Friday, November 8, 2013

What Church Do You Attend?

                Last night our ladies group met. We discussed John 15:18 all the way through to the end of Chapter 16. I was blessed beyond imagine at the intimacy that we all have been experiencing through this book of John. Each one of us stated how much closer we felt to Jesus, how much more our understanding had been opened and how much deeper our love of Jesus has become. All of us have experienced a drawing near, an intimacy with Jesus Christ on a deeper level, and all of us are blessed by His Word. As I was thinking on the conversation and discussion from last evening, I thought about a Psalm that expresses the delight of brethren fellowshipping together.

                “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing- Life forevermore.” Psalm 133
                How good and how pleasant it is for us to dwell together! That is what we have been experiencing in our time of study with one another each week. We have our personal time with Jesus, we draw near to Him, we draw close to Him and then we come together to talk and discuss the words He spoke to each of us. When we do this, it is like precious oil being poured out- because we all experience the intimacy together.
                So many times I hear people asking one another, “what church do you go to?” or “who is your pastor?” What if it’s not about the church we go to, but the unity that we as the Church have with one another, regardless of denomination or location? The ladies who come to my home each week are all from different backgrounds and upbringings. We are all from various parts of the country, and some of us do not go to the same church each week. I have seen that it is not about what church building we attend, but about being the church that Christ intended for us to be- a dwelling together in unity!

                We are all one body in Christ Jesus, the Bible clearly states that. What church building I attend should not even matter to you- unless you are shopping for a new church, and want to try mine. What should matter is that I know Jesus and you know Jesus and when we come together, we talk about Him. The Psalmist states that it is good and pleasant for us to dwell together in unity, it is like precious oil upon the head, running down our heads and our garments. I know that in our study last night, and these past months, I have felt the precious ointment, I have felt the sweetness of fellowship and the beauty of His word as we open up and draw near to Jesus together, regardless of denomination.
                There is a reason why the Lord has us together; there is a reason why we are a body, why we are together and why He wants us to be in unified agreement. We are a body- we are fit together so that we work together. (Romans 12:4-5) One part of the body needs the other part of the body, and cannot function without it. The whole body cannot be the eyes; otherwise we will never walk anywhere. The whole body cannot be the feet otherwise how will we see which way to go? (1 Corinthians 12:16-20) My church building and where I attend is not the same as yours, and should not be. We are different and the churches we attend are different- but one thing is the same- we are the same body.
                When we come together we are to be pouring out Jesus upon one another. I experienced this last evening, a pouring out of Jesus upon my soul by my sisters in the Lord. One of the ladies made a comment, and it has stuck with me ever since. She stated that to her, what we were doing was the church because we see in the book of Acts that the church got its start as a simple group of people sitting around talking about Jesus. That is how the church began. Then we talked about Lydia in the book of Acts. (Acts 16) She opened her home to Paul and Barnabas and a bible study began- which in then turned into a fellowship of believers. Church is not where we go, church is not a building that we attend- we are the church. When we gather together with one another, regardless of denomination, we are dwelling together in unity, we are gathering together as one body in Jesus Christ- that is the definition of church-One body in Christ.
The church is me, and the church is you. It is not about the building we attend, it is not about the songs we sing, whether we teach line by line or topical. Church is me, and church is you- and together as we dwell in unity- Jesus Christ is glorified and many will see His glory and declare His name. In the end, that is what it is all about. It’s not about what church we attend, or who our pastor is, it is about Jesus, plain and simple. Church is who you are, for you are the church.

 I pray that today we will open our eyes and allow the Lord Jesus to tear down the dividing walls we have put up. I pray that He would open our hearts to see how lovely, how good and how pleasant it is for us, His Church, to dwell together in unity. I pray that the precious ointment of fellowship would cross the boundaries of denominations and flow down our heads and our garments as we- His Church- draw near to Him as One body, One Spirit in Christ Jesus our Lord. May we stop asking “what church do you attend?” and start asking, “Do you know Jesus?” In Jesus name, Amen and Amen.