What is the “main thing” for church?

What is the “main thing” for church?

Is it the main worship service?
Is it the main teaching time?
Is it the main fellowship time?

Surely the main thing is not the size of our building.
Surely the main thing is not the quantity of our programs.
Surely the main thing is not the history we treasure.
Surely the main thing is not the doctrine we revere.
Surely the main thing is not our attendance.

What is the main thing?
What we consider the main thing will dictate what kind of church we are and the kind of people we produce.

Our main thing should not be what we do on Sunday, but what people do the rest of the week.  Or rather, what we do on Sunday or Wednesday is to inspire and inform so that the rest of the week there can be application.

Where is this application done? In all relational contexts. Relationships with others in the church, others in our homes, others in our neighborhood, workplaces, schools, wherever we encounter people.

Knowing the main thing should cause us to ask: How is attending church helping individuals love each other in the church in spite of differences?  How is it helping them love their families in spite of knowing all the flaws?  How is it helping them love their neighbors in spite of, well, the way their neighbors act?  How is it helping them love their boss and coworker even in the job they don’t like? How is attending church helping individuals live with eternal perspective and yield eternal fruit?

Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (ESV)

Romans 12:9-14 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (ESV)

James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (ESV)

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. (ESV)

1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (ESV)

So, what do we need to do, so that the main thing is always the main thing?

Make the main thing clear–Preach it, Teach it, Affirm it, Celebrate it.
Make the main thing the priority–Teach for it, Program for it, Encourage it, Empower for it.

Help individuals develop an intentional growth plan with a goal–to live with influence for the glory of God.

The main thing is having engaged with God and His people to extend to others for the glory of God.
The main thing is engaging with God and His people so that we can and do extend to others for the glory of God.

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