Engage with the body of Christ
In Israel's northern city of Caesarea Philippi, among the ruins of a worship center dedicated to the Greek god Pan, a cave exists that was long believed by those who worshipped there to be the doorway into the netherworld. It was in the vicinity of this grotto, the alleged gateway to hell, that Jesus promised: "Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18).
From Pentecost in the first century to the present day, Satan has attempted to destroy Christ's church—yet it endures. From a small group of Jewish outsiders in Jerusalem, two thousand years ago, Christ built His church to reach even the remotest parts of the world. Despite controversies, wars, and denominational splits, the church continues to be the means through which God announces to a dark and dying world that light and life have come in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
For these reasons, and many more, we learn about and appreciate the body of Christ, the church.
Tragically, church members often cause the greatest damage. Pastors are splintered by angry letters. Families are smashed by harsh judgment. Teenagers wither under the heat of illicit gossip. And souls already splintered by addictions, mental illness, depression, divorce, or disabilities receive the hardest blows.
A cold war existed between the Jews and Samaritans when it came to the issue of worship. The woman at the well distinguished the dividing line in this worship war: “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain [Mount Gerizim], and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship” (John 4:20).