Looking at Him
What is the Church? Well, maybe it is not what you think. It’s not a building, a social club, and definitely not a temple. In fact, it’s not even for us. So, what is the Church? Simply put: we are the Church, the body of Christ and He is the head. The acceptance that the Church is not for us, but for Him, who saved us, can be life changing. It is also hard to accept. Often, we want to lift up many things as centerpieces and baselines for our existence along with Christ, but the Word of God declares that to be false and idolatry. Many of these items we could glorify and honor are not bad at all in of themselves, but nothing should ever take the place of our true service as the Church – making disciples.
When true Christ disciples are made, they will honor Jesus in their worship. This glorifies God, because that is what we desire – the true worship of Him. True worship is true service. Revelation 22:3 speaks of this when we are told “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.” When reading other translations of this passage, beyond the ESV, such as the KJV, NIV, NASB, etc., they all read “serve him.” Why? Because the word is interchangeable. What we serve is what we ultimately worship.
In the well-known account of two disciples on the ‘Road to Emmaus’, these men encounter the risen Christ. The story from Luke gives us clear insight into the truth of scripture. It all pointed to Him!
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)
As the Church we can never neglect to realize, we exist because of Him, for Him, and are being sustained by Him. You see without Him, we are but a collective group of people with common interest. The Church is much more! Christ wanted His disciples to see the big picture. He wanted them to see Him as the purpose for their life. The Word points us the Lamb and we the Church are here to serve that Lamb.
2018 was a fantastic year for Hillview Baptist Church! Why? Well because we sought to make much of Christ and we saw fruit in the effort reaped. Baptisms were witnessed and Church membership grew. On the surface, it was a good year. As a new member to Hillview myself, I believe even more took place below the surface. It is my true belief that our awareness of the gospel was further galvanized. Our joy was increased. Our love for God and for our neighbors was lived out in many ways. We continued in our established ministries aimed at helping and serving our neighbor. As a Church we started some new family and child based biblical studies. Lastly, we committed financially to help show our efforts in glorifying God and making disciples by both upgrading and improving our facilities.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
One of the amazing truths hidden underneath the statement that the Church “is not even for us” is this: the Church blesses us beyond measure. We are blessed by the fellowship. The gathering together to worship Christ with our lives, as we give over to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, submitting to the truth of the gospel. The Church sanctifies us in Christ. This takes place through the sacrificial love we have for one another from accountability in genuine discipleship to the pouring out of our gifts in service for one another. Finally, as the Church, we are blessed by the multiplication in true discipleship. Seeing others grow in Christ is a blessing one cannot put into words, we can simply say we are blessed!
As HBC heads into 2019, we pray. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will continue to bear much fruit. We are praying, through the study of God’s Word, our lives will be forever changed to be continually made in His image. Lastly, we are praying that we love: love our Lord and love our neighbors. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” If we love like Jesus, we know from His Word that others will know that we are His. We also want you to consider visiting us on the Hill to see what is happening. You may just find out that you are being called to be part of the Church and we would love for you to ‘Come and Grow In Christ With us’ at Hillview Baptist Church!