What I Wish I Knew Before Quitting Church (Part 2)
Updated: Apr 17
In the first part of this post, we concluded that there is no scriptural and rational alternative for the church as a body of believers.
Let's dig into reasons why believing in Jesus and worshipping with other believers must go hand in hand.
1. The Body
A Christian is called to function within an entity known as the “Body of Christ" (1 Cor. 12:12 & 27, NLT). The body is made of different parts all working together to promote the will of God on earth. You are just a part of this body and cannot truly function outside of it.
2. The Family
If you have received Jesus, you are a member of “God's family” (Eph. 2:19, NLT) with Jesus as the firstborn. You become fellow citizens with other saints and members of the household of God. The spirit of God is a witness to your adoption as a child of God (Rom. 8:16, paraphrased)
You cannot be the only child in God's family. You can be sure there are other children who share the same name and heritage.
3. The Flock
A flock refers to a group and not an individual. Figuratively, believers in Jesus are His flock and He is “the Shepherd” (John 10:14, NLT). You don't want to be that one sheep that loves wandering away into the mountains and wilderness alone. The Shepherd is quite good at leaving the ninety-nine behind to seek out the one, but it is safer to stay in the fold.
4. The Branches
The branch of any tree is only productive when attached to the tree. Jesus is the true vine, and we are the branches (John 15:5, NLT). No vine tree has a single branch dangling all alone. Such vine tree would not be productive, and Jesus is certainly not that kind of vine.
All the branches would be more productive collectively if they stay connected receiving life together from the Source. That way, the vine produces more fruits.
5. The Temple
A builder uses different pieces of stones, metals, and woodwork. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the building (the church), upon which the other components (all of us) are overlaid. Together, we are His house (Eph. 2:20, paraphrased).
A single stone standing all by itself cannot make the "built up spiritual house" (1 Pet. 2:5, KJV) that God desires.
6. The Community
Jesus came to reconcile Man to God and take away the sins that cast a shadow of darkness and destroy relationships. Being in fellowship with God's people is a sign that we are walking in light, and that we know the cleansing power in the blood of Jesus.
Jesus was all about the people. He sought after them and spent quality time with them. He called them friends.
As He prepared to face the cross, He demonstrated again how this community should be in constant fellowship. He said to them, "Do this in remembrance of me" (1 Cor. 11:24, NLT).
Jesus wanted to be remembered, at a table, in communion with various kinds of people including doubting Thomas, the wavering Peter, and even Judas the betrayer.
7. The Bride
The church - you and I (not the buildings) are the bride of Christ. The bride is imperfect, flawed, broken, and unworthy, but the Lord loves His bride anyway.
Jesus knows his bride is blemished, but he gave Himself for her so He can wash her by Himself. In time, He will present her to Himself, a transformed and glorious bride (Eph.5:25-27, paraphrased).
When we walk away from church, it could be one or more things:
Are we angry that Jesus's bride is so flawed, and we don't want to have anything to do with her?
Are we angry with Jesus for making such a terrible choice for a bride?
Or do we consider the groom to be incapable of saving His own bride?
Whatever it is, it's hard to reconcile how a sinner saved by grace will abhor fellowshipping with other sinners saved by the same grace.
8. The Power
There is a dimension of power that cannot be released until we are together in one accord. When we come together in the name of the Lord, heaven opens.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting (Acts 2:1-2, NIV).
The promise of the Holy Spirit and the workings of it on the face of the earth cannot be effective with you running solo.
All you need to fulfil your heavenly mandate as a believer is to find a "house of God" and just sit there, waiting for what God will do next.
9. The Destination
The whole purpose of following Jesus is salvation unto eternal life. We need to have a different conversation if you are not on board with that.
Heaven is the eternal post code for redeemed souls (John 14:2-3, paraphrased). Heaven would be the climax of fellowship with one another and with God till eternity.
There is no private Heaven for those who are not willing or comfortable to associate with other redeemed souls.
10. The Door
Jesus said, “I am the door…” (John 10:9, KJV). This door opens at street level without any access restrictions, so anybody and everybody can enter. There is no bouncer at the door turning people back. There are no pre-conditions for entry. That is why imperfect folks like you and I can enter.
But what do we do when fellowship becomes messy after we enter through the door? We quit.
We quit because we forget that the door is open to all of us messy people drawn by the only One who can save. We forget that Jesus is a wide-open door that has no discriminatory signs and opens to all.
Next, in Part 3 (click to go to Part 3), we examine how to run the Christian race without allowing stumbling blocks to take you out.
End of Part 2
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