Why church matters: Orphans
by Josh Fuentes
Before I begin to write about the first reason “why church matters,” I thought I would do a small recap on why I’m doing this. If you haven’t read my other three post “Taking back the Church for Christ,” “What makes church…Church,” and “Jesus for religion,” you should definitely read those so you can get a better sense of where I’m coming from. Even though those three post give a glimpse of why I’m writing about the Church, the main reason why I’m doing this is because I am a student minister, who disciples teenagers and college students (who are also millennial’s), and I wanted them to know why it’s so important to commit to a local body of believers. The way the Spirit revealed to me how to do this, was to show them a bigger picture of the local church. When we go to church, sometimes all we see are the people around us; however, what we fail to realize is there is something much, much bigger happening. When we commit to the local church, we’re committing to the Church every believer is a part of, which makes us participate in a world we never would of imagined.It breaks my heart to know so many believers go through their lives, praying God would let them be a part of something bigger than themselves, and they never realize he already has by giving them the local church.
I’m going to take us through the book of Ephesians, showing us the bigger picture. Why Ephesians? The book of Ephesians is where we get many of the deep truths about Church. What makes Ephesians different from other letters Paul wrote was, he didn’t write the letter to address an issue within the church, but instead, he wrote it to encourage the believers at Ephesus to continue in their exemplary faith. Because of the joy the Ephesians brought Paul, he was able to write a beautiful letter that revealed many of God’s mysteries, which lay hidden in Jesus Christ our Lord. Finally, as a disclaimer, some of the things I write about may be stuff you already know, and in all honesty, should be more of a review, than something you may have never heard before. My goal isn’t to shock and awe you with a new teaching, but to call you back to a purpose, which was laid as a foundation for us when time began through the great love of Jesus Christ.
In Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul reminds the believers of the Ephesian church, God’s plan for all of us when he created the world. God’s purpose for his creation is to know his love, which is fully demonstrated through the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ. By faith in Jesus, we can be adopted as one of God’s children, giving us privileges and rights we would never be able to obtain by ourselves (v.3-6). Paul writes these privileges are found through the blood of Christ, which gives us redemption, forgiveness for our sins, and unites as one body on heaven and earth (v.7-10). Paul further states, in Christ we have gained an inheritance. If we ever question whether or not we will gain this inheritance, all we have to do is remember the promise Christ gave us: the Holy Spirit, our seal, guaranteeing we will obtain eternal life (v.11-14).
When I was reading this passage one word stuck out to me the entire time: adoption. Adoption can be a painstaking process for the adopter because of the price they have to pay, just to make the child they want to adopt their own. However, what makes our adoption by God different from human adoption is Christ paid the price for us on the cross, but we choose whether or not to be adopted by him. So where should a person wait until they’re ready to be adopted? In my opinion, they should wait at church. This is why church matters, because its heaven’s orphanage. Church is the place where people, who have been abandoned by the world, can find a place to stay until they’re ready to let God adopt them. While at church, an orphan can see and hear from God’s children the great love our Father has for us, and come to the conclusion, having God as their Father is the best thing for them.
Now, I’m not so naive in my faith that adoption can’t happen outside of church; however, I believe the best place for adoption to happen is at church. I also believe this is the most effective way for a person’s new faith to take hold in their lives. I sometimes think what hinders a persons faith so much, is when we try to pressure them into loving God. Anyone should be able to come to church and take their time when it comes to deciding whether or not they should follow God for the rest of their lives. This doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge the sense of urgency we should have for sharing God’s love with someone, but we need to trust God enough that he’s at work; and while God is working, our job is to continue to lovingly encourage fellow orphans why being adopted by God is the best thing they can do for themselves. Finally, as an added bonus, church matters because it is a constant reminder for us, who have been adopted, of the inheritance we have in Christ. Every time I walk into a church, I am reminded of the God, who’s love is so great, he is willing to take anyone from all walks of life as his child. In the end, don’t be afraid to bring an orphan to church, because they need see where they need to go when they’re ready to be adopted by God; and believers need to go so they can remind themselves of the inheritance they have yet to obtain.