I’m sure there’s enjoyable fellowship outside of God’s family, but I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like not to have the church.
These are my people.
Oh, they’ve got their problems, of course (don’t we all?), but people within the household of faith are my support group. I grieve and rejoice with them, I depend on them, I need them.
Where does everyone else find this? At a local bar? With their bowling club?
I’m thinking it’s a far cry from the sweet fellowship of God’s family.
Feel Paul’s emotion as he encourages some of his favorite people:
Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved (Philippians 4:1, ESV).
I like the way the NIV puts it:
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
And The Message paraphrases it like this:
My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God.
Paul loved those people.
And that’s the way it ought to be in the church, and it’s the way it is, at least in my experience.
When there’s a sickness or death or divorce or other struggles in the church, God’s people huddle up and help everyone get through it. When there’s a victory or success or special day, believers celebrate with one another.
We all weep and laugh together.
Suppose for a moment there were no heaven or hell, no judgment, no cross, and no God, and so salvation wasn’t to be found in Christ’s church.
I’d still want to be part of a local family of believers who love one another.
In your quiet time this week, thank God for the church, for his people, for your spiritual family.
Ask him to help us all grow in our relationships with one another so that we might reflect on earth even more fully the beautiful fellowship that will be perfected in heaven. —Chuck