Christ is the head of the church. And he does not have out-of-body experiences. To submit to the authority of Jesus Christ over your life is to live in fellowship with the church.
Here are nine reasons why you should have a high view of the church…
Faith in God is practiced in spiritual community. The unbelieving society we live in regularly claims that faith is a private matter. But this is not the truth. Indeed, faith is a personal matter. As Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). But personal faith is not private faith. True faith is lived in spiritual community with others. In the Old Testament, the faith community was the nation of Israel. In the New Testament, it is the church, a new community in Christ that transcends gender, race, or status (Galatians 3:28). To live in faith in Christ is to live in fellowship with the church.
The church is the household of God. Writing to Timothy in Ephesus, Paul called the church “the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). In salvation, we are born again and adopted into the family of God. But a newborn child needs to become a part of a household for nourishment, fellowship, and protection. The church is the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). More than that, it is God’s household. To reject the church is to reject the means of care the Lord has provided for his redeemed children.
Church membership brings assurance of salvation. A Christian is one who has professed saving-faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But that personal profession must be made to and among the church for there to be true assurance. In the New Testament letters, the two essential marks of true conversion are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and love for all the saints. Christian fellowship is as essential to true assurance as personal faith. Love for the saints demonstrates faith in Christ. “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers,” wrote the Apostle John, “whoever does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14).