I read recently where someone I once knew was saying, he loved Jesus and was all for Jesus but was tired of all the problems he encountered in the church and so he was giving up on it.
What I'm not sure he understands though is that that is like a contradiction in terms because while he may have given up on the church, Jesus hasn't. Jesus' commitment to the church - it's not just a past commitment - something that happened on the cross. It's not just a future commitment - he'll really show his love for the church when he comes again. It's a present commitment. He's doing something in the church, right now, today...He's nourishing it and cherising it as we speak.
Jesus loves the church.
And the thing is, I don't think it takes a big leap of the imagination to say that people who call themselves Jesus' followers should be committed to exactly what Jesus is committed to. I know, we all know, there are plenty of problems in the church. There are a million different reasons a person might give for not being committed to the church. But there's one big compelling reason for being committed to the church in spite of all that:
Which means even though it's difficult, even though it's time consuming, even though there are going to be times when it is disappointing, if we are committed to Jesus we need tob e committed to what Jesus is committed to:
One very practical way we do that is by committing ourselves to pursue the good of a local church.
Obviously when Paul wrote Ephesians 5 and talked about Jesus' commitment to the church he wasn't only talking about my local church, or yours. His vision was a whole lot bigger than that. Jesus isn't just about your local church or my local church, He's about the church. And so we shouldn't just be about our church, we should be about the church.
But do you know one of the best ways to show you are about the church? Through your commitment to your church.
If that's confusing for you, Joshua Harris simplifies it by quoting a bumper sticker: "Think globally. Act Locally."
It would be very strange for us to say that we are committed to the church if we are not committed to a church. We show our commitment to the church by committing to a church, and really in doing that, we show our committment to Jesus because we are showing our commitment to being about what Jesus is about!