When we lived in Colorado, my family would traipse all over the states parks. We took the time out to wander, and that is an important thing to do from time to time.  

In these areas of such rugged and natural beauty, it was very important for all to leave as little trace of ones journey behind as possible. So, signs and advertisements, would remind hikers to “pack it out.” Whatever it is you brought into the park or open space, be sure you take it back out again. It is really about impact. When we use these spaces, we want to leave as small an impact on them as possible, so that others can enjoy them too.

Jesus likewise didn’t leave very much behind. What little He had by way of earthly goods was quickly divided among those who were crucifying Him. So what then, did He have left to leave behind? He left His word, and He left His church (disciples). Eventually, He sends us His Spirit as the most amazing care package ever devised! But in the immediate sense, He left His teaching, and His people. 

For Jesus Christ, the intent was also all about impact.

The impact that Jesus made is unmistakable. His church, formed by His word is not just the fastest growing movement on the planet, but has established more hospitals, orphanages, and schools than every other movement combined! The church, formed in His holy image provides to this day the critical services of providing needed fellowship of like-minded persons who love the Lord, and who can encourage one another in their faith walk. 

You will not find that quality of loving fellowship centered in Christ anywhere else in the world! And yet, we tend ignore the importance of it. 

In the church that Jesus Christ established we have access to the sacraments, which the Holy Spirit uses to communicate grace, strength and spiritual healing to His people! We far too often minimize the value and the power of these means of grace, to our detriment! 

Finally, in the church of Jesus Christ we will find the holy word of God spoken over us. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:17. 

Every day that we live on this earth, we are at war against the spiritual powers of darkness that seek to keep all of mankind subjugated to its bonds, and hopeless in its eventual damnation. These powers conspire to attack and to destroy us, and their efforts are relentless. Even the most admirable Christian eventually is worn down by the abuse, and loses their strength. In the church, where God’s holy word is spoken, in conjunction with the holy sacraments, and the holy fellowship of believers we find the strength, the encouragement and the healing that we need to take the fight to the enemy. 

The church was and is ordained by God, filled with His Holy Spirit, and tasked with His mission to free mankind from the bonds of sin and hopelessness. It is the only institution that exists to love as God loves, and for some reason God’s people seem very content to minimize its importance. Loved ones, this must stop! 

The church is a place of love, hope and healing in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, we really do need one another! Let’s live accordingly, and not forsake the gathering of ourselves together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:25

 

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