Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Separating Christ From the Church

Earlier this week on one of the cable TV religious programs, the host was interviewing a man who stated he had given up on churches. He recounted several instances where his family had selected a church home and attempted to become involved, only to suffer through various problems that caused them to leave.  His concluding statement was something like this, "We are giving up on churches. We want to follow Jesus Christ and his teachings, but we don't want anything to do with the church."

There are two basic points which need to be considered here.  1) There are no perfect churches because churches are made up of imperfect humans.  If I were to find the perfect church, and join it, it would immediately become an imperfect church because I am not perfect.  2) It is impossible to separate Jesus from his church. 

If we really consider the first point, we will admit to its truth. If we have trouble believing the second point, there are some scriptures we need to consider. 

Matthew 16:13-18  When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ,  the Son of the living God.”
 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.  And I tell you that you are Peter,  and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

It is on the basis of Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that Jesus promises to build his church. That confession of the deity of Jesus serves as the foundation for the church of our Lord. 

That is the reason we say Jesus and his church are inseparable.  If we belong to Christ, we belong to his church. He is the foundation on which the church is built. 

There are lots of species of trees that grow tall but appear to be just sitting on the ground. We know those trees can face the strength of wind storms without falling because their roots are deep and strong. I always questioned the construction of sky scrapers because the construction workers always started by digging a huge hole in the ground. I later understood this was going to be the strength of the building with a foundation deep enough and strong enough to support the entire structure.  Just so, Jesus, the foundation of the church, proves to be its strength. 
We often sing, "On Christ the solid rock I stand; All other ground is sinking sand." May we recognize our error when we try to separate Christ from his church. Build your life on him as your foundation and share in the community of believers which comprise his church. 


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