BY RICK WARREN
“God’s family is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15b GW)
You are called to belong, not just believe.
Even in the perfect, sinless environment of Eden, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18a NIV).
We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves. The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship.
The Bible says we are put together, joined together, built together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, and held together and will be caught up together (1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 2:21-22, 3:6, 4:16; Colossians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).
You’re not on your own anymore!
While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. In God’s family you are connected to every other believer, and we will belong to each other for eternity. The Bible says, “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:5).
Following Christ includes belonging, not just believing. We are members of his Body — the Church. C. S. Lewis noted that the word “membership” is of Christian origin, but the world has emptied it of its original meaning. Stores offer discounts to “members,” and advertisers use member names to create mailing lists. In churches, membership is often reduced to simply adding your name to a roll, with no requirements or expectations.
To Paul, being a “member” of the church meant being a vital organ of a living body, an indispensable, interconnected part of the Body of Christ. We need to recover and practice the biblical meaning of membership. The church is a body, not a building; an organism, not an organization (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 6:15, 12:12-27).
God’s purposes for his church are identical to his five purposes for you. Worship helps you focus on God; fellowship helps you face life’s problems; discipleship helps fortify your faith; ministry helps find your talents; power helps fulfill your mission. There is nothing else on Earth like the church!
Talk It Over
- How are you fulfilling your vital role in the Body of Christ?
- Since the church is a living organism, what should its qualities be? What should the church be known for?
- What fears do you have about sharing your spiritual journey with other believers in the church? Ask God to give you courage to be transparent and genuine with your church family.