That got your attention, didn’t it? Augustine is credited with lamenting that “The church is a whore, but she is still my mother.” So, as we approach, Pentecost Sunday, it’s a good time to remember, the church may not be perfect, but it is worthy of our support. As St. Cyprian, a third-century bishop, wrote, “No one can have God as Father who does not have the church as Mother.”
The Church is . . . the place Jesus called home
When Jesus was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem at 12 years of age, his parents left without him, assuming he was traveling in their caravan.
Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:46-49).
While on earth, Jesus regularly attended “church,” which at that time were the synagogues and the Temple in Jerusalem:
When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures (Luke 4:16, emphasis mine).
The Church is . . . the Bride of Christ
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one (Ephesians 5:31-32).
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people (Revelation 19:7b-8).
Okay, the Church may not be pure as the driven snow, but the Bible describes the God/human relationship in terms of marriage and in the final book of the Bible describes the Church as the Bride of Christ.
The Church is . . . the Family of God
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near (Hebrews 10:25).
Anyone who claims he or she can be a Christian without Christ’s church is simply disobeying Scripture’s command to meet with other believers. Jesus himself made it very clear:
The church is . . . the Body of Christ
The apostle Paul describes the Church as Christ’s Body:
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:27).
No church is perfect. But she is Christ’s home, the Bride of Christ, the family of God and the Body of Christ. And it is the place that he has commanded us to belong to and support this coming Pentecost Sunday . . . and every Sunday.
Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins
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• Finding still water in the storm: The Book of Joe
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• Top ten list: When you’re voted out
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