There are lots of associations in the business worlds. There also associations in the academic world as well as church world. Associations are made up of individuals with a like purpose from different places or companies with structure to organize, improve and consult with others in the same field of work. A couple of examples are American Medical Association or Auto Care Association – there are thousands of associations in our country. I belong to the Georgia Association of REALTORS as well as the National Association of REALTORS and there are other associations inside those associations. The largest “association” that I belong too is the church.
The church is a group of people who believe in God and they are organized to study and grow in their knowledge of God which builds greater faith. Some churches teach and believe things that are not in the Word of God. There are churches who have their Bible or something similar. I have accepted the Bible as the Word of God and the words of God. Just being part of the church and associating with the church doesn’t define my faith. My faith is God is deeply personal but it is shown and displayed by my commitment to other believers.
The Apostle Paul “gets in the weeds” a bit with the church at Corinth about associating. I remember teaching my kids about choosing their friends wisely in school and that instruction still applies today. It applies to me as an adult. I still have to choose who I associate with wisely. I can become known by the people I hang out with. Paul makes it clear that the association of the church has a very specific purpose and it’s not just another club or association that you belong to. Check this out….
9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11 NLT)
In the associations or organizations that I belong to, there are rules or codes of conduct that are vital to the function of the organization. Paul is spelling out that that there are also code of conduct inside the church.
I believe that as we walk out our faith, our church can help us grow and mature quicker than simply trying to do our faith on our own. Jesus is the head of the church and He calls it His body of sorts. We all have are different, but members of the same body. I want to be a contributor to the growth of Christ’s church here on earth. I believe the church is in a unique position to help each other through suffering and struggles that come with being a human being living on earth. We celebrate the Creator and seek to walk in His Way and live out the purpose for which we were created in the first place. I’m thankful for the church and specifically the church that I’m part of.