I’m currently editing my thoughts for this Sunday’s message on Ephesians 2:19-22. My title is “Roots,” and my plan is to articulate and support the point that “You grow when you’re planted.” I believe this passage in Ephesians 2, as well as the entire narrative of Scripture, makes it clear that God works in people’s lives in the context of community. The manifestation of that in our day is the local church body.
In a culture where things like loyalty, commitment, and church membership have fallen by the wayside, God’s word is calling us back into authentic Christian community. I’m using the following excerpt from Kent Hughes book Disciplines of a Godly Man to highlight the current state of Christian culture in regard to this issue:
…Without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ all is lost. But we must not mistakenly reason that one’s relationship with Christ minimizes the importance of His Church. Yet this is precisely what multitudes of evangelicals assume and act out.
Church attendance is infected with a malaise of conditional loyalty which has produced an army of ecclesiastical hitchhikers. The hitchhiker’s thumb says, “You buy the car, pay for the repairs and upkeep and insurance, fill the car with gas—and I’ll ride with you. But if you have an accident, you are on your own! And I’ll probably sue.” So it is with the credo of so many of today’s church attenders: “You go to the meetings and serve on the boards and committees, you grapple with the issues and do the work of the church and pay the bills—and I’ll come along for the ride. But if things don’t suit me, I’ll criticize and complain and probably bail out—my thumb is always out for a better ride.”
This putative loyalty is fueled by a consumer ethos—a “McChristian” mentality—which picks and chooses here and there to fill one’s ecclesiastical shopping list…Church hitchhikers have a telling vocabulary, “I go to” or “I attend” but never “I belong to” or “I am a member.” George Barna states… “The average adult thinks that belonging to a church is good for other people, but represents unnecessary bondage and baggage for himself.”
So today…[at the beginning of the 21st century]…we have a phenomenon unthinkable in any other century: churchless Christians.”
I have a feeling that the Spirit of God had a different intention for His body when He wrote the following words through Paul:
Ephesians 2:19-2219 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.