You might want to read the previous post before you read this one. I just finished it a moment ago.
It’s so important for Christians today to find out that Christianity is not meant to be an individual religion!
The following is what I almost added to the previous post, but I didn’t want to detract from its topic. So here it is as its own topic.
One further problem we have is a belief that Christianity is an individual religion. It is not. God has always intended for those who are saved to be added to the Church (Acts 2:47).
Unless you are part of a group of people who are exhorting one another every day, you are in constant danger of hardening through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13). God never meant for you to be delivered by yourself.
It is imperative that we get this. By losing our understanding of this we have lost everything!
Read through 1 Cor. 12 and Eph. 4:11-16. See how clearly the Bible says that we must grow together. It is only as every part supplies its “effective measure of grace” that we grow together in love.
Apart from that, we don’t grow. We just fool ourselves. Sin is deceitful, the Scripture says. We think we’re righteous, but we’re not.
We need each other.
Doctrine and Division
We have lots of reasons for separating from one another. This one believes in a 2nd experience, a baptism in the Spirit separate from salvation, and this one does not. That one speaks in tongues. This one believes baptism is symbolic; that one believes it’s not.
So important, it seems to us!
But we learn together. The Scripture has not called us to learn on our own. Study and pray for guidance all you want. The first guidance you must get is that you are not going to be led into truth by yourself!
The pillar and support of the truth, according to the Bible, is the church! (1 Tim. 3:15).
Yes, the church!
You need your brothers and sisters. As soon as you divide from them, you lose.
Doctrine and Division: The Solution
We think the Scriptures are the pillar and support of the truth. We don’t seem to care that the Scriptures say that the church is the pillar and support of the truth. We don’t believe that, so who cares what the Bible says!
Dear God, please deliver us from that sort of thinking.
The Pharisees searched the Scriptures. With the Scripture’s help, they missed Christ!
You search the Scriptures because you believe that in them you have life, but these are they which testify of me. Yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life! (John 5:39-40)
You have the Scriptures. They testify of Christ, but where will you find Christ?
Christ, the Church, and the Scriptures
There’s an incredible verse in the Bible, found at 1 Corinthians 12:12. It’s so astonishing it’s hard for us to believe.
For as the body is one, yet has many members … so also is Christ. (1 Cor. 12:12)
Do you understand why this is so important? Do you see what it says?
This does not say that the church is like a body with many members. It says that the Christ is like a body with many members.
Think about that a moment.
The Church: Christ in the Earth
I’ve been through a lot of evangelism programs. All of them led to a final point. That final point was something like, “Jesus is here right now. You can’t see him, but he’s here right now. Just bow your head and tell him you believe.”
That’s what’s supposed to happen. All of us Protestants know that.
Can you find it in the Bible?
There’s a fascinating story in the Bible. Saul, persecutor of the church, is on his way to Damascus. A light appears, and he is knocked to the ground.
Then Jesus appears to him. We don’t know how or in what way, but Saul saw Jesus.
If ever there was a time to say, “I’m right here. You can see me, unlike all others, so you can really pray. Just bow your head and tell me you believe,” that time was then.
But it’s not what Jesus said.
Instead, Jesus told him to go to Damascus and wait for Ananias.
The Christ Comes to Paul
We know the story. We know Ananias came to Saul. But have you thought about what happened when Ananias came to Saul?
Saul had been stricken with blindness. Ananias healed that blindness. He laid hands on Saul, and Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17-18). He baptized Saul, and Saul’s sins were forgiven (Acts 22:16).
And Saul became Paul the apostle.
We tell people what they need is an invisible Christ in the heavens. Jesus told Paul that what he needed was a visible Christ on the earth.
It’s true that we need something spiritual and invisible. We walk by the Spirit not by the flesh. Ananias hands were the means Jesus used to baptize Paul in the Spirit so that Paul would be a spiritual man, able to hear the voice of God.
Our Need for the Church
No wonder Paul spoke so highly of the church. No wonder Paul said that our growth is tied to the church, tied to our speaking to one another, and tied to each of us contributing our measure of grace (Eph. 4:11-16).
That’s a lot for one post. I’ll just quit there.
I don’t know how well this is all explained, but as a great man of God once said, both Christ and the church are known by revelation. They are not “figured out.” You must ask God to allow you to see the church and to understand Christ. You will not go through the immense battle that is necessary to be part of the church unless you have a revelation of your need for it.
Oh, you’re probably asking: what church?
That’s for the next post …