Because of the severe weather this past Sunday I had an unexpected and unusual experience of actually worshiping with my wife at my home church this past Sunday. My preaching engagement was cancelled due to weather and so… There I was in about the 5th row sitting with my wife listening to the Associate minister deliver a great sermon on the role and meaning of Fellowship in the church.
One of his points really stood to me. (In fact I sort wandered off on a rabbit trail during the sermon thinking and making notes without really listening.) He pointed out that without Fellowship it is impossible to completely show Christ to an unbelieving world. For example: A Christian living in isolation can show devotion, prayer, or worship; but it is impossible for the single isolated Christian to show the world forgiveness, love, and grace.
It takes the impact of imperfect people seeking to serve a perfect savior — with all the conflicts and misunderstandings that go with it — for the world to see what true forgiveness looks like.
You couldn’t really know what a great marriage looks like if you didn’t actually see them taking place in the community around you. Going back to the slaves in Egypt we see that God decided to use a chosen people living under His law and His mercy to show the pagan (Gentile) world what being “God’s people” should look like.
In the Christian age we are God’s chosen people who, as Paul eloquently points out, being Christ — being the Body of Christ — before a watching world.
So if you claim to be a disciple of Christ but you don’t want to be part of the local church — think again. Part of your calling in Christ is to be a part of the local community (Koinonia) and “working out your salvation” in the day to day grind with your brothers and sisters.
You are not designed or destined to live your spiritual live in isolation. Be the Body — be a part of the greater whole. It may be imperfect, but it is what God has chosen and what Christ died to establish.