The Church is not your Sunday best.
It’s not a steeple and a sanctuary (or a high school auditorium). It’s not even songs and sermons. These can be expressions of the Church, but the Church is so much more. Scriptures tell us the Church is the Bride of Christ (Rev 21:2,9), the Body of Christ (Eph 1:22-23), and the Family of God (Eph 2:19). And this Bride, Body, and Family has been held together, by God’s grace, for two thousand years!
When Jesus’ first followers, those who walked with him day in and day out, stood and watched their Savior ascend up into the sky (Acts 1:1-11), they surely must have wondered what in the world to do next. But before they knew it, the Holy Spirit came and ushered God’s power into their lives, emboldening them to come together as one and live out a radical life of grace:
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all” (Acts 4:32-33).
Two thousand years later, we still carry this same perfect power, this great gift of grace, and this redeeming, righteous responsibility. Pastor and Author Bill Hybels writes, “The local church is the hope of the world. There is nothing more important that is happening in the world than the building, growing, and empowering of the local church.”
The Church is God’s Plan A. And there is no Plan B.
Will we be those who stand gazing up at the sky, wondering where our Savior has gone? Or will we reveal to the world Christ’s Bride, Body, and Family, filled with power and full of grace? This is Jesus’ hope, and it was his prayer to His Heavenly Father:
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23)