Church greatness consists in being greatly serviceable.
The church the gathering of God’s children, where they can be helped and fed like babies and then, guided by her motherly care, grow up to manhood in maturity of faith.
The excellence of the church does not consist in multitude but in purity.
Then the church shall be brought to the full enjoyment of her bridegroom, having all tears wiped away from her eyes, and there shall be no more distance or absence. She shall then be brought to the entertainments of an eternal wedding feast, and to dwell forever with her bridegroom, yea, to dwell eternally in His embraces. Then Christ will give her His loves, and she shall drink her fill, yea, she shall swim in the ocean of His love.
O be not too quick to bury the Church before she is dead.
A Puritan Golden Treasury, compiled by I.D.E. Thomas, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 2000, p. 58.
Never futile is the work of the church, for it is a product not of the mind of man but of the sovereign grace of God.
Quoted by Curtis C. Thomas, Practical Wisdom for Pastors, Crossway Books, 2001, p. 98.
We’re strangers and aliens. Christians must look forward to their homeland… But hold on. There is a place on earth where citizens of heaven can, at this moment, find official recognition and asylum: the local church. Churches represent Christ’s rule now. They affirm and protect his citizens now. They proclaim his laws now. They bow before him as King now and call all peoples to do the same.
We’ve Been Approaching it All Wrong by Jonathan Leeman taken from Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman, copyright (2012), Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, p. 28.
The local church was the womb that warmed our soul until it was ready for birth. The church fed us on the milk of the Word, providing us with many loving fathers and mothers. It stood with us when we presented our children to God, and it now mothers them. The local church has contributed much to our children’s spiritual nurturing (Kent and Barbara Hughes).
Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 68. Get this book!
Nothing can altogether overthrow and destroy [the church]. Its members may be persecuted, oppressed, imprisoned, beaten, beheaded, burned; but the true church is never altogether extinguished; it rises again from its afflictions; it lives on through fire and water. When crushed in one land it springs up in another. The Pharaohs, the Herods, the Neros, have labored in vain to put down this church; they slay their thousands, and then pass away and go to their own place. The true Church outlives them all, and sees them buried each in his turn. It is an anvil that has broken many a hammer in this world, and will break many a hammer still; it is a bush which is often burning, and yet is not consumed.
Throughout the course of history God has worked in a variety of ways through individuals, nations, and peoples. The focus of His present work is the church. That which was begun in the Scriptures, as men and women were called to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ, continues today in fulfillment of Christ’s promises to build His church. Not only is Christ building His church, but also it is the primary instrument through which He ministers in the world. As the Father sent Christ, so the church bears the ambassadorial role for its Lord as sent ones with a message of reconciliation.
The church is not perfect, but woe to the man who finds pleasure in pointing out her imperfections! Christ loved his church, and let us do the same. I have no doubt that the Lord can see more fault in his church than I can; and I have equal confidence that he sees no fault at all. Because he covers her faults with his own love-that love which covers a multitude of sins; and he removes all her defilement with that precious blood which washes away all the transgressions of his people.
Every local church that preaches the true gospel is a part of the most dynamic movement the world will ever know. By the power of God working in the hearts of men, the lowly are great, the weak are mighty, and the mustard seed of faith topples a mountain (Matt. 17:20). The local church is not he B-team – it is ground zero for God’s kingdom work. Join it, serve it, love it, and experience the satisfaction that comes with involvement in the gospel cause that transcends all others.
Sanctification by Owen Strachan taken from Don’t Call it a Comeback, edited by Kevin DeYoung, copyright 2011, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, p. 114.
The highest expression of the will of God in this age is the church which He purchased with His own blood. To be scripturally valid any religious activity must be part of the church. Let it be clearly stated that there can be no service acceptable to God in this age that does not center in and spring out of the church. Bible schools, tract societies, Christian business men’s committees, seminaries and the many independent groups working at one or another phase of religion need to check themselves reverently and courageously, for they have no true spiritual significance outside of or apart from the church.
The church has existed from the beginning of the world and will last until the end. That appears from the fact that Christ is the eternal King, from which it follows that He cannot be without subjects. And this holy church is preserved by God against the rage of the whole world. It shall never be destroyed even though for a while it may appear very small and may even seem to be snuffed out.
The true greatness of any church in not how many it seats but how many it sends!