Why church matters: Anatomy
by Josh Fuentes
My daughter just turned three, and of course, with every birthday comes the yearly checkup with her pediatrician. Sometimes the checkups are minor routines, and other times she has to get the dreaded shot! However, ever time I go the pediatrician they give me some papers to read through about my daughters development. These papers are great because they help parents understand how their child will grow within the next year. This is usually done by defining motor skills they should know by now, and giving small tips on how to further develop new and current motor skills. I love these papers so much because they give me a heads up on how I can help my daughter further develop, and to keep an eye out for any abnormalities that could be detrimental to her future development.
The more I think about how my daughter should develop, the more I consider what people should know when they continue to grow. For example, In my opinion every kid should know how to ride a bike, read a book, and at least know how to work an ipad; teenagers should know the difference between right and wrong, and should have enough educational knowledge to work through complex issues; finally, adults should be able to hold down a full time job, and be able to handle the responsibilities of marriage and family life. Now I know we all have different ideas on what indicators determine maturity, but the point is we have developed indicators to determine if something is not right in a persons life, so we can help them correct what is wrong. With all this said, what are some indicators believers can use to make sure they are maturing in their relationship in Christ? In Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul answers this question by defining hope as an indicator, so the believers at Ephesus can make sure their salvation is maturing in Christ.
The reason why Paul is able to give the indication of hope to the believers at Ephesus is because he heard of their great faith in Christ, and the love they showed towards the other saints (v.15). Their faith in Christ allows Paul to reveal to them how their salvation can continue to develop in the right path. Paul wants the believers to have the “eyes of their heart enlightened” to the hope of Jesus Christ (v.18). Maturity in Christ is determined by discovering the knowledge of hope we have in him. Paul writes there are two components of maturing hope : (1) the rich inheritance we have in the saints (the body of believers); and (2) the immeasurable greatness of God’s power given to those who believe in Christ (v.18-19). The inheritance we have in the saints is the power of God, and its the same power God used to work through Christ to conquer death, which allows him to be seated at the right hand of God, giving him authority over all powers and dominions (v.20-22). When we put our hope in the saints, we are putting our hope in God’s redeeming power.
The reason why church matters is found in verses 22-23 “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head of over all things to the church, which is the is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Church matters because Christ is the head of it, which makes us his body, giving us the fullness of his power to redeem the world. Every time we come to church, we’re acknowledging Christ is the authority in our lives. Some may not live like he’s not their authority, but church reminds us he is. Furthermore, church reminds us of what we are called to do when we come together as the body of Christ, and at the same time, it reminds us of what we are incapable of doing on in individual basis.
Let’s be honest, by ourselves we can only do so much in the name of Christ, but when we come together as one, the world can be changed. The reality is, there is strength in numbers, and everyone else in the world has figured that out except for believers. Christianity was never meant to be done solo, and because we have emphasized an individual faith over a community of faith, we don’t see God’s power redeeming the world around us. When we see God moving in people’s lives, it reaffirms our hope in him. The problem is our hope in Christ is not being reaffirmed because we aren’t seeing God move in powerful ways. And the way we correct this is by committing ourselves to a local church. So if it seems like you’re always struggling in your faith in Christ, try being involved with the gathering of the saints; share your life with them, and use your gifts together to make a difference in the world. And I promise you if you do this, you’ll start seeing God in ways you’ve never seen before.