Why do you come to church? Do you come for the good teaching? For the great kids ministry? The music? Or because you love the building? Would you consider yourself a consumer or spectator? Or do you see church as a place to serve?
I was recently reminded of why we gather as the people of God. The reminder was to move away from viewing church as centred on ourselves and seeing church instead as centred on God and those around us. Church is a place where we love our brothers and sisters in Christ by seeking to build them up in Christ.
One Corinthians 12-14 is a great part of God’s word, despite the things that can often distract us. When it comes to the church though, it clearly shows us to focus on edification/building – that what happens as we gather should be driven and regulated by a loving desire to build others up in the Lord. We are to pursue and practise intelligible speech that builds up others, strengthening their faith. Love is the supreme principle, which focuses patiently and kindly on the other and it wants the truth to be spoken. It is more interested in seeing others grow in the Lord than being able to express myself, being entertained or satisfied.
In Hebrews 10 our access to God is through faith in Jesus and gives us a certain hope for the last day; a hope of salvation. But in the meantime, we hold fast to that hope in the midst of a sinful and evil world. This is a key theme in Hebrews: the need to persevere, to stand firm, to not neglect or drift away from the great salvation that Jesus has brought. Here that need to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” is supported by the role we have to encourage and help one another. As we persevere and wait for that day, we are to meet together for mutual encouragement and to stir one another on to love and good deeds.
A person who serves others by building them up in love will expect God to speak through God’s word, will pray that God would hear us; be eager to meet with the church family; be sad when a family member is absent; be observant of others’ needs; be hospitable towards new people; will come early and stay late. A servant heart is the character of discipleship—laying down our lives in love for others, as Christ did on the cross. If we had this attitude, it would transform our church.
After church today why don’t you speak with someone about one thing you found challenging for your life from God’s word this morning. You could pray together afterwards. This would be a great way to build each other firm in the faith as we await Jesus return.