Image (c) depositphotos.com/KuzmafotoHave you ever wondered what makes church so important? Why do we go to church?
The church is God's family.What are some things your family likes to do together? Do you eat together? What are some things you do together? Do you know each other pretty well? Why do you think that may be? Did you know that the church is not a building? The church is actually the family of God. The building is just where the church (followers of Jesus) meet together. Every believer is part of of the church, the family of God.
What does the church do?Let's look at some verses to learn what the church, God's family, is supposed to do.
"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Acts 2:42 (NIV)There are some big words in this verse. Let's look at it a little closer. "They," the followers of Jesus, "dedicated themselves," decided to make sure they spent a lot of time focusing on something. What was that something? "The apostles' teaching" is first and the most important. The apostles this verse is talking about are the people who spent time with Jesus, walking with Him, listening to Him teach, and watching what He did. Before Jesus went back up into heaven, He told His followers, including the apostles, to tell other people about Him (Matthew 28:16-20). Did you know that we have the apostles' teaching too? It was gathered up and put in the Bible. That is why it is so important to read the Bible, to know what God tell us in His Word. (For a guide on how to study the Bible, click here.)
"I gave you the message that I received. I told you the most important truths: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; that he was buried and was raised to life on the third day, as the Scriptures say; and that he appeared to Peter and then to the twelve apostles. After that Christ appeared to more than 500 other believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died." 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 (ERV)Next comes "fellowship." This word is used lots of ways to mean different things. In this verse, it means to live life with someone else. In other words, church is a place to meet people that can become your good friends, friends you trust who you can tell anything. Do you get to be good friends right away or does it take time? What does it take to be a good friend? How can you be a good friend to someone at your church? Next comes "the breaking of bread." Many people who have studied this verse think this refers to the Lord's Supper (also called the Eucharist or Communion). It could also just mean sharing a meal together. Either way, this is a time for the church, God's family, to gather together and remember that because of Jesus, we can be one big family. Then there is "prayer." It is so important to pray together as a church, as God's family. We pray for other people in the church and we pray that the church will be unified. That means we pray that everyone in the church will seek Jesus first and agree on what God wants us to do (Hebrews 12:1-3; John 13:34-35). Let's look at the next verse.
"Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles." Acts 2:43 (NIV)"Awe" is another big word. It means to that when you think of the awesome, amazing things God is and that He does, you are filled with the greatest respect and wonder. It is the feeling you get when you think about how big and great God is compared to little, puny you and me. It has nothing to do with being a child or an adult. It has to do with the fact that God is perfect, holy, and so much greater than we could ever imagine. We, on the other hand, can only do so much. We get sick. We mess up and sin. We can never be anything even close to God. When we think about all of that and really understand it, the feeling we get is called awe. You can click on this link to read the rest of Acts 2:42-47. It talks more about how people shared what they had with one another, spent time getting to know each other, and worshiped God together. Let's look at another verse that describes
"Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works. And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope. Let us do this even more as you see Christ’s return approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIRV)These verses talk about encouraging one another. That is what it means when it says "stir up one another to love." We see it at the end too where it says, "let us encourage one another with words of hope." This would be things like reminding other members of God's family that God loves them. Showing other people love like God loves us. Encouraging other members of God's family to do the same thing. Maybe someone is sad or grieving. You could send them a card or a note. There are lots of ways we can love and encourage other members of God's family. We can also be loving and welcoming to those visiting our church who are trying to find out what this "Jesus stuff" is all about. It also says we should "help one another to do good works." This is living for Jesus, in a way that honors God. It is serving God and other people. It is working together to love other people in ways we can see and touch. This could be bringing food to someone who needs it. What other ways can you think of to "do good works"?
- Remember that good works do not get us into heaven. We can never be good enough to even out all our sins, the wrong choices we make. It is only through Jesus that we can be saved and go to heaven. For more information, see this video.
How about you?
- Review Question: What are some of the things the church does?
- What is your favorite thing to do with the church (God’s family)?
- What are some ways you can encourage other people at church?
- Do you have a church home? If not, where can you visit this week as you seek the right one? (For a guide on how to choose a church H.O.M.E., click here.)
- Who could you invite to come with you Sunday mornings to meet the church, God’s family? Take some time to pray for your family, those you will invite to church, and our church family.