WARNING: If you’re a Christian and have been spending almost no time engaged in the local church (worship, fellowship, discipleship and serving), you are doing so to your own detriment and the detriment of others. Association with other members of the body of Christ is essential to your spiritual health and growth. It is essential to the growth and health of the entire body. The more independent of the body you make yourself, the less connected you become to one of the primary means of grace God provides for Christians. And before long, your own “independent” connection also becomes frayed.
There are few other places in Scripture where this truth is apparent than in this week’s passage in the book of Acts. The growth and health of the Antioch church, as it is formed and strengthened, is directly dependent on those within the local church and on those from other churches. There is a sense of connectedness in Christ that provides the essential nourishment needed to advance that local church and to make it flourish. The church in Antioch serves as a model, one that has been reproduced time and time again over the last two thousand years.
Antioch was the third largest city in the Roman Empire, the equivalent of Chicago in our country. It was a city of great commerce, education and many different cultures. It was licentious and the degradation of morals would make our current culture seem conservative. Yet, Christianity exploded and flourished in this city for a very long time. Gentiles and Jews were awakened to the Christian faith and lived radically different lives than their pagan neighbors. It was the first place where Jesus’ followers were known as “Christians.” Yet none of this would have happened if the church and its members were independent and unengaged.
What does it mean to be “Christian” and how can you improve your Christian strength and fitness? Come find out this Sunday morning. Join us for worship at 10:30 and for prayer and Christian Formation classes at 9:15.