Christ calls us to “be the church” to those around us. We need to remove obstacles that are keeping us from truly loving the people around us. The question we should be asking is not, “What is my purpose?” but rather, “What is God’s purpose for his people?” You see, my perspective of a fulfilled life ends up being all about me—what makes me happy, what makes me feel comfortable. But when I ask, “God, what is your purpose for your people?” then my focus is on God, not myself. This seemingly subtle difference in perspective will radically change how we live.
Many people understand the church as a building, but the biblical understanding is “an assembly of people”, literally “called-out ones.” So, what we are called out to do? The purpose of the church is to worship God as the unified body of Christ, working together to minister to others and bring Him glory (Ephesians 4:1-6). Studying his Word is critical to accomplishing our purpose (2 Timothy 2:15). So is praying for one another. Do you spend more time praying for the people around you or complaining about them?
God calls us to service which goes far beyond what we typically imagine. He already has prepared good deeds for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) Whenever you serve others, you are actually serving God. When we serve other believers, we and they will become more like Christ (Ephesians 4:14-16).
So, what are some obstacles to us being the church? First, we may not actually belong to Christ. If we are not in Christ then we don’t actually have a relationship with God. But when we have a relationship with God, then Christ can live in and through us. Then we can love others the way God intends. (Galatians 2:20). Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Another obstacle is being too busy (Colossians 4:5). Is your schedule so full that you don’t have time to love and serve your church family? Other times bitterness and anger prevent us from being the church (Ephesians 4:31-32). A lack of forgiveness is a hindrance to us loving others. Another obstacle is seeking comfort and happiness. The good news is that when we love others it will make us genuinely happy. Finally, sometimes we don’t fulfill the purpose of the church because we fear not knowing how to help others. But our weakness is not an obstacle to us glorifying God (2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Timothy 1:6).
Don’t let these or other obstacles stop you from being the church. Look around and see who God has placed in your life. Ask yourself, “Am I fulfilling the purpose of the church with those around me?”
Talking To Others About This Week’s Message
If a neighbor or friend at work asked you, “What kind of stuff do they talk about at your church?”, how would you summarize the most important elements of this week’s sermon and the key lessons you intend to apply to your life? Can you explain it in plain language anyone could understand?
- Recognize that we have obstacles which keep us from being the church.
- Create margin so that you can make the most of every opportunity.
- Instead of being quick to be angry, let’s be quick to forgive.