21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, … so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. …. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
- 64. What is the invisible church?
A. The invisible church is the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head. The Westminster Divines, Larger Catechism. Kindle Edition. Simply put: the invisible church is made up of true Christians. It is called the invisible church because only God knows the identity of these Christians (or The Elect) as a matter of fact.
- 65. What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?
A. The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory. The Westminster Divines, Larger Catechism. Kindle Edition
The church is Christ’s body, Christ’s fullness. Christ is head over all things and all in all things, but his fullness is best seen and understood in the context of the community of the Church. We cannot fully see, understand, or fully know Christ from an individual experience of solitude. The Church gives us the context for a more perfect understanding of our union with Christ. It takes the Church overall and the privilege of being connected to a local fellowship to help us fully follow Christ.
What then of the person who says they don’t need the church to worship? Simply, they cannot know Christ in his fullness. Perhaps they do not want to know Christ very much at all. But, to know Christ at all is to want to know Christ as all in all. If the latter is missing, the former is seriously in question. And that question is best answered in the context of a local community of disciples of Jesus — the church.
Often people are willing to live life disconnected from family, community, and church because they fear being truly known by anyone. But the real cowardice is not really fear of knowing or being known by people, it is fear of acknowledging being fully known by Christ, our sins exposed to Him. Giving in to the fear of losing control to God as our ‘head’ is to move in the direction of becoming our own god.
Consider the sacrifice Christ made to create for himself a bride, the Church; compare that to your own attitudes and willingness to sacrifice for the local Church of which you are a part. We sometimes overreact to the weighty responsibility we have of being married to Christ and his Church, and we surrender to the temptation to do nothing at all. Be encouraged today. Christ chose you, personally, and he chose you to be part of the most important thing he has today on earth: His Bride, The Church