"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25
We have all encountered people who "love" Jesus but just don't love His church. Perhaps they view the church to be a bunch of hypocrites, who exist to judge others and accept only their own kind or maybe they were hurt or had a terrible experience at church in the past. Regardless of the line of reasoning, the outcome of this logic turns into the notion of, "Jesus and I against all!" Jesus and I against evil. Jesus and I against the world. Jesus and I against His church that He died for? Perhaps the phrase "Jesus and I against His church" is too strong, but at the very least "Jesus and I in isolation from the church" is warranted. If we are to take God's Word seriously and submit to it, then we will quickly realize that it is for our good and His glory that we are told to live in community with His saints. Living in isolation from the church is a detriment to the church as well as a detriment to the person in isolation from the church for many reasons. Below are 3 that come to mind:
1) "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" -Proverbs 27:17
This verse speaks of the fact that people are sharpened, or polished, or improved, or enhanced, or honed by having relationship with each another. Although the church is not yet a perfect church we are, by design, the people that God uses to sharpen one another. If you are not in the company of brothers and sisters in Christ, then whose company are you in and how are you being sharpened? Simply put... godly people sharpen one another! Speaking of one another...
2) "One another's" of the New Testament
All throughout the New Testament we are encouraged to live in unity with one another. We see this in the example of Jesus' life in the Gospels, we see this in the existence of the early church in Acts, and we are prescribed this in the epistles of the New Testament. For example we are to love, be devoted to, honor, live in harmony with, instruct, greet, accept, serve, forgive, be kind and compassionate to, bear with, admonish, teach, encourage, confess to, pray for, offer hospitality to, and be humble toward... ONE ANOTHER! For us to live out the prescribed "one another's" of Scripture we must be in relationship with one another. Lastly...
3) Service to the body -1 Corinthians 12:12-26
This passage speaks of the unique gifts that God has given to His people for the use of service in His church. If someone is in isolation from the church then that person cannot contribute their gifts for the edification of the body, nor can they be served by the gifts of others in the body.
My encouragement is this, DO NOT be isolated from the church! Saints, we are the bride of Christ and although we are not spotless, we are seen as spotless! Jesus loves His church, so much so that He was willing to lay down His life for her. Brothers and sisters, we too are to love His church. We are to serve His church and be served by His church; We are to pray for His church and be prayed for by His church; We are to bless His church and be blessed by His church. As always, to Him be all the honor and the glory!