The community of God's people in any given location is a lot more than a religious organization which meets a couple of times a week! It is rather a living, breathing, organic body of believers which express Christ by the love which they have for one another. Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples by our love for one another. He did NOT say that they would know us by our preaching, buildings, nicely organized services, degrees or programs!
The problem is twofold:
We do not know our Lord very well! Oh sure, we know how to pray, study our bibles, tithe and go to church. But we have no idea whatsoever how to experience the living Christ within our spirits! What I am saying is that we do not know how to have a deep, abiding fellowship with the Christ Who lives within us. We depend upon outward things such as bible study and prayer to get us there. It will never work! The problem is that we don't really understand what it means to live a Christ-centered life. There is always some "thing" which we are pursuing instead of Him. Christians have many programs and agendas which are about the bible and about the Lord, but there is one problem with all of it; IT IS NOT CHRIST! It seems that most believers are into everything except Christ!
Some are into the End Times. Some are into Bible Study. Some are into Spiritual Warfare. Some are into Spiritual Gifts. Some are into Worship. Some are into Evangelizing the World. Some are into Social and Political Reform. And so on ... and so on ... and so on ... Where are the people who really want the Lord Himself to be the Center and will pay any price to get to know Him well? We simply do not have a deep revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We do not have a revelation of the Church! We have 1700 years of traditions and man-made religious systems piled up on top of us! When we say the word "church" we don't think of a people who are being formed into a beautiful girl who is being prepared to be wed to the Son of God! We think of a building, or a ritual on Sunday morning, or a Pastor preaching in a pulpit to a bunch of spiritual mutes sitting in the pews! What a low idea we have of the eternal purpose of God! She is to be the Bride of Christ! He chose Her before the foundation of the world! She is to be His lover throughout all eternity!
Dear brothers and sister, those people sitting next to you are not just some fellow members of the organization to which you belong. They are not just some folks who just happen to attend the same services which you do. THEY ARE YOUR ETERNAL BROTHERS AND SISTERS! They draw life from the same Body which you do! They are flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone! When are you going to start laying down your life?