A close-knit society with shared ideals and goals frequently finds it relatively easy to foster love, tolerance, and inner cohesion. Whether we think of the local rock-climbing club, the regional football team, or a socially cohesive local church, a certain amount of fraternal depth is common enough…. Some measure of transparent love is not all that unusual in such groups.
Ideally the church is different. It is made up of people who are as varied as can be: rich and poor, learned and unlearned, practical and impractical, sophisticated and unsophisticated, aristocratic and plebeian, disciplined and flighty, intense and carefree, extrovert and introvert – and everything in between. The only thing that holds such people together is their shared allegiance to Jesus Christ, their devotion to him, stemming from his indescribable love for them (A Call to Spiritual Reformation, p. 42).
Did you catch that? The only thing that holds the church together is Jesus Christ. If anything else is holding a group of people together, then they are not living in community in Christ. Instead, they are gathering around something else: shared ideals, shared leadership, shared doctrine, shared socio-economic factors, shared concerns, etc.
So… what’s holding you together with the church?