We are living in an age of lawlessness and a time period described in the Bible as perilous times. There are some professing Christians who have even gone so far as to say that there is no need to be involved in the local church, there is no need for pastor’s anymore, and all we need is a personal relationship with Jesus. They say things like, “We do not go to church; we are the church, so it does not matter if I attend church services.” Yes, the church is the assembling of the “called out ones” which can be in any place not just a building but 1Timothy 3:15 calls the house of God (or meeting place) the Church. It also distinguishes the house of God (the meeting place) from individual believers and their behavior in it.
The local church was not a man’s idea that will fade away or be replaced by some so called “new thing” God is now doing. It is a part of the requirements found in Scripture for every person who calls Jesus their Lord and Savior. God planned the Church in eternity past before the Creation or the Fall of man. The church (with Jesus as the Head, and the Believer, as an individual member of His Body) is the eternal purpose and central intent of God’s will (Colossians 1:26, 27) and Jesus is committed to build it (Matthew 16:18). It was a part of the mystery or truth hidden in the past but now revealed. It is about Christ in us and us in Christ, in a Body called the Church. Not only was Jesus the central intent of God’s will and purpose but Christ as the Head of a Body called the Church. God planned and purposed the Church’s existence on both the universal and local Church level.
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Ephesians 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The Believer HAS to totally accept the fact that Jesus Christ, and Christ in His Body called the Church (the hope of glory Colossians 1:26, 27) is the eternal purpose and central fact of God’s will. Any other concept robs the Believer both individually and corporately of proper honor, motivation, priority, and view of the Church in God’s eternal plan. When it is not central, the Church is viewed like: it was a side thought or after thought of God; an addition, addendum, or supplement to His plan for man; another item for busy people to add to their weekly to do list; a man’s idea and since it is, then it is easy to forsake and not support.
So the question is, have you found your place in His Body called the Church (which exists on two levels: universal/local) or do you remain a missing Body part?