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The Church: Irrelevant, Dangerous, or Necessary?

With each passing day we are given more bad news in our complex and chaotic world. Information that used to take weeks or months to reach us is available in an instant, and we barely have time to catch our breath before we’re alerted again. Our attention is diverted, drawn, sold, and bought on a global scale, and we’re overwhelmed not just by what’s out there in the external world but by our response to it all internally. 

So where does the church fit in this modern maze?

Does the church stand shrinking in the shadow of more important, dynamic institutions and initiatives? Is the church a threat to human flourishing like some sort of noxious weed too rooted to be fully pulled and thrown away? Or is the church, with all of its blemishes, shortfalls, and failures, the necessary and beautiful epicenter of God’s activity in the world?

Nearly 2,000 years ago, a regular man on an irregular mission wrote two letters describing the church as “the household of God”, “the church of the living God”, and “a pillar and buttress of the truth”. That man was the Apostle Paul, and his letters to Timothy stand today as two glorious explorations of the goodness and necessity of the church. Far from being a political institution, special building, or collective of morally-confused activists, the church is God’s family, those whom God has saved from sin and death and sent out to deliver the best news of all time. 

As we study 1 and 2 Timothy, our prayer is that God will awaken you to the beauty and necessity of His family, the church, and that the gospel will motivate you to help this family be as helpful, healthy, and holy as God desires, because the church is the irreplaceable focus of and vehicle for God’s redemption. The church is where God gathers His beloved children to love, nurture, instruct, discipline, and give refuge. The church is where the true gospel is held high, protected, and passed on. In the church, we find those whom the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit redeemed from sin and death: undeserving sinners who are made new and adopted as God’s kids.

So to a weary and disillusioned world, God gives the church, and it is Jesus - God in the flesh, who is the very foundation of that gift. To disregard the church, then, is to disregard the only hope any of us have.

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