Published March 1, 2007
In the course of human history few institutions have been more misunderstood and maligned than the Christian church. Indeed, it would be foolish to insist that the church is perfect, because it is made up of frail and fallible people like you and me. Unfortunately, the criticism being leveled against the church today is not only coming from those outside the church, but from those within.
However, those who have a gloom-and-doom attitude toward the church are certainly overstating the case. Surely, the picture is not as bad as some would have us believe.
George Bernard Shaw, the Irish dramatist, playwright, and literary critic who at best was a mystic and at worst an atheist, once stated what would happen if the church went out of business for awhile. He proclaimed that it would have “a very salutary effect. It would soon evoke an irresistible desire for the re-establishment of the church.” No matter what people say, the world just can’t live without the church.
Here are nine reasons why I love the church:
First, I love the Christ of the church. The church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. He bought it with His own blood. The Bible says, “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). I believe that we should loathe what Jesus loathed and love what Jesus loved.
Second, I love the creation of the church. The church originated in Christ and was forged by a handful of believers who had been on their knees in prayer and empowered by the Holy Spirit to change the world. They emerged from an upper room with an indomitable faith and an unconquerable zeal to face a world that had previously intimidated them into a paralyzing fear. Inspired by the miracle of Pentecost they launched out on a grand adventure that resulted in churches being planted throughout the whole world.
Third, I love the convictions of the church. The convictions of the church are drawn from the Bible. The Word of God is an infallible handbook that is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 2:16). When a church fails to embrace the Bible as altogether true its doctrines and values are subject to weaken or disintegrate. However, praise the Lord for those churches that don’t try to change the Bible or find fault with it, but just believe it.
Fourth, I love the congregation of the church. There are always some surly, cantankerous, obstreperous people in the church, but the best people I know are also in the church. I have received great acts of love from caring church members. I have made intimate and lifelong friends in the church. I thrill to find warm, convivial fellowship among God’s wonderful people wherever I go.
Fifth, I love the commission of the church. Of course, the commission of the church is articulated in Matthew 28:18-20, and it charges the church with the responsibility of evangelizing the world. We are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to every person. Only when man’s heart is changed will the world be changed. No institution, entity, or organization has a higher or nobler commission.
Sixth, I love the cooperation of the church. The world is known for its anarchy and competition, but the church is known for its camaraderie and cooperation. When God’s people get together incredible things are accomplished for the good of mankind and the cause of the Kingdom.
Seventh, I love the charity of the church. Think of all the needs that have been supplied, all the hurts that have been alleviated, all the homes that have been blessed, and all the lives that have been changed because the church is motivated by love. So long as the church insists on love being the quality which crowns her ministry worthwhile things will be attempted and achieved.
Eighth, I love the celebrations of the church. I have seen the revelry that comes with winning a championship football game and the festivities that follow the final out in a Major League Baseball World Series, but there is nothing that compares with a worship service when the Spirit of God is moving, souls are being saved, heaven comes down, and glory fills the souls of the saints. Now that is a celebration!
Ninth, I love the consummation of the church. The church will outlive and outlast every other organization on earth. Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. The church is the bride of Christ and one of these days He is going to receive the church unto Himself. It is going to be a “glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).
Perhaps you can add a tenth reason for loving the church. At any rate, make sure you hold the church in high esteem.
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