What does that mean for you?
Starting to go to church.
Taking church seriously.
At Eastside Community Bible Church, that phrase communicates what 2013 is all about. This year marks the inauguration of a church committed to taking church seriously. Church involves more than coming to a building. Church is more than a sermon. More than music. More than tabulating attendance.
So what is church?
The Bible defines the church as “the household of the living God” and “a pillar and buttress of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Christ claims the title of Chief Architect (Matthew 16:18) and Paul identifies Christ as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20; cf. 1 Peter 2:6-8). The church as a whole is an institution the greatest efforts of hell will fail to contain (Matthew 16:18). The church means so much to God that He sent seven messages from heaven to admonish, encourage, warn, and edify local assemblies (Revelation 2-3). If you take the Bible seriously, you quickly find that God takes church seriously.
And if God takes church seriously, surely those He redeemed through the blood of Christ should follow suit.
What does that mean, right now, 2013?
Church should be done God’s way, not Starbuck’s.
That assumes God has a way.
God intends church to be Word-centered, not man-centered. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:2)
God intends church to include public prayer, not public demonstration. (1 Timothy 2)
God intends song to flow from being Spirit-filled, not flesh-driven. (Ephesians 5:18-21)
God intends church to change you, not bore or entertain you. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
God intends church to beautify and strengthen truth, not dilute and cover it. (1 Timothy 3:15)
Taking church seriously means that church maintains these elements as its structure.
Like any skeleton, the church needs flesh. People clothe the structure, giving life and warmth to the God-ordained institution. A church that takes church seriously willingly submits to God’s structure while ministering God’s grace through His people. Like any body, a church existing without the structure will amount to nothing more than a soft mass. Both are essential.
God takes church seriously.
Maybe it’s time for us to look at church the way God does.
New year, new church.