The church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the church is God’s new community. For his purpose, conceived in a past eternity, being worked out in history, and to be perfected in a future eternity, is not just to save isolated individuals and so perpetuate our lonliness, but rather to build his church, that is to call out of the world a people for his own glory. — John Stott
Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this.
What does it mean?
First, the Christian is the man who no longer seeks his salvation, his deliverance, his justification in himself, but in Jesus Christ alone…..the death and the life of the Christian is not determined by his own resources; rather he finds both only the Word that comes to him from the outside, in God’s Word to him. The Christian lives wholly by the truth of God’s Word in Jesus Christ. If someone asks him, Where is your salvation, you righteousness? he can never point to himself. He points to the Word of God in Jesus Christ, which assures him salvation and righteousness. He is as alert as possible to this Word. Because he daily hungers and thirst for righteousness, he daily desires the redeeming Word. And it can only come from the outside. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Is a head still a head if it doesn’t have a body? Is a friend really your friend if you can’t stand his wife? … is a friend one who comes around your house, hangs out, and expects to have a good time, all the while getting digs in on your bride? Who wants a friend who rolls his eyes and sighs every time your wife walks into the room? Apparently, some people imagine Jesus wants friends like that as they roll their eyes and sigh over the church. — Kevin DeYoung and Ted Cluck
But God has put this Word into the mouth of men in order that it may be communicated to other men. When one person is struck by the Word, he speaks it to others. God has willed that we should seek him and find his living Word in the witness of a brother, in the mouth of man. Therefore, a Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs a brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure. — Bonhoeffer
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. — John 13:35
Our jobs are often mundane. Our devotional times often seem like a waste. Church services are often forgettable. That’s life. We drive to the same places, go through the same routines with our coworkers, buy the same groceries at the store, and mow the same yard every spring and summer. Church is often the same too–same doctrines, same basic order of worship, same preacher, same people. But in all the smallness and sameness, God works–like the smallest seed in the garden growing to unbelievable heights… Life is usually pretty ordinary, just like following Jesus most days. Daily discipleship is not a new revolution each morning or an agent of global transformation every evening; it’s a long obedience in the same direction. — DeYoung and Cluck