Dearest Place on Earth

As I watched our amazing Baptism service on Sunday, I was reminded of a quote from one of my favorite preachers, Charles Spurgeon. He proclaimed the church was “the dearest place on Earth.” This affection was put on display on Sunday, as we united together and celebrated the work of Christ. 

Unfortunately, this is not the picture for many. They do not see the church as a place of hope, refuge, or unity. They only see it as a to-do list on a calendar, an obligation, or a place of past hurt. While there are a number of reasons we come to these conclusions, most of them are founded in a misunderstanding of the purpose of the church. 

One of the major errors we make when thinking of the church is that we look at her from the perspective of our own flesh. We analyze Christ’s Church as a place that meets our own personal and family needs. We asked questions like this…What type of music do they play? Does the meeting time meet my weekly schedule? Do they offer a children's church? Do I feel better about myself when I leave? Do I? Do we? Do you notice the central theme of these questions? They are centered around our number one priority, which is us and our family. If we are being honest, they are the same questions we ask about our child’s baseball team, dance recital, and school. They are the same questions we ask about the places we work and shop. Essentially, we view church as just another social event that meets our needs until something else becomes a priority. This is a major error and a misunderstanding of the beauty and purpose of the Bride of Christ, the Church. The church was not created to just be another thing to do on your schedule, it was created to remind you what your schedule should be about.

In Ephesians 1, the Apostle Paul gives a beautiful picture of the church. In verse 22 and 23 he writes, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” This truth is powerful when reflecting on the beauty and purpose of the church. It is a simple yet profound reminder that the church is the body of Christ. This truth completely destroys the worldview that church is just a weekly event or a place to serve our needs.  It is a redeemed people, united for one purpose. It reminds us that you can’t separate our identity in Christ from our fellowship with Christ’s church. They are sovereignly connected. In the end of verse 23 it says, “the fullness of him who fills all in all.” In the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, all His authority and fullness was made manifest. This truth should change our mindset of the work of His church. The purpose of the Church is to manifest the Glory of God to all creation. This manifold wisdom is this: All things (you, me, livestock, trees, mountains, sunsets) exist for the purpose of putting on display the Glory of God. This is accomplished by the Church! As God’s redeemed people, we exist to put on display His glory. We do this when we gather, we do this we worship together, we do this when we pray, we do this when we proclaim the gospel to our neighbor, we do this when we raise our kids, we do this we serve one another. At all times, we are serving as Christ’s Church to fulfill this purpose. How beautiful is that? This truth should transform your mindset in regards to the church. 

Later in the sermon I mentioned earlier, Brother Spurgeon writes, “The Church is the nursery for God’s weak children where they are nourished and grow strong. It is the fold for Christ’s sheep—the home for Christ’s family.” My prayer for you this week is that you see Christ’s Church in this same light. Go and put on display the Glory of God!

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