So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.—Ephesians 2:19-22
We can never separate being a Christian from being part of Church. To be a citizen is to be part of a nation. To be a family member is to be part of a household. To be a Christian is to be part of Church.
A quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer from the last century is still way too true in our times:
“the word church to Protestants has the sound of something infinitely commonplace, more or less indifferent and superfluous, that does not make their heart beat fast; something with which a sense of boredom is so often associated” [quoted in John MacArthur, The Master’s Plan for the Church, p. 325]
If we want to be Christ’s kind of Christians in Christ’s kind of Church, we must take seriously our true Identity in Christ as citizens and family members (Eph 2:19), and commit ourselves without qualification to our Origin – the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20).
Thinking either little of Christ’s church, or little of Christ’s foundation for the church is nothing short of rejecting God’s design for us as Christians.
Do you not realise that from Acts ch 2 all the way to Revelation ch 3 that the church is the context for everything written? Even the letters written to individuals are letters of commendation and instruction regarding their ministry in their churches. From the time that Jesus went up to heaven, to the time when Jesus returns to call us to Himself, everything is about the Church.
In the NT you never find a Christian who is separated from the church. A Christian without a church is as much a contradiction as a citizen with no nationality or a family member without a surname.
In the words of Charles Spurgeon:
“All who have first given themselves to the Lord, should, as speedily as possible, also give themselves to the Lord’s people. How else is there to be a Church on the earth? If it is right for anyone to refrain from membership in the Church, it is right for everyone, and then the testimony for God would be lost to the world! The Church is … the home for Christ’s family”
[“The Best Donation,” (No. 2234) an exposition of 2 Corinthians 8:5 delivered on April 5, 1891 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England. http://tollelege.wordpress.com/2007/07/30/the-dearest-place-on-earth-by-charles-spurgeon/ [accessed 2013-10-24]]
Spurgeon affectionately referred to church as “the dearest place on earth”.
Church is no accident. Take it seriously.