your responsibility to get there via your personal relationship with God. Jesus built (Matthew 16:18) His church for a reason. The purchase price was His blood (Acts 20:28). He is the head (Ephesians 5:23,24) and we are subject to Him.
God places the primary responsibility of teaching the gospel on the church, and secondarily upon each member. Why? *In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church ** Ephesians 3:10.
Those that neglect church are guilty of several sins. First the sin most practiced is found in James 4:17: "he that knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin". Secondly, not assembling with the saints in church prevents you from partaking of the Lord's Supper with the other saints. And that is one of the primary reasons we come together as a church. Third, you cannot encourage other Christians if you are absent from them. A Christians duty is to build-up, and edify one another. Not only that, but an absentee is depriving other Christians from doing their duty. Those who neglect the church are being influenced by the world. But if they go to church, they can be influenced by godly, caring people. Just who do you think God will appreciate more?
As far as salvation goes, The Church carries just as much weight as the death on the Cross, or the Grace of God. You cannot be saved without being in and participating in the church. It is the church that Jesus will present to God in the great judgment day (Ephesians 5:24-30). You cannot be saved if you are outside of the church. Please come visit us and learn more about His church.
Do not neglect His church, your soul depends upon it.
We know that God is not willing that any perish (2 Peter 3:9). You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and died on the cross for your sins. (Acts 8:37). You must repent of your sins (Luke 13:3), you must confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32) and you must be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Then you must remain faithful and continue learning how to serve God (2 Peter 3:18). Let us help you on your spiritual journey. May God bless you in your study of His word.
By Carey Scott 7/31/2011
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