Show You Believe By Belonging

"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. The Bible says, “You belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (Ephesians 2:19b 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. The only Christians not members of a local fellowship were those under church discipline who had been removed from the fellowship because of gross public sin (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Galatians 6:1-5).

The Bible offers many compelling reasons why you need to be committed and active in a local fellowship.

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, race, and social status, it is a witness to the world (Galatians 3:28 MSG; see also John 17:21).

Talk About It

In what other ways do you identify yourself as a church member besides having your name on a list?

- How do you respond to people who say they've stopped attending church because of an experience in their past?

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 © Copyright 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.


SIGN UP FOR PASTOR RICK’S FREE DAILY HOPE DEVOTIONAL

SIGN UP FOR DAILY HOPE DEVOTIONAL

Special Offer

godsdesignforyourlife-gift-bottom-left

Everything is Possible with God Study Kit
with Bonus Worship CD: The Sound of Hope

Just like exercise builds your physical muscles, God has a workout program for you to strengthen your faith. And in the Everything Is Possible with God Study Kit, Rick Warren shows you God’s divine training routine to help you strengthen your faith and develop your character.

REQUEST YOUR COPY

On the Radio

godsdesignforyourlife-currentseries-bottom-right

God's Dream For Your Life, Complete Audio Series

The Bible says in Matthew 9:29, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” That’s the key to the great adventure of following Jesus Christ. God says, “You get to choose how much I bless your life. You believe, and I’ll do it. You believe, and I’ll bless.” Join Pastor Rick for this series on how to believe in and be faithful to God’s dream for your life.

Purchase this seriesListen to this series