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A Picture of the Church

April 24, 2008

at the church where i have the privilege to serve, in our (almost) weekly staff meeting, we are reading and discussing andrew murray’s abide in me. overall, i have a mixed opinion about the book. one thing that has been pointed out several times is that murray, along with most writers of that era, make little to no allowance for the church. they seem to almost totally disregard it. they treat the process of sanctification as being solely a matter that is worked out between the individual believer and god. i do not believe this is the case. i believe the christian life is lived out in the company of other believers. most of the new testament, the epistles, were written to churches or to church leaders about leading their churches. these were groups of believers.

i was preparing to lead communion a number of months ago, and did a brief study on the topic of the lord’s supper. i have decided that the act of taking communion, as described in the new testament, is a profoundly beautiful and accurate picture of the church. when we take communion, the bread and wine (or juice) represent the broken body and shed blood of jesus christ. he died for us so that we might have a right relationship (communion) with god. we are to each examine our own lives and repent of our own sins, so we do not partake in an unworthy manner. but as i studied, i realized that i could not find a single instance of the act of communion being done on an individual basis. it is always in the context of the community of believers. this is the thing that makes us a community; the members of the group have individually trusted in christ and his work on the cross. this is what we have in common. the next time you take the bread and wine (or juice), think about and rejoice in the relationship with god and with your brothers and sisters that is made possible by the body and blood you celebrate.

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