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Empty Cross Ministries
March 4, 2021
What is Church Supposed to Be?
Daily Devotional in Romans 16
As Paul concludes his letter to the Roman church, he spent the whole chapter remembering Christians he knew in the ministry. He named 28 individuals and remarked what they had meant to him or how they had been useful in the ministry. They were more than acquaintances to him. The people in a church were close to his heart.
Going to church for us should also be more than just nodding at people as they pass us in the aisle or shaking their hands as we see them in Sunday school. Church is where those of like faith and beliefs gather. It should be a place removed from the world, where we can be with our own kind — Christians. In that place we are no longer a “peculiar” people as the unsaved sees us. In that fellowship, we are with others of similar beliefs. We are with members of the family of God.
Church is a place where some hear the Gospel for the first time and get saved. It should be a place where the Bible is taught, and people learn more about God’s Word. In church, Christians can hear what the Lord has laid on the under shepherd’s heart, and learn how they can be better Christians. It is a place where people can be burdened for needs they see or hear about and can get involved in a ministry themselves.
Also importantly, church is a place where we are among those of like faith. I know I can’t speak for all churches, as too many have too much of the world in them, but church should be a place where we can be far from godless living, and be closer to God. In church we can be encouraged by other Christians. All week we are swimming against the current of the world. It can spiritually tire us out. Being around our own kind, can reward us with advice, encouragement, or even seeing how other Christians handle their problems; so we can successfully run our own spiritual race.
Those Christians that are not faithful in church attendance miss the help and encouragement of being around their own kind. It’s not just the preaching, teaching, church dinners, and special events that we need. We need to feel, for the time we are with others of like faith, that we are not alone in this world. We need to know there are others like us. No wonder Paul addressed many individually. They were important to him, because they were part of his spiritual family — the family of God.
Today’s Thoughts: “Going to church is family time!” & “What’s missing from ch __ __ ch? You are!”
1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.
11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
17 ¶ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
21 ¶ Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
25 ¶ Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. (KJV)