Here are four reasons that you need the Body of Christ, the church.
The Command to Assemble
I know of no lone-ranger Christians anywhere in the New Testament church. They always met together, broke bread, and had fellowship. Acts 2:42 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” So how can you be devoted to the apostle’s teachings without assembling together and hearing teachings behind the pulpit–in Sunday school or at a Sunday or Wednesday night Bible study? The words “one another” show up dozens and dozens of times in the New Testament, and it is always in the context of the Body of Christ, the church. No, church doesn’t save you, but a saved person should desire the fellowship of the saints, as iron sharpens iron (Prov. 27:17). The Bible teaches that we should not be “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”(Heb. 10:25). That day is apparently swiftly approaching, and we need one another all the more to “encourage one another” (Heb. 3:13).
Jesus Gives Pastors and Teachers
It was said about Jesus, “And He Himself gave pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12). Men do not call themselves into the ministry. Jesus calls men into the ministry to faithfully proclaim God’s Word in order that your mind may be renewed and your life transformed. Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). He didn’t say “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” unless someone believes they don’t need it or “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” but won’t be necessary in the 21st century. The Bible never suggests that Christians together as a church, as the Body of Christ, partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him if they feel like it (1 Cor. 11:17).
We Need One Another
Paul wrote that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the Body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Cor. 12:26-27). It is easier to experience trials and tribulations with other believers than in isolation. I gave this example not long ago: The giant sequoias are hundreds of feet tall and thousands of years old, but their roots are exceedingly shallow. If the sequoias were isolated and a big windstorm came up, they would topple, but together they can weather the storm, as their roots are intertwined, just as their branches are. They hold one another up in times of fierce storms. Remember that Satan is like a roaring lion, roaming about to seek whom he might devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He rarely attacks the herd but looks for the wounded, hurting stragglers to attack.
Our church has a prison ministry, a nursing home ministry, and an outreach (evangelism) ministry. We also help those who have little by providing clothing for the poor for thrift stores. Together, as the corporate Body of Christ, we can collectively do more than any one individual can. God has given us the gifts of the Spirit to equip and help the church. The gifts of the Spirit are not for the individual but for the edifying, exhorting, encouraging, and equipping of the saints. Paul wrote that together “we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:15-16). “So Christ Himself” gave us “evangelists, pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11b-13) for the purpose that “we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).
Some say they love God but can’t stand to be around other Christians. I am a father, and if someone told me they love me but can’t stand being around my children, I’d not take very kindly to that! Yes, we do need the church, but the church needs us also, as we can contribute to the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ has many members but one head (Christ). These different parts of the body serve in different capacities, and they seek to grow in grace and to glorify God.