See It Publicly

When I made arrangements to start blogging here, I told the fellows in charge that it was unlikely that I would blog more than twice a month at Ref21, but I'm about to only have posted once in my premiere month.  That's a soft start to be sure.

Last time, as you remember, I made the point that Christ must have his Church - but not just some universal church, some church without particular people in it.  And I left you with the pointed affirmation that if we want what Jesus wants, we also ought to want the church in a particular sense.  For those of you who aren't getting what I mean, let me say it plainly: if you don't belong to a local church, you're disdaining the people Jesus has called to himself.

There are a lot of places to go from there - places most people avoid studiously so they can do as little as possible for those who are fallen and only Jesus can get them back up again.  But I'm going to make my second post here about someplace I think you need to think about before the weekend kicks off: your worship is too puny if you worship this weekend without God's people.

Look: How Sweet the sound that Saved a Wretch like Me, right?  Everybody reading this blog understands how great is the grace which is used to save "me personally," (whosoever you personally may be), but that fantastic, impossible, immeasurable grace which God used to save you is magnified when you stand next to someone else who was also saved by that grace - your spouse, for example.  Or maybe your kids.  Or maybe all of you - and some of you are planning to House Church it this weekend because you have two or more gathered together in His name.  In that way, you think your job is done, your obligation and gratitude toward God Almighty and the Lamb who was Slain before the Foundation of the World is all set.

But I want you to think about this:  Jesus didn't die for us so that those who were born of the will of man could (or merely might) worship with us.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  That doesn't mean that you were surprised at how many children you and your spouse had because they were all born when God appointed them to be born: it means that there are many more people born into the family of God than you and your spouse can have made.  It means that somehow God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ is greater than the will of any man or woman.

That's why you need to get together with other people not related to you by blood or marriage or because they are like you in some ordinary way based on your preferences: because God is glorified when we get together all of us who are born into His family and show it and say it and see it publicly.  It Makes God's greatness obvious to all and confuses the world in all the right ways when we do it - because they have no idea why every tribe and tongue and neighborhood ought to be able to sing the same (unpopular) songs and eat the same (small portioned) meal and hear the same (sometimes complicated, sometimes apparently-clichéd) words of life.

But we do.  And we should.  And if we don't, shame on us - for making too little of what God has done for us.