The Role of the Church
Encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ to hold firm in their faith is a grand mission and I would like, in all my sincerity, to become a part of such an undertaking. I intend to do it not because I was told to, but because I know in my heart that as a member of Christ’s flock, it is my responsibility to be involved in the church.
It is quite ironic that I, who used to avoid all kinds of attachments, would this day exhort others to firm up their attachment towards one another in the name of our Lord, God and Savior. It must be noted however that this change of attitude in me was brought by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and by the continuous exhortation by other members of the church.
I hope that this article would be perceived as something more than my own contrivance. I do not pretend that I am an expert on the subject of encouragement nor do I pronounce my own opinion on the proper attitude of the church. In fact, I would only recount the previous messages of our pastors on the topic about the church, with the hope of refreshing our memory and reviving our commitment first towards our Lord Jesus Christ and second to one another.
On the night of March 28, 2002, I was baptized in water as a member of the Emmaus Bible Fellowship Center. This I gladly did as my public proclamation that Jesus Christ is my Lord, God and Savior and to pronounce my allegiance to the local church. As a member of the church, I now consider myself as a unit of the body of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 12:12) and standing firm in one spirit (Philippians 1:27).
As a member of the church, I belong to one body, which is Jesus Christ’s and to all the other members. In the church, God gave each member a gift to prophesize, serve, teach, encourage, contribute, give, lead or show mercy (Romans 12:4-8). As much as I can, I try to serve in the church by little things I am capable of.
The members of the church meet together in worshipping God and in encouraging one another to hold on to their faith until the coming of the Lord, which gives hope and joy to our hearts. “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
We know that early Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” which they did everyday with glad and sincere hearts. (Acts 2:40-47) Today, we have the chance to meet at least every Sunday, and what a joy to see each other belonging to one body!
One purpose of meeting together is to remind each one not to follow the pattern of this world. “See to it brothers that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the Living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” (Hebrews 3:12-14)
The following verses encourage the members of the church to manifest the fruit of our salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1-2 in part)
Being a new creation, we demonstrate the virtues of Jesus Christ. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” (I John 3:14)
“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And overall these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2).
In closing, I join our pastor in asking each member of the church, including myself, to encourage one another and find joy in meeting together for the glory and praise of our Almighty God!
Below is a suggested prayer:
God, the most high, I praise You for Your Holiness and Great Love. I thank you for giving me a chance to become a part of Jesus Christ’s body, despite my sins and shortcomings. Forgive me, Lord, for having other opportunities aside from joining our brothers and sisters in worshipping you every Sunday. Help me Lord to become an active member of the church, encouraging our brothers and sisters toward love and good deeds. Let me put on the virtues of love, humility, peace, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, kindness, faithfulness, self-control and cheerfulness so that I can be an effective witness to my brothers and sisters in Christ and to those who have yet to obtain the full knowledge of Your salvation. This I pray in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen!
My friend, if you want to know more about the life offered by Jesus Christ and the wonderful things that He has done for us, we invite you to visit these websites: http://emmaus.50megs.com and http://www.cbphilippines.org or fill up the forms below.
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You can also visit Emmaus Bible Fellowship Center at the 2nd Floor of the Alay Pagasa Building along No. 32 Arayat Street corner Road 1, Mandaluyong City on Sunday morning (10 am to 12 noon).
Bible verses were quoted from the New International Version (NIV) of the International Bible Society.