Is Church Important?

Jesus came to build His church. Why is it important?  Why is it valuable to the Christian?  Why is the church valuable to the secular world?  Why is the church valuable to the Lord?

First of all the church is God’s temple or dwelling place on earth.  In the Old Testament the Lord dwelt in the tabernacle of Moses and the temple in Jerusalem.  This was the place where the manifest presence of God was amongst His people.  This is was what made Israel special.  Without the Lord in their midst they would be just like all of the other nations.  In the New Testament the church is His dwelling place.  He has chosen to make His presence known in the midst of His church.  This is one of the blessings of being part of a New Testament Church.  The Lord’s presence is available to us when we gather together.

Ephesians 2:19-22, Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

The secular world needs God.  They are searching for Him in all the wrong ways, looking for peace and satisfaction but never finding it.  The Bible clearly teaches that the rest our soul longs for is found only in the Presence of the Lord.  “In your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forever more.”

Psalms 16:11, This presence is found in the local church.  The church of Jesus Christ is where God tabernacles on earth and this is the place we find rest.

In John 15:5, Jesus refers to us as the vine.  “I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in Him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing.”  This relationship describes just how dependent on the Lord we are.  As we stay connected to Him, His Life flows into us. This life flow is directly related to our relationship with Christ and our relationship with His church.  The life of God flows between us and through us through our relationships with God and His people.  The church is vital to this organic and spiritual union.  As we cultivate an intimate life with the Lord, and join together with others walking in this intimate lifestyle, we will experience the life flow of the vine.   If we abide in Him and he in us we will bear much fruit.

The Lord also refers to His church as the body of Christ. This is another beautiful picture of His church and the life that flows amongst us.

1 Corinthians 12:12, For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

Each one of us is a dynamic part of the body of Christ. Each one of us share a special role, placed exactly in His church as He desires.  As we fulfill that role and relate to others who are functioning members of His body, there is a powerful result.  First, out needs are met.  When we flow with other members of His church enjoying this relationship the gifts and ministries of the Spirit begin to function.  The dynamics of the body of Christ are not seen only in large corporate gatherings, but in small groups or casual relationships that we nurture and value.  Out of these relationships the body ministers to itself.  We are then placed in a position of giving and receiving ministry as Jesus ministers to us and through us in His body.

Jesus also referred to His people as the City on a Hill.

Matthew 5:14, You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

As we function as a healthy church, the world will begin to recognize the life of God working through His people.  We live in a dark world.  The non-Christian population is longing for something real.  They have heard it all and seen it all.  Our world is waiting to see real Christianity in action.  Jesus told us the world would know the reality of God when they see Christians loving one another.  This picture of a city on a hill is a portrayal of His Church, walking in revival, loving God, and loving one another. When that day comes, harvest is at hand.

Finally, the Lord describes His church as the Bride of Christ.  This is the greatest portrayal of the Glory of God of all.  The Lord made a plan to save fallen man and glorify His name.  He determined to become one of us and redeem fallen man from his sins.  He said that all who would believe on Him and accept His sacrifice would become a son or a daughter of God.  When this happens we are clothed in the righteous garments, the wedding garments of Christ.  Our sins are forgiven, and we become a part of the Bride of Christ.  A great celebration is about to begin.  The singing and celebration has already started in heaven and is spilling over into the streets on earth.  All who hear this sound of rejoicing and join in become part of the great wedding celebration.  Christ is returning for His church.

Revelation 21:1-5, Now I saw a new heaven and new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes;  there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”  And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

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2 thoughts on “Is Church Important?

  1. Dear Pastor Bailey,

    Once again your message has encouraged me. When I first attended Victory I remember for the first few weeks or more I kept going up to the alter calls for salvation and every time it was explained to me I already was saved. Unlike other doctrinal beliefs in some other denominations I believe you can lose your salvation. But I was not losing my salvation in those beginning days. I was being cleansed and refined by the Word being preached, and it was being preached by you. In the past 25 years I have stepped away from God in that it would not be possible for me to bear fruit for His Kingdom. A lot of the reason I stepped away was due to the enormous amount of hypocrisy I saw in the body, yes brethren who were utter hypocrites playing games. Then during the past 25 years, God still speaking loudly to my heart each and every day, constantly revealed my own hypocrisy to me. This is why I was so offended by other’s hypocrisy, because it was a mirror reflecting right back onto me. In the past 3 or 4 months I have been getting seriously refined by God’s fire. I have been away from participating in a local body for many, many years. I stayed away because of all the offenses I encountered by the treatment of lofty minded Christians looking down their noses at me, when all along my heart has been pure, trying to reach out and find an honest and willing brother to take me by the hand and stand with me. I never did find that. And now I have learned to look to Jesus, fixing my eyes on the author and perfecter of my faith. I learned not to look to man for acceptance after many years, especially in the Body of Christ, and especially by those who think more highly of themselves than they ought to. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn, not to look to man for acceptance. They will let you down most every time, and thus I have had to struggle with not being mad at God for allowing people to hurt me so much. But I have had to learn to forgive and only look to God, a lesson that took me a long time to learn. But I am still learning even being aware of my own shortcoming in this area, however, I got the right attitude to not be mad at God any longer, and to lean on Him when I do find I have been hurt by others.

    I would like to comment on a few of the statements you made here in this message.

    1. “The life of God flows between us and through us through our relationships with God and His people.” Not only does life flow though us, but I am pretty certain those same relationships can produce death, especially by the haughty minded looking to be seated in all the high places in the congregation. All relationships, no matter how insignificant they may seem to one person, are important to another. The body should be so in tune with Holy Spirit, that they do not miss opportunities to reach out to wounded and down trodden brethren.

    2. “The dynamics of the body of Christ are not seen only in large corporate gatherings, but in small groups or casual relationships that we nurture and value.” Casual relationships. I have had many relationships like this in the body of Christ’s chruch that I nurtured and respected and valued. Unfortunately those relationships did not have any degree of reciprocation and my naive mind became offended and felt rejected on many occasions, only to beat myself up thinking it must be me that is so screwed up in my thinking. I sure hope strong and mature brethren are able to see wounded lying by the wayside, and to be like “The Good Samaritan,” (that humble servant of God) and help when no one else is willing to take the time and effort to do so.

    3. “Our world is waiting to see real Christianity in action.” What is “real Christianity?” Certainly not laughing behind their own brethren’s back, laughing and funning at them for the weak and pitiful human beings they are, and that only being compared to the superior minded, “mature Christians,” is it? That does not sound like Christianity to me. Why do you think Christian behave this way toward one another? Do you not think that the world is wise and sees right through Christian hypocrisy? I do believe the world sees right through it. So again, what is “real Christianity?” In my opinion Christianity is when one that is willing to allow God to show them personally all the dark areas in their lives that prevent the most possible fruit from bearing life, and then repenting of it, asking forgiveness in all humility, and allowing God’s love to bring healing to all the wounded areas in everyone’s lives. Then and only then, when the world sees this ultimate degree of humility will they be attracted to commit and lay down their wills to the KING. Then they will see they have a Royal King of all creation that they can submit too. That is the light and how it shines, by example, not by spoken words or tooting their own horn about all the good works they do for the Kingdom.
    Proverbs 27:2 “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.”

    I wonder how it is people come to the conclusions they about me, personally? It would be nice if anyone could discuss this instead of speaking behind the back of a brethren. One has to wonder how people go about justifying their un-Christ like behavior. I do not have to wonder because I myself am guilty of that very action. I can only trust others who know how to be as humble and transparent, but I can love anyone regardless of their hypocrisy and unwillingness to admit it. That love is only possible by right relationship with the Father who gives of His love generously to the “pure in heart.” After all, “…for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 I have relied on this for the entire time I have come to know that Jesus loves me in 1983. I too miss it, and I look at the outward appearances, many times I myself have been guilty. But in these last days we must not do this anymore. It is imperitive we repent of our own haughty thinking. Maybe I have reaped what I sewed because I have had many brethren misunderstand me by looking at the outward appearances, rather their perception of me, just as I have to others. I know for me personally I can no longer do this to any human being, brethren or not. Then and only then will my light shine brightly for Jesus and His Kingdom.

    “Real Christianity” is getting down to the nitty-gritty areas of personal hypocrisy and allowing Jesus to refine it out of us.

    Thank you for posting your messages on the Internet and for allowing feedback and comments. If you wish to reply I absolutely welcome it.

    Peace my brother,

    Roy

  2. I totally agree with your comments. I, too, have been hurt by others, who confess to be Christians. It can sometimes be confusing, especially when it is those in the church building that profess to be the elders or they think themselves to be more spiritual.

    I thank God for a place like Victory Fellowship. I have been a way for a long time, but have decided even though I live a distance away, that being in the real presence of God with real Christians (who press forward even when they are going through) is worth it. I am coming home! Praise God! No more to roam! No church is perfect because no one is perfect (in and of themselves), but to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father, who can lead and guide us to that higher calling is totally awesome…totally awesome. To be in the presence of brothers and sisters, without prejudice is wonderful, indeed. No matter where I have gone, there is no place like Victory Fellowship…no place like home. Thanks for your comment, which encouraged me to press forward to get back to the presence of God. Halluejah!

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