This week’s devotions are based on the message: “I Love My Church” Week 1 (LISTEN HERE)
This week we embark on a new series entitled, “I Love My Church!” Over the next few weeks, we will get a chance to delve into this gift that God has given to his people called the Church…both the universal body of believers in Jesus (called the Holy Christian Church) and the local community of believers to which you belong.
We love something we treasure and find valuable. We invest in it. We share it. We want others to experience and find the same value we have. So it is with the Church.
But what is the Church?
By simple definition the Church (with a capital “C”) is the summation of all those who by the Spirit of God have been brought to confess that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that by believing in him we have life in his name. This gathering is known fully by God because he can see into people’s hearts. It is sometimes for that reason called the “Invisible Church.” It is not a human invention or built on the back of human beings, it is of divine origin and built on and around Christ and his Word.
Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
We confess this Church in the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
To which Dr. Martin Luther wrote the following explanation:
What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.
As individuals are connected by faith to Jesus through his Word it is a natural manifestation for those individuals to gather together in a place to continue to encourage one another, grow in the Word, serve with their gifts and share the love they themselves have been shown.
We call this “the church” (with a little “c”) or a Christian congregation. Sometimes this is also referred to as the “Visible Church” because we can visibly see who is part of this gathering.
To every Christian and Christian congregation then, God has a purpose: To be HIS Church!
Even as we receive the blessings of being part of his Church (forgiveness of sins and life everlasting), he also calls us to manifest and share those blessings with others.
The Apostle Peter put it this way:
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
So we embark on this series to better appreciate the reality we are part of God’s Church by faith in Jesus and then to be HIS church to live every day of life engaged in his calling.
Apply: What do you love about being part of the “Holy Christian Church”? About being part of a Christian congregation?
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for founding your Church and by your grace including me in it. Help me in this upcoming series to revel in the blessing of being part of your church and by the power of your Spirit, fully engage in being your Church to the world around me. AMEN.