The Church

Leanne VanDyk

READ : Ephesians 4:11-15

Love one another. (John 13:34)

Read: Belgic Confession, Articles 27-32

The church is a disappointment to many Christian people. We should be honest about this. The church is often the place of quarrelling and petty jealousies. The apostle Paul knew this too, of course. All of his pastoral letters cajole the young churches to end their divisions and they give detailed instructions on how to build unity and peace.

The Belgic Confession devotes six articles to the church, nearly a sixth of the entire document. But in all this material, the core instruction can be found in a description of the “true church.” The true church is recognized where people have faith in the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, and where people love God and their neighbors. This sounds so deceptively simple. Believe in Jesus Christ. Love God. Love neighbors. But how many of those quarrels and jealousies would evaporate if all three of these instructions were carried out? Would our churches become more genuine places of care if we learned to listen to each other and love each other more honestly? These three principles – (1) believe in Jesus Christ, (2) love God, and (3) love neighbors – are a blueprint for a true church, so that people will say, “See, how they love each other.”

PRAYER

Help us to be the true church that you have called us to be, God. Give us the strength and wisdom to follow you in paths of witness, worship, and discipleship. Amen.