Below are some additional interactions on the article: Belonging To The Church. Read it first.
Matthew 28:16–20—Here we see the last interaction between Jesus and his disciples; he is giving them their final marching orders. Of course, his message applies to all believers.
1 Peter 2:9–12—Here we see another description of how we are set apart from the world and what impact that will have on those around us.
Colossians 2:2–3—This passage describes Paul’s motivation for working so hard to bring the church together into a solid community.
Hebrews 10:33–39—Notice how the state of our hearts and lives has completely changed because of Jesus Christ. It is by standing together, steadfast in faith, that we will bear witness to God’s power and love.
Small Group Guide:
Here is a song performed by Keith & Kristyn Getty. It does a good job of capturing different elements of what it means to be the Church of Christ.
O CHURCH, ARISE
O church, arise and put your armor on;
Hear the call of Christ our captain;
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth
We’ll stand against the devil’s lies;
An army bold whose battle cry is “Love!”
Reaching out to those in darkness.
Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole
We will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on ev’ry side,
We know the outcome is secure,
And Christ will have the prize for which He died—
An inheritance of nations.
Come, see the cross where love and mercy meet,
As the Son of God is stricken;
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
For the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
And Christ emerges from the grave,
This vict’ry march continues till the day
Ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.
So Spirit, come, put strength in ev’ry stride,
Give grace for ev’ry hurdle,
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When, with Christ, we stand in glory.
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
This clip from the first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy shows J.R.R.Tolkein’s the forming of the fellowship. Tolkien was a follower of Christ and he used this part of the story to illustrate the way believers choose a different way of living their life (rather than divided and arguing) and they join together, each offering their abilities and committing to joining together to complete this task that would be impossible to do alone. It’s a wonderful example of belonging to the Church.
Large Group Guide:
Write in free form, stream of consciousness, your thoughts, images, ideas, hopes, fears, experiences of belonging to the church (or perhaps your local chapel). You may have had good or bad or no experience with this. Whatever your story and however you feel about this concept, write it down and then spend some time talking with Jesus about it. Hand your pain and anger to him and be willing to listen to his promptings. It’s important for us to be honest with him about everything; and, the great thing is, he already knows our deepest thoughts and he loves and accepts us completely.
Pick a chapel on your installation or grab that phone book, go online, ask some friends, and find a church to visit this week. If you already attend church, seek out a smaller group setting like a bible study or even a youth group. Pick a place/group and resolve to go regularly for 4 weeks. Ask God to open your heart and lead you to the right community. Regardless of whether you feel led to stay or leave that community after 4 weeks, commit to going and experiencing a piece of belonging to the church.
This hymn (#824) was composed by Samuel S. Wesley and gives his description of the Church. He describes many aspects — creation, purpose, connection to Christ, the redemption of the individual, the duty of the fellowship of believers. Read through it and consider what parts you have experienced or witnessed, what you want to know more about, and what you are resisting. Reflect on the impact of all this on your faith and life and ask God to lead you and give a willing spirit.
The Church is Christ’s Own Body—Hymns, #824
The Church is Christ’s own Body,
The Father’s dwelling-place,
The gathering of the called ones,
God blended with man’s race;
Elect before creation,
Redeemed by Calv’ry’s death,
Her character and standing
Of heaven, not of earth.
New man of new creation,
Born through her risen Lord,
Baptized in God the Spirit,
Made holy by His Word;
Christ is her life and content,
Himself her glorious Head;
She has ascended with Him
O’er all her foes to tread.
Christ is her one foundation,
None other man may lay;
All that she has, as Christ, is
Divine in every way;
Her members through the Spirit
Their death on Calv’ry own;
They’re built in resurrection —
Gold, silver, precious stone.
One God, one Lord one Spirit —
Her elements all one —
One faith, one hope, one baptism,
One Body in the Son;
The triune God is in her,
One Body members own,
By faith they are united,
In hope of glory shown.
From every tribe and nation
Do all the members come,
Regardless of their classes
United to be one.
No high there is, nor lowly,
No Jew, nor Gentile clan,
No free, nor slave, nor master,
But Christ, the “one new man.”
One Body universal,
One in each place expressed;
Locality of dwelling
Her only ground possessed;
Each answ’ring to the Lord;
Upheld in one accord.
Her local gatherings model
The New Jerusalem;
Its aspects and its details
Must show in all of them.
Christ is the Lamp that shineth,
With God within, the Light;
They are the lampstands bearing
His glorious Image bright.