TL-14 - Why We Love the Church
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It's evident from Ephesians 5:25 that Jesus loved the church deeply.
The Bible tells husbands “love your wives as Christ also loved the church
and gave Himself for her.”
Today we're going to think about the love that each person ought to
have for the Lord's church, what makes that love so strong, and how do we
show that love for the church in each one of our lives.
We hope that you've got your Bible and that you'll be ready to study
the Scriptures with us on this wonderful subject.
What exactly does it mean to love the church of the Lord Jesus Christ
and why do we love the church?
As we think today about the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and
every Christian having that love for the church, let's realize that Jesus
Himself loved the church deeply. Acts 20:28 the Bible says ‘Jesus
purchased the church with His own blood.’ How much did Christ love the
church? Enough that He gave His life. He gave up His life on Calvary to
buy the church and to save the Lord's church. In view of that and as we
think about the great love that Christ has for the church, we ask a very
practical question today. Why should Christians today love the church of
the Lord Jesus Christ?
Sometimes we hear people talk about the church, and it's not talked
about in a very good light. You know it's as though they have to go to
church, as though they have to work in the church, or as though the church
is really not that important. The Bible teaches that the church is important
and that it every Christian ought to love the church of the Lord Jesus Christ
Now let's notice why. First and foremost, we ought to love the church
because the church belongs to Christ and to Him only, He is the sole owner
of His church, and if we're a member of the church that means we belong
to Christ with all the blessings and privileges that go along with that.
1 Corinthians 3:11 the Scripture says this “No other foundation can
any man lay except that which is laid which is Jesus Christ.” He's the
foundation of the church. Jesus said ‘I will build my church.’ It belongs to
the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and Him only.
It doesn't carry a denominational name- the Bible teaches that's
contrary to the will of God. We're not a part. If we're a member of the Lord's
church, we're not a part of some denomination. We're a part of the one
body of Jesus Christ. Paul addressed the subject of denominationalism in 1
Corinthians 1:10-13 when he said “It's been reported concerning you my
brethren by those of Chloe's household that there are contentions among
you.” He says, “Each of you says ‘I'm of Paul or I'm of Apollos or I'm of
Cephas or I'm of Christ.’” Paul said, “Let there be no divisions among you.”
Why do we love the church? Because it is the divine institution divine
organism that Jesus Christ built and that it belongs to Him and Him only.
If we're a part of that church, then friend that means we belong to
Christ and belong to Christ comes with all the privileges and blessings that
go along with that. We have access to God the Father in prayer, Matthew
6:9. We have forgiveness, Acts 2:38. We have the privilege of being a
family of God, Ephesians 2:16. Ultimately if we're a member of Christ
church and we belong to Him, one day He's going to come to receive His
own take us back to the Father-1 Corinthians 15:24.
Secondly as we think about why Christians should love the church of
the Lord Jesus Christ, we ought to love the church because Jesus paid the
best sacrifice and the greatest sacrifice ever to establish her. Listen again
to the words of Paul in Acts 20:28. Paul is talking to the elders at Ephesus
and to these men who are leaders in the congregation there the elders Paul
says “Shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own
blood.” Christ purchased the church with His powerful blood. When Jesus
was, you think about this, when Jesus went through the agony and
suffering that He faced, when people mocked Him, when they laughed at
Him, when they spit in the face of Jesus, when they placed that crown of
thorns on His head and took that rod and beat Him on the head, when
Jesus was taken and beaten with that whip- why did He do all that? He
purchased the church to buy back to God the saved who would obey His
Does that not stress to each one of us how important the church is to
God? If the church is made up of the saved, 1 Corinthians 12:27, then that
expresses how important we are to God. God wants all men to be saved, 1
Timothy 2:4. “God is not slow concerning His promises as some men count
slowness but is long-suffering toward us not willing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.” If Christ purchased the church with
His own blood and if the blood of Christ means anything to us, then friend
the church is going to be very important to every person who loves God
and the great sacrifice He made.
Thirdly we love the church of the Lord Jesus Christ because it is the
place of the saved. Now you think about this imagine that you know there's
some kind of catastrophe coming, imagine there's some kind of destruction
that is headed our way. Imagine it this way. Let's say that you're out in the
yard and you hear a tornado siren and that tornado siren gives the warning
that a tornado a destructive force is headed right towards you and you've
got a basement or you've got a cellar that you can get into- aren't you glad
you've got that place? That place you shut the door the tornado comes
over and you're not damaged at all. Aren't you thankful for that place of
safety where the saved at that time are?
Think about it this way- there is a day of destruction coming. God is
going to give a reckoning of all men when He comes, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-
10, and the Bible teaches that the church is the place of safety where all of
the saved of God's kingdom are. How do we know that? Because of the
teaching of Acts 2:47. Remember they have now heard the message for
the first time about Jesus. They believe He's now the Messiah who they
formerly killed. They're ready to repent and be baptized for the remission of
their sins. Acts 2:38 the Bible tells us ‘those who gladly received His word
were baptized,’ watch this in Acts 2:47 ‘and the Lord added to the church
daily those who are being saved. Where are the saved put? In the church-
the place of safety- God's collection where all the saved are. Not only do
we have the privilege right now of being saved and being a member of the
Lord's church, but ultimately it is the church that's going to be saved.
Ultimately we're going home one day to be with God.
Do you remember the words of Jesus in John 14:1? Jesus said “Let
not your heart be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. In My
Father's house are many mansions. Were it not so,” He said, “I go to
prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you I will come
again and receive you to myself.” When we think about the beauty of
heaven and what that's going to mean friend, those who are in the church
are going there. Why do we love the church? It's the place of safety, and
it's the place where all of God saved are. There aren't any saved outside
the church. It is that place where God- not men-put the saved when they
obey the gospel.
We also love the church of the Lord Jesus Christ because the church
has the power to overcome sin and Satan and hell. I want you to listen to
the words of Jesus in Matthew 16. As He spoke about His church Peter
had just made the statement, ‘you're the Christ the Son of the living God.’ I
want you to notice what Jesus says based on that. Jesus said, “And I also
say to you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Christ's church, His plan of
salvation, His sacrifice has the power to defeat Satan. Hebrews 2:14
“Jesus through death overcame him who had the power of death.” It has
the power to overcome destruction in eternal torment- if we obey the
gospel. Listen to Romans 8:1. There is now no condemnation to those who
are in Christ who has the power to overcome Satan, to overcome the
forces of hell, and to overcome sin. “If we walk in the light as He is in the
light we have fellowship one with another and the blood of His Son Jesus
Christ cleanses us from all sin.”
Why do we love the church? Nobody wants to be lost. Nobody wants
to go to hell. Nobody wants to be overcome by Satan and sin and live up a
life that is so wrapped up and entangled in that. That's not what man wants.
We want to be saved. We want to overcome the evil forces of the world.
We want peace and happiness and prosperity spiritually and that occurs
through the words of Jesus. When He said ‘I'll build my church and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ hell's not going to conquer the
church. The Hadean realm is not going to conquer the church. The devil
cannot conquer the church. If we remain faithful in the Lord's church, we
are on God's side and ultimately we will be the victors or those who
conquer. 1 Corinthians 15:57 says this, “Thanks be to God who gives us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We also love the church that our Lord Jesus died for because the
church is God's people. God's people love His church because we are the
Lord's church. Not loving the church is not loving yourself or other
Christians. If I love other Christians and I love myself and want to go to
heaven, then I naturally must love the church.
Think about the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:27. Paul said to
Christians in Corinth, “You,” talking to Christians, “are the body of Christ
and members individually one of another.” Now what is the body? Well the
body is the church. Ephesians 1:22-23, Christ is head over the body, His
church, which is His body and so the church is the body. Those are used
as synonyms in the New Testament. We you are the body of Christ and
members individually one of another. We love the church because it's you.
Now when we think about the church, please understand we're not talking
about the building. The church is not a geographic location. It's not a
building. The church is Christians. It's the people. “God does not dwell in
temples made with hands today,” Acts 7:48-50. God dwells among His
people, and we are the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we say we
love the church, we love each other. We love the benefits that come by
being a member the church, and we love the head of that church- the Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ.
Now this is so practical because if I love my brothers and sisters,
naturally it's going to be the church as well. They are the church. Hebrews
13:1 teaches ‘let brotherly love continue.’ I'm commanded by Christ love
one another. John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give you that you love
one another.” God wants His people to be filled with love for each other, to
care about one another, to look out for each other's interest, and to
encourage and help each other to go to heaven in every way. And so
someone says, ‘Give me Christ but not the church.’ Wait a minute! The
church is made up of the saved. The church is made up of our brothers and
sisters in Christ. If I don't love the church, do I love my brothers and sisters
in Christ? If not, then I stand condemned. According to the words of 1 John
chapter 3 and chapter 4 we must love one another and strive to encourage
and to help one another.
Then we mention another point as to why Christians love the church
of the Lord Jesus Christ. We love the church because the church's eternal
destiny is heaven itself. We've alluded to this passage several times, and I
want you to look with me to 1 Corinthians 15:24. That's 1 Corinthians
chapter 15 look with me in verse number 24 at the words of Paul as it
relates to the resurrection. Paul says, “Then comes the end finality of all
things when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an
end to all rule all authority and all power.” Now from this verse we're talking
about final coming of Christ, second coming the end of all things,
destruction of the world. He says we then comes the end and at the end
Christ is going to deliver, take back, the kingdom to the Father.
Now we ask the question- what is the kingdom? Jesus promised it
would exist during the lifetime of His disciples. Right? Mark 9:1 Jesus said
“Assuredly I say to you there are some standing here today who will not
taste death until they see the kingdom present with power.” Some of His
first century disciples were promised to see it, Colossians 1:13, tells that it
did come into existence. The Bible says that God translated some out of
darkness into the kingdom of His Son, and so it came into existence in the
first century. What is the kingdom? Well the words of Christ in establishing
the church again help us to understand what it is. Jesus said “I say to you
that you are Peter and upon this rock I'll build my church,” and then He said
this, “and I'm going to give to you the keys of the kingdom.” What's the
kingdom? It's the church.
The church and the kingdom are synonymous. We're talking about
one and the same. Peter stood up with the 11, preached the gospel, took
those keys of the gospel, opened the doors of the kingdom, and the Bible
says ‘for the first time the Lord added to the church daily those who are
being saved.’ Now if the church is the kingdom, and friend we love the
church because it's eternal destiny is heaven itself, think about this when
Christ comes to claim His own. When He comes to take back with Him to
His Father's house those who obey the gospel, it's going to be those in the
kingdom. He will deliver the kingdom to the Father. The kingdom and the
church are the people. Then we're going to be delivered ultimately to God
Himself, and that's the power that's the joy and that's the hope of being a
Christian. I love the church because, if I remain faithful unto death
Revelation 2:10, I can have the crown of life because the church is going to
be with God for all eternity.
Friend let's then shift gears, and let's think about this for just a
moment- if we say we love the church, and hopefully we do after thinking
about these principles, then the next logical question is: how do we show
our love for the Lord's church?
We do that by the following ways. Number one- I show my love and
you show your love for the Lord's church by putting it first. Now remember
the church and the kingdom are one and the same. What did Jesus say
about our priority in the kingdom? Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 ‘Seek first
the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be
added unto you.’ Friend the church needs to be our first priority. Now let's
make that practical. More than worldly interest and pleasures, more than
the job, more than money, more than recreation and ballgames, and all
those things- the church needs to come first. At all decisions I make, I want
to think about the church first and foremost. The question ought never to
come ‘Are we going to go to worship today? Are we going to work in the
church? Are we going to evangelize today? Are we going to help spread
the borders the Kingdom?’ The church is number one priority, that's how I
show, and then everything else can fall in line after that- and that's how I
show my love for the Lord and His church.
Secondly if I love the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, then I'm going
to want to spread the borders of the kingdom and tell others about it. That
was one of the requests that Jesus left with us. After His resurrection Jesus
would say in Matthew 28:18-19 and Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world
preach the gospel unto every creature.” We're to baptize of all nations,
Matthew 28:18. The early church did that in Acts 8:4 the Bible says those
who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Thus as a
Christian, I want to be ready always to tell about Christ, 1 Peter 3:15. And
so if we love the church, listen carefully now, we're not going to be
ashamed of the church. ‘I’m not ashamed of the gospel,’ Paul said in
Romans 1:16. If I love the church, then I want my neighbors to be saved to
become a part of the church. Right? Spreading the gospel is one of the
ways that we show our love for the Lord's church. The Lord's church the
Lord doesn't have any silent partners in His church. We need to be
spreading the gospel and telling others about the message of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ.
Then friend, as we've already noted, we show our love for the church
by really loving one another. Hebrews 13:1 ‘Let brotherly love continue.’ If I
love you and let you love me, then we're going to strive to encourage one
another. We're going to strive when somebody's down or hurting or in
need, we're going to strive to help them. We're going to do what we can to
encourage and lift one another up and be built up together, so that we
really can live as a family of God together for all eternity.
We also show our love to the church that Jesus died for by giving
ourselves to the church. Now when we talk about giving, we're not just
talking about financially. Don't get me wrong, the Bible teaches Christians
are to give as they've prospered on the first day the week, 1 Corinthians
16:1-2. Giving myself to the church requires more than just finances. I want
to give my time to the work of the church. I want to give my energy and
effort in serving the Lord. I want to give myself in growing to be a better
steward and servant in what God wants me to do, and I want to give
financially as well to the work of the local church on the first day of the
week as God has commanded each one of us.
We can also show our love for the Lord's church by not just filling a
pew on Sunday or Wednesday but by actually doing something for the
Lord. Working in the kingdom is how we show our love for the church. You
know when you think about the idea of being a servant that's what Jesus
has called us to do. Mark 10:45 Jesus said the Bible says “For the Son of
Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for
many.” When you look at the life of Jesus, as we talk about working in the
church and Him being our example, when you look at the life of Jesus,
Jesus lived the most servant filled life you can ever imagine. Think about all
that He was doing. He went out and helped the poor and fed the poor. He
went out and helped those who we're hurting. He healed those who were
sick. He cast demons out of those who were possessed. If anybody ever
exemplified working in the kingdom it was the Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ-that's the application for me and you.
If I'm going to really love the church, then I've got to not just fill a pew
and listen to someone speak a lesson or a Bible class- I've got to be out
being busy and working for God.
Jesus said in John 9:4 “We must work the works of Him who sent us
while it is day for night comes when no man works.” Now is the time, and
now is the opportunity to be working for God. We need to stay busy in His
kingdom. The apostle Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:58 Paul said
“Be steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord
knowing that your labor is not in vain.” What we do for God now- that's
what's really important and that is that which is not in vain but brings glory
and honor to God.
Do you remember the words of Revelation 14:13? The Bible tells
Christians ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Yes, says the spirit
that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them.’ As we
talk about loving the church by not just sitting there and you know taking up
space, here's what that means. It means that I want to tell somebody else
about the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I don't want to be the Lord's
silent partner, but we want to go out in evangelize. We want to tell others
about the good that is done in the church and how they can be saved. We
want to do good in our communities. That's what you know that's what
Jesus really did while He was here. He went about doing good. ‘He's done
all things well,’ they said of Him in Mark 7:37. How can I help those who are
hurting? How can I help the poor who are in need? What can we do to
those who are sick? How can we help those who've got spiritual problems
and are in need of God? Those are the things that Jesus strove to do while
He was here, and those are the things that we need to do as well while
We want to study our Bible. We want to pray. We want to do what we
can to give ourselves to God, and we want to make sure that it every day
we strive to be a living sacrifice for the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As we think about loving the church another important question is
needed to be asked and it's this- are you a member of the church Jesus
died for? Have you obeyed the gospel of Christ? Do you believe that Jesus
is the Son of God?
Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I'm He you'll surely die in your
sins,” John 8:24. Are you willing to repent of those things in your life that
may not be right? Jesus said in Luke 13:3 “Unless you repent, you will all
likewise perish.” Are you willing to confess and acknowledge Jesus as the
Savior? “With the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the
mouth confession is made unto salvation,” Matthew 10:32-33.
Would you do what the Bible says to get in the church? By one spirit
are all baptized into one church.
Friend if you're not a member, we're begging you today become a
member of the Lord's church and live every day to show that you love the
church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Study Questions for: “Topical Lesson 14: Love for the Church”
1. According to Acts 20:28, how did Jesus purchase the Church?
2. What does 1 Corinthians say about division and denominationalism?
3. According to 1 Timothy 2:4, what does God want?
4. According to Acts 2:47, who are saved? Where are the saved?
5. Who overcame Satan and death according to Hebrews 2:14?
6. How can we have victory according to 1 Corinthians 15:57?
7. According to 1 Corinthians 12:27, what are Christians?
8. What does Acts 7:48-50 tell us about places of worship?
9. What does Hebrews 13:1 teach?
10. Where will the Kingdom, the church, go in the end according to 1