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Living Hope Ministries

Christian mission teaching pastors in Africa, Asia, South America & Eastern Europe

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Monthly Thought

Monthly Thought

 

November 2022:

Back to Church (in the form of the "Back to the Future" logo).

A call to return to church

What is the Church?

The recent years of Covid have caused us to think again about what the church is. We are grateful for technology which allows us to watch recordings of preaching and worship without going into a building. However, it is sad that even though it is now possible to attend a place of worship, a number of believers have not returned to their local congregations. The Bible says clearly in Hebrews chapter 10:25 that "we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but we should be encouraging one another even more as the day for Christ's return draws near.". Of course, we rejoice that Christ has died for us personally and that He rose from the dead for us personally. However, the Bible also says that "Christ loved His church and gave Himself for it.". Eph 5:25. We cannot live the Christian life without developing relationships with others who trust in Christ.

The Apostles' Teaching

Acts 2:42 speaks of the church's devotion to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. It is impossible to exercise devotion in these areas without interaction with other believers. We need to be together to study God's Word so that we help each other understand it and can ask questions to deepen our knowledge of Scripture and to apply it to our lives.

Fellowship

We cannot fellowship alone. We grow in our Christian lives by watching one another and by seeing God at work in each other. We are to love one another, serve one another, we are to support one another, we are to challenge one another and we are to pray for one another. My growth as a Christian will be hindered if there is no-one to encourage and bless me and I to bless others.

Breaking Bread

We can take bread and wine for ourselves, however bread speaks of the Body of Christ which is a reference to His physical body, but we as believers are also the Body of Christ. A loaf is divided into many pieces, but each piece comes from one loaf. This means that we are joined together as an expression of the love of Christ who gave Himself for us. He in fact commanded us to remember Him together in this way.

Prayer

Again, we can pray by ourselves, but Jesus taught His disciples to pray and in His greatest prayer Jesus gives the opening words: "Our Father". Prayer is fellowship with our Father, not just my Father, but "Our Father". We are all children of Father God. We are loved as individuals, but we are loved as His family. These values that were part of the beginnings of the early church are expressed by joining together as a body. It is only possible to fully participate in expressing these values by coming together in one place at one time.

Together as the Body of Christ

We are able to bring all of our different giftings and talents to serve the Lord God together. In the Garden of Eden, God looked at Adam and said: "It is not good for a man to live alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him", so God made Eve: Gen 2:18. We know that Adam and Eve sinned, but they were told to multiply and have children. They had each other, but they also had a family. It is true of the church that we are not just an individual but members of the family. The family of mankind has grown to vast numbers throughout history, but not all are members of the Body of Christ. Many are lost and dying in their sins. As Born Again Christians we are the family of God.

When the Church was born, three thousand new family members were added. Soon the numbers continued to grow, and we know that there are millions who have come to know Christ. However we have been charged to take the Good News of Christ to all peoples: people from every culture, from every nation across the world. (Mark 16:15). No-one by themselves can fulfil the commission Jesus gives. We need each other. We cannot sit at our homes while every day, people are dying and entering a lost eternity. We must return to our churches and work together to reach the lost. We cannot sit back and do nothing. You are a vital part of the Body of Christ. If you are absent the body suffers. We urge you to play your part in the Body of Christ.

God bless you
Rev Richard and Elaine