Recently, I had the privelege to teach our high school students in our youth group ministry. I was asked to teach on the subject (question) of why do we need the church. The youth Pastor played a poignant video prior to my speaking that was an interview of various students that had said why the church was irrelevant and why they were turned off by church. The video, in my opinion, raised some really good and unfortunate honest opinions on some church members that are misguided in their relational ministries (note: my opinion). That being said, I began with a game (candy being the prize) and went right into various Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12:5, Hebrews 10:24-25 and so on. Before this speaking engagement, I was going over my notes and timing myself for the youth pastor and scheduling. As I was praying and reflecting I was struck by the fact that we are called (as the body of Christ) to love one another. The thing that really struck my core is that some of us have an identity crisis, that is, that we do not love ourselves so how can we be expected to love others (encourage, comfort and urge)? Thus, the identity crisis, which is why my opinion is why we have problems of loving one another (because some of us cannot love ourselves). I do not want you to take this as narcissistic or put "myself" before God's Kingdom, actually, quite the contrary.
Here is my position, we are no longer are "old-self". We, those who profess Jesus Christ, are a new creation. Thereby, we are now sons and daughters of God. When we realize this fact, then we can have a healthy identity of who we are and then we can allow the Holy Spirit to grow us into who He wants and not what we once were. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a]The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." God has intended for his church to be his bride. God has plans for us, plans to be his disciples. He gave us the Church so that even the gates of hell could not prevail against it. If the body is acting in the way that Jesus intended, then that is a very beautiful thing to behold and to be part of. It is a very powerful force driven by the Holy Spirit. Did you catch that, we are no longer ourselves (in our pain and anguish of our old sinful self) - we are now his Sons and Daughters. We are engrafted into his family because of the love of the Father!
When the body is working together for the purposes of God's Kingdom (reaching the disconnected and growing the connected) it is such a thing of beauty. It is powerful and it is effective in preaching and teaching God's love story - He came down, he bore our sin to death on a cross, he rose again and he now sits at the right hand of God. Why? Because he loves us. He loves his bride. Why do we need community? Why do we always ask our parents (when we were young) why? Because they really do know better when they are showing Agape love. As a Christian (a Christ-follower, a disciple of Christ) we can be rest-assured that Jesus loves us, that he died for us and that because of his work on the cross, we are FORGIVEN of past, present and future sins - IT IS FINISHED. Jesus said that for a reason. He knew that he was faithful and obedient to his Father's will. Jesus called us to do the same for Him. To be his disciple means more than just being a pew sitter, it means for us to move from pew sitter to heavy hitter! Jesus gave us the Church, so we can have community with the Saints to help us carry our burdens to do His will!
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