“I love Jesus but I hate the Church.” she said defiantly “The Church causes nothing but pain. I’m going to learn about Jesus on my own.”
These were the words of a girl I was discussing Christianity with. Clearly, she had not had the best experience of the church. As upsetting as it is she’s not alone.
Maybe you’re like this girl. Maybe you keep away from the Church thinking it has nothing to offer but hurt. Maybe you do attend Sunday service, but the Church has hurt you so bad you’ve lost the love you had at first.
Why should you love the Church. What does it have to offer?
The Church Loves Jesus
The Church is obsessed with Jesus. They preach, sing and shout about him. If you want to grow as a Christian, you can learn loads from these Jesus-lovers:
- You can hear the Gospel: When you became a Christian someone from the Church was communicating the Gospel to you (whether that was in the preached or the written word). The Church loves Jesus so much it shares the Gospel, and it has shared it with you. If the Church has shared the most valuable gift, why do you shun them?
- You can see inspiring models: My church is full of older saints (anyone who can’t say that is missing out). Gathering their practical and doctrinal experience and seeing the spirituality of their life is incredibly challenging for my life.
- You can delve deeper into Jesus: The teaching of the Church (from the pulpit and the pews) will show you more than you could have seen in a lifetime of study. 2000 years of Church teaching is delivered to you to build from. You will see many aspects of Christ that you never saw or never realised how beautiful they were.
The Church Loves People Who Love Jesus
However it is not just that the Church loves Jesus. You won’t just look on from the outside and see some good examples. The Church will actively come and seek you out to bless you in a number of ways.
- The Church encourages Christians: When you are downhearted, you need someone to encourage you and lift you up. The Church will do a much better job than anyone else. They will encourage you in Christ! They will make Jesus the foundation of your joy in sorrow and how much better that is.
- The Church rebukes Christians: This may not sound exciting. However, if you are going off the rails wouldn’t you want someone to pull you back? The Church won’t let you fall into immorality, away from Jesus. We all stumble, the Church is themeans by which God lifts us up.
- The Church provides opportunities to Christians: Whatever your gifts are (preaching, singing, hospitality) the church will encourage them and provide opportunities for you to share the gifts God has given you.
Jesus Loves the Church
Yet the best reason of all is Jesus loves the Church. He died for her and gave himself up for her. He calls her his bride. She is his most treasured possession.
If you love Jesus you must love the Church. He won’t let you do otherwise.
“But sometimes the Church can fall short. Sometimes it really hurts me.” That is true and no one knows it better than him. When he was weeping in Gethsemane, where was the Church to help him?
Yet Jesus still love them, still gave himself up for them.
Whether you like it or not (if Jesus died for you) you are a part of that Church. Why not get involved and learn to love the Church as much as Jesus does?