What Is the Church?

I’m currently reading a book on Christian leadership written by Paul Tripp, and I’ll be reviewing it later this month.  However, I came across this quote about the church that I would like to share:

“What is the church?  It’s a chosen gathering of unfinished people, still grappling with the selfishness of sin and the seduction of temptation, living in a fallen world, where there is deception and dysfunction all around.  There is nothing comfortable or easy in this plan.  The church is intended to be messy and chaotic, because this mess is intended to yank us out of our self-sufficiency and self-obsession to become people who really do love God and our neighbors.  God puts broken people next to broken people (including leaders), not so they would be comfortable with one another but so they would function as agents of transformation in the lives on one another.    You simply won’t have joy in being part of this plan unless you find joy in living a lifestyle of self-denial and willing servanthood.”

This makes me realize how often we all have inflated expectations of what church and our fellow members should be like.  But think about the first disciples — James and John were prideful, wanting to sit on the right and left hand of Christ;  Judas betrayed Him;  Peter denied Him;  Thomas doubted.  They were far from perfect.  We’re no different.  It’s easier to criticize than encourage;  to grumble rather than pitch in;  to desire recognition instead of serving humbly.  There is only one solution, only one way a church full of sinners can survive –Grace.  Just like the hymn by Julia Johnston:

“Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!”

Be willing to give it, because you have received it.

” For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”  Ephesians 2:8

For more about the church see these posts:

We (the Laity) Are the Church

The Church Needs You!

The Church: The Bride of Christ