Monday, August 22, 2011
You Can't Go to Church, Part Two
Like many of you, I can say that I went to church yesterday. I pulled in, parked my car, and walked through a door. The building had walls and a roof and a cross up front. It had pews in which I stood, and sat, and knelt side by side with other believers. However, had the building been empty of any other person, had I been alone, I could not have gone to church. The building would have been there, but the church would have been absent.
God did not build His church with wood or stone. He built it upon the belief of man.
"But what do you say,?" He asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,"
Jesus replied,"Blessed are you Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
The word 'Peter' means rock. Jesus, in giving Simon Peter this new name, invested him with a special place in His early church, but He did it at the specific moment that Peter declared the one essential truth that binds the church even today, the declaration that Jesus was the Christ. Everyone who believes this is the church. Jesus built His church not only on Peter, but upon the power of faith.
Together, the people of the church live and breathe the Word of God. We bear the gospel with every step. When we are together, we gather the power of the Holy Spirit into one vibrant place. There is no doubt that God wants us to gather, but He doesn't much care where we do it. In fact, the more we concentrate on our buildings, the less attention we have to concentrate on Him.
So, on Sunday morning, I search out the people of God and pray shoulder to shoulder with them because of what Jesus said to Peter so long ago. I know there is power in our communion with each other and with Him.
But tonight, when we have dinner with believing friends to mark their daughter's departure for college, well, that's church, too. Christ reigns over both places and we glorify Him through both activities. Our church exists because of Him and because of each other and we delight in being together.