There seems to be an alarming exodus from the church where a lot of people have had bad experiences with unhealthy churches and so they’ve developed a Lone Ranger mentality. I want to urge people who have had this experience to find healthy, well-balanced churches because the Scriptures, from first to last, teach that the Christian life is to be lived within the context of a family of faith. The Bible knows nothing of Lone Ranger Christians. Far from being born again as some kind of rugged individualists, we’re born into a body of believers, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the head. Hebrews tells us that we should not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.

Spiritual growth is simply impossible apart from membership in a healthy, well-balanced church. It’s the church through which we receive the Word and the sacraments as a means of grace, and therefore it’s crucial that we emulate the early Christians who devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship and to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

While it is in the church that we enter into worship, experience fellowship and are equipped to witness, church membership itself, of course, does not save us. Walking into a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than walking into a garage makes you a car. We’re rescued from God’s wrath, forgiven of all our sins and declared righteous before God solely by grace through faith on account of Jesus Christ alone.

I’m not urging you to go to church so that you can become a Christian, but as a Christian you want to be part of a healthy, well-balanced church because God has ordained this as the vehicle through which we could worship Him, through which we could experience oneness with one another, and through which we can be equipped to go out and impact the world.

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