It seems to be a belief that is growing more and more prevalent all the time. People see the importance of God, they see the importance of a relationship with God, and they see the importance of a connection of some form to Christianity; but despite it all, they see absolutely no need to have any connection with the church. Their mantra is “give me Jesus but not the church.” The church holds no value to them whatsoever. In their minds, they can be Christians just as much on their own, in the isolation of their homes, in the serenity of nature, or anywhere in the world as they can connect to a local church. It’s the anti-religion religion, and it ignores everything we know about God’s mind concerning the church. The church isn’t important to people who don’t see the church as God sees the church. But there are at least four reasons by we know the church is important to God and why it should be important to us as well.
The church was in God’s eternal wisdom. That means that even before time ever began God had the church in mind. It was always a part of His plan. It wasn’t an afterthought or a “plan B” because His mission had failed. When Paul was addressing the revelation of God’s mystery he said that God’s eternal purpose was accomplished through the church making God’s manifold wisdom known to the world
(Ephesians 3:8-11). How could something that God had in mind through the recesses of eternity be unimportant?
The church was promised by God. From the time that sin entered the world, God set a plan in motion that would culminate with His church being established and redemption being made possible. And with that plan in mind throughout history, God would repeatedly give reminders about the coming of that church. Just read passages like Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14; Joel 2:28-32; and other passages and see the plan God had in mind. The church was at the center of God’s redemptive plan throughout history and He repeatedly reminded man of it. How could something that God promised throughout time be unimportant?
God sent His Son to die for the church. When Paul met with the Ephesians elders one last time he tried to encourage them and remind them of the gravity of their responsibilities as elders. In that context he said these words, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). The church was important enough to God that He was willing to send His Son to die for it. How could something God was willing to let His Son die for be unimportant?
God promised to save the church. Just as the ark was God’s chosen vessel of salvation from the flood that destroyed the world the church is God’s chosen vessel of salvation from the condemnation of sin. We know that because Christ is said to be the Savior of His body, the church (Ephesians 5:23). Therefore, if I’m in the church I’m among the saved because God has promised to save the church. How could something God promised to save be unimportant?
There is absolutely no doubt that the church is important to God. He designed it to be an essential part of our lives. So when we say the church is not important we are minimizing something for which He sent His very Son to die. The church may not matter to a lot of people in this world but there is no doubt that it definitely matters to God.
The Midtown Messenger, Midtown Church of Christ Weekly Bulletin. August 25, 2019.