“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 NLT)
The Bible says a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family. It is an unnatural state. Ephesians 2:19 says, “You belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (LB).
Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans — “bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.
The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it: “Christ loved the church and gave his life for it” (Ephesians 5:25 GW).
Except for a few important exceptions referring to all believers throughout history, almost every time the word “church” is used in the Bible it refers to a local, visible congregation. The New Testament assumes membership in a local congregation.
A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. I can’t claim to follow Christ if I’m not committed to any specific group of disciples. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 NLT).
When we come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, races, and social statuses, it is also a witness to the world (Galatians 3:28).
Talk About It
What does your status as a church member say about you?
You are identified as a believer not just by your church membership or attendance but also by your involvement. How are you serving your church family and community in ministry?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.