Every first Sunday of the month, as a church, we take communion together. Before we take the sacraments, we share the importance of Christ remaining central to the Church. Often times, as I am preparing to preach and build a case for the significance of communion to our Sunday gathering—I am tormented by the disunity of the Body of Christ. The fact that communion should re-affirm our unity as the Body of Christ, often highlights how much disharmony we have. The disharmony does not bother me, because disharmony is a result of sin. What bothers me, however, is the lack of commitment to truly do something about it. Presenting Christ without demonstrating love and unity within our church is like a demonstration of the gospel devoid of any real power. The unfortunate reality is that many of our practices as believers, in regards to church, mirror the social scene of popular society: commitment phobia. If we aren’t dating churches, we’re in a long-term relationship with one (church), but still making “friends” with others.
Presenting Christ without demonstrating love and unity within our church is like a demonstration of the gospel devoid of any real power.
And because we’re only dating, we can visit as many churches as we want without fulfilling certain expectations. Even when we become members at a church (long-term), we still bail when something goes wrong (because we aren’t actually married). Our membership is solely a matter of time and space, rather than a committed covenant. When we look at the church through this lens, we are neglecting the fact that under God we are family. We seem to want the benefits of a church, without true commitment to one. We may faithfully attend service at a certain location, but the people we do life with and invite to our children’s birthday parties belong to another local body. Sure, we can and should spend time with believers, whether we share the same elders or not, but the place we call our “church” should be synonymous with our family. And family is defined by identity and responsibility, which makes it void of ambiguity and not based on addition. Simply put, we need to be sure that we see our church as a covenant family who we share our lives with regularly, not simply weekly.
Simply put, we need to be sure that we see our church as a covenant family who we share our lives with regularly, not simply weekly.
I began learning the importance of this distinction as I realized the commitment level seen in the marriage covenant was not evident in other areas of my life. I would only commit loosely to everything and everyone else. The bond of covenant commitment must be expanded beyond the marriage of man and wife; it must spread into the local bodies comprising Christ’s bride—the Church. So, while Paul exhorts us not to forsake the assembly, I encourage you not to forsake those who actually comprise that assembly. Invest in them. Commit to your family.
Published February 15, 2016