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Do I Really Have to Love Church?

Biblical Authority Devotional: All-Encompassing Authority, Part 5

by Steve Ham on May 25, 2011
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God’s Word consistently and authoritatively tells us to have great affection and esteem for the local church.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)

Today’s big question: do I really have to love church?

The church is a big deal. Since the establishment of the New Testament church, the saints have gathered together to edify each other through teaching and fellowship around the Word of God. We have ordinances reminding us of Christ’s work on the Cross, and we unite to sing spiritual songs of corporate praise to our Savior.

Salvation is not based on church attendance; it is conditional upon faith in Christ. However, you need to question yourself if you do not esteem the privilege of meeting with others who love the Lord. A lack of love of meeting with the saints does not come from the Savior. In fact, God’s Word consistently and authoritatively tells us to have great affection and esteem for the local church.

The writer of the Hebrews revealed that we are in a constant battle, which we are able to endure in this temporary world because of the eternal reward we have in Jesus Christ. And while we await the great day when Christ will return, we are to keep each other on track by meeting together.

What a great privilege it is to be encouraged by the saints joining together in one mind to stay strong in the faith—as an army for our King. This is why the writer tells us not to avoid church like some are in the habit of doing. How can you be equipped to persevere in the battle on your own?

Yet even those who regularly attend church often go in the wrong spirit. Paul dealt with this in Corinth when he wrote, “Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32). People who are consistently critical about the local church are denying the authoritative statements of Scripture that tell us to love the church and edify each other.

This doesn’t meant that we should overlook sin, but our churches are composed of people with sinful flesh, so until we experience final perfection in Christ, we are never going to see a perfect church in this world. But this is the church Christ loves, and so should we.

So if something is not right in the church, don’t whine about it. Get in there with love for the saints, pray and serve the Lord, and seek His change. After all, this is your family.

We cannot just brush off Christ’s love for His church. If you are seriously interested in the authority of God’s Word, then you will be seriously interested in loving the church.

Today’s big idea: the church has faults but so do you, so obey God and love your church family.

What to pray: ask God to renew your love for the local church. 

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