Essentials of Faith: The Church
February 14, 2022 | Michael Sentance
This week continues a 4-post series from Family Ministries on the “Essentials of Faith,” intended to parallel what the Kids/Youth/ Adult “Discipling the Next Generation” Sunday School classes are studying during the month of February. We hope to share Stone Hill’s position on these essential doctrines, provide a few guidelines, and remind the church of the beauty and truth of these traditions and beliefs.
As we continue going over the essentials of faith in Sunday School this month, this week we attempt to answer the question: What is the Church? In anticipation of that, and in recognition that it is Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write a brief reflection on the love shared between Christ and his Church.
Most of us have sat down and wondered at some point why an almighty God would choose to work in the world through broken vessels like us. There have been moments over the years when I have genuinely struggled to see the Church in a positive light. However, we know from Scripture that God loves his Church. In Ephesians 5, Paul goes so far as to say the relationship between a husband and wife is a picture of Christ and the Church, and Revelation 19 refers to the Church as the bride of Christ. God chooses to work through the Church because he loves the Church and wants the best for her. In working through the Church, God shows his love to her, works for her good and displays his glory.
For us then, belonging to the Church and giving ourselves to the Church is one way that we receive God’s love, as he works in us and through us. However, it is also a wonderful opportunity for us to show God our love for Him. Jesus said that if we love him, we will obey him. Therefore, joining with his bride, the Church, and getting involved in the mission he has given her is an expression of love for Christ.
As we join with the Church, in both receiving God’s love and showing him our love, we are also called by him to show that love to one another. We are meant to walk the winding road of life side by side with each other, sharing both our triumphs and failures, and upholding each other along the way.
Finally, being a part of the Church is a way that we can spread the news of Christ’s unstoppable love with the world around us. There are so many people in the world who have never come close to understanding the depth of God’s love for them. The mission of the Church is to reach those people and tell them of the great love Christ has for them, and to tell them of the love that we, God’s people, have for them.
In summary, then, remember this Valentine’s Day that the Church really is all about love. Love from God to us, love from us to God, love from us to one another, and love breaking out into the world. This isn’t something to be done half-heartedly, around all your other responsibilities. This is something to commit yourself to and to give your heart to. I encourage you to consider what the next step might be for you in showing that commitment, whether it be baptism, membership, or serving.