Let’s take a second this morning, this gorgeous Saturday morning and hear a word from the book of Ephesians. You know, as Christians (especially hip Christians), you sometimes hear phrases such as “Jesus is my homeboy” or “Jesus is my main man”. Oh…wait. You haven’t heard that? Well I have. And I don’t really agree with those. Jesus is my Savior, my True Love, my Best Friend. But Paul now…Paul is my homeboy. Paul is my guy, Paul is my ride or die!!!
It’s getting more awkward the longer it goes. Let’s just see what Ephesians has to say:
“God is building a home. He’s using us all–irrespective of how we got here–in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day–a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.”
-Ephesians 2:20-22, MSG
What a beautiful picture painted here! This morning I was reading this as I prepare for a Monday night Bible study on the book of Ephesians. I read it first in The Message and absolutely loved it, but then I started really studying the second chapter of Ephesians and I came across a statement.
I have heard from a lot of different places that you should refrain from choosing a “favorite Bible translation”. And it makes sense to me. But anyway, my favorite Bible translation is the English Standard Version. I have a study Bible and I was getting into it, really eating it up. And that is when I came across this statement concerning Ephesians 2:21. In the ESV, vs. 21 reads: “…in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord”. I went down to the study notes on this verse, and I read this:
“Christians are the temple of God corporately; belonging to the visible church is not optional for followers of Christ.”
I’m gonna write that again folks. In all caps this time. Because I am screaming this at you today.
“Christians are the temple of God corporately; BELONGING TO THE VISIBLE CHURCH IS NOT OPTIONAL FOR FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST.”
I have been very guilty of not believing this in the past. But that has been rectified today. First of all, according to this Scripture, the unified body of Christ is where Christ is. I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to miss being in the presence of my Savior. And if my Bible tells me He is wherever the body of Christ is…then excuse me while I KNOCK YOU OVER TO GET ALL UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT!!!
Secondly, we live in a time when the church is under more and more criticism. The book of Ephesians was written to a church that was facing the same sort of circumstances. They were experiencing division upon division. Fram, (that’s “Friends+Fam”), we need to stand united as the church of God. If we are going to do that, then “BELONGING TO THE VISIBLE CHURCH IS NOT OPTIONAL FOR FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST”…and that’s us.
If you are not a part of a local congregation…find one. No matter where you are, you can find local churches online. Give it a Google. Find some to try, pray over it, try them, and let God lead you to the part of His body He desires you to be a part of. If you are in the Surry County area, the Googling would work too, but from personal experience I would tell you that Calvary Baptist Church in Mt. Airy and Dobson First Baptist Church in Dobson are both loving congregations. Until you can find the congregation that you are called to be a part of, get involved with some church online. However, if you are not in close enough proximity to attend that church in person…I would suggest you need to have a compromise. I believe that we all should be physically involved with the physical and visible church. “But Maggie…I really love Steven Furtick/Craig Groeschel/Louie Giglio/etc. and I can’t go to their church on Sunday!” So find a physical church you can go to…and listen to their sermons at another time on Sunday!
WHAAAA?!?!? You mean I could listen to TWO sermons and learn TWO whole things about God every week?!?!?!?!
Okay…I’m turning the sarcasm off now. But seriously, how would it affect our world if people said, “Where do you go to church?” and you said like two or three? The truth is, we need to be involved with church because God is involved with the church; and the visible impact of the church depends on every member of the body being present and working toward the common goal of loving like Jesus.