I am grateful to Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson (Comeback Churches) for their great look at churches wanting to turnaround so they are not stagnant or dying. They are true “churchmen” because they believe the mission of God is to be carried out by the church of God. Here are just a few reasons why the church matters.
The church is the only institution God built and promised to bless, “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” (Matthew 16:18). It is so precious Christ died for it as we just heard last Sunday, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). I know it is popular to talk about Jesus dying for each of us individually, but, scripture is clear that His death for our sins would be palliative without a communion of believers ready to continue His work of grace.
The church is the proclaimer and protector of divine truth. Paul reminds Timothy to take care of the church even if Paul is not around to help him, “…if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). We are to act like the church because the church is where people learn to act like God followers. Paul tells us that Christ instituted the various gifts of the Spirit so the Body of Christ could work like a well oiled machine keeping itself always ready to point people to God because, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15-16).
The order of action was Christ – Mission – Apostles/Church. The order today is Church – Gifts – Mission. We exist and our gifts are given so people can have the opportunity to hang out and be encouraged to draw closer to God.
That is why it is so important for us, La Habra Christian Church, to focus outward. Titus wrote, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people (Titus 2:11).” Our reason for existence at 1400 Bella Vista is so we can become the church attracting as well as the church missional. We draw close to each other so we can go and tell our friends, family, co-workers, and fellow students about this gospel message given to all once and for all.