The Call of the Church


There’s a great verse in Proverbs 18:1 that reads like this in the Message Bible: “Loners who care only for themselves spit on the common good.” With that verse, my brothers and I used to joke around with someone who didn’t want to go eat or play basketball with us. Of course that was a joke: we all know you can’t always spend time in fellowship. Yet, there are times when one person can really hurt the whole group by going off and doing whatever he or she wants without regard to the rest of the group. This is especially true in an individualistic culture like ours. Here, everything revolves around what YOU want and what’s best for YOU. It’s easy to find communities where the majority aren’t committed to the group, aren’t willing to make sacrifices to build relationships with others. Sadly, a lot of our churches and friendships can be this way. What I hope we would understand is that Christ not only died to bring us to God, but so we could also come together under God and become the Christian community, the Church. It’s not just a great option that Jesus gives us. but it’s a calling and duty upon our lives, to be an active part of the body of Christ.

In the very first verses of Ephesians 4, we as Christians are being urged to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. And what does it say that this calling looks like? Verses 2 and 3 say, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” This is our calling! We as Christians are to bear with one another and maintain the unity of the Spirit. We are to live together, take care of each other, deal with each other, no matter the circumstance. It never says anything about fellowship being easy. It gives no excuses, no exceptions. It just says to be united, to stay together, to be the Church. If anything gets in the way, too bad. You’re just going to have to get past it together.

In the days of the very first Christians, we see a group of people committed to each other, no matter what. In those days, they didn’t even have any options for churches. If they were living in Rome and they became a Christian, they were a part of the Church in Rome. If they were in Corinth, they were a part of the Church in Corinth. In Ephesus, the Church in Ephesus. They couldn’t pick and choose. Whoever was there in their local church were their new family. These individuals became the ones they shared everything with and who were willing to die for each other. They were committed to one another, through thick and thin, whether they liked it or not, because they were brought together by Jesus. They were the Church.

This doesn’t mean that we should just do every little thing together. That’s not what community and fellowship is about. Real Christian community looks like brothers and sisters who build one another up to stronger faith, deeper wisdom, and full maturity in Christ-like character, just as it says in Ephesians 4:12-16. The body of Christ is to stand as a shining light in this world, building itself up in love. We are the Church. This is not just a privilege or benefit: this is a commandment. So brothers and sisters, let’s love on and care for and bear with all our fellow Christians because we are one and belong to one another.

esther chungComment