Due to inclement weather, the church that I normally attend cancelled services last Sunday. As I did the previous Sunday, when it cancelled services, I watched the live-stream of John MacArthur, Jr.’s Grace Community Church.
MacArthur is doing a series on the church. MacArthur said that
church is not about us making contacts to enrich ourselves, us
recovering from substance abuse, or even us feeling better about
ourselves so that we can get through the week. On that last point,
MacArthur likened church to a carousel: we get on, enjoy the music, and
then get off at the same place where we got on!
For MacArthur, church is about exalting Jesus. A component of that
is serious, respectful worship. MacArthur was calling the musical part
of the service a taste of heaven, and, I must admit, it was powerful and
majestic! For MacArthur, when we exalt Jesus, things in our life fall
into their proper place.
MacArthur was also placing the church within a larger context. God
the Father has given Christ the people of the church, according to John
6:37. We belong to Christ, and we glorify Christ by imaging Christ. At
the eschaton, Christ will give the church to the Father, so that God
may be all in all, a la I Corinthians 15:28. According to MacArthur,
the world is decaying, but the church will last forever.
At the end of the sermon, MacArthur reluctantly said that there were
three men who were unfaithful to their….And that’s when the live-stream
ended! The service was about to start communion, but we were not shown
Oddly, the sermon made me feel better. I realize that MacArthur’s
whole point was that church isn’t about me but is about Jesus, but it
still made me feel better. Recent events made me evaluate the question
of why I go to church. I cannot deny that one reason is to make
contacts: I have difficulty making friends, and church is a community
where I can meet people, maybe people who would give me a job
reference! But that may not happen. Would I say that church is a
waste? I should not say that. It is a place for me to exalt Jesus and
to learn about Jesus’ grace and character.