Why is Karis Church so committed to gospel community? Why do we make such an effort to teach and live out the truth that church isn't just an event or a building?
God has always dealt with a people. In the beginning, when God created, He deemed everything good. That is, until it wasn’t. The Lord said, in Genesis 2:18, that it was “not good that the man should be alone.” And He created Eve. It was never God’s intention that we take on life by ourselves.
Soon thereafter, human beings fell. They rebelled against God. Man and woman wanted to be gods themselves. They wanted to build their kingdoms. But this wasn’t just a sin against God. It was a sin against each other. Adam didn’t lead well. Eve didn’t follow well. And that’s led to all of this mess. Their kids soon followed in their footsteps. One son murdered the other, and sin continued to spread and worsen. Things got so bad that God decided to wipe out almost the entire human race and start over. But that didn’t fix a thing. The Lord could have washed His hands of the whole thing. But He didn’t.
He approached this man Abram in the desert. But again, God wasn’t about dealing with just one human. He promised to make a nation out of Him. Through Abraham, as he would be called, the Lord formed a people. Israel. Through that people, He was determined to bless the world. But like Adam and Eve, they failed. They rebelled. It looked like all hope was lost.
But then Jesus entered the world. Although men and women time and time again had tried to rise up and become gods, God himself decided to stoop down and become a man. He drew near to wicked people. He lived without sin. He began forming a new nation. He gathered around him a band of disciples.
God the Son was nailed to a cross. He died to destroyed sin and death. He rose again to display eternal life had come. He made a way for men and women to be reconciled to God. He made a way for men and women to be reconciled to one another.
He went about founding a people. Jesus used those disciples He had trained to do this. The Lord again didn’t just deal with individuals. He formed a people - no longer a people from just one nation, but a people made up of all nations. He created a people that wouldn’t exist in any other way but for the work of the gospel, a people whose love would shine and draw in all peoples. God began building His church. We were made for gospel community. That community images the God of the gospel. And we were also restored to community by the gospel. God has made us His people. He has made us a part of His church.
Although it is helpful to make a distinction between the universal (all Christians in all times and all places) and local (some Christians in some time and in some place), the vast majority of uses of the word “church” in the Bible refer to that local. The church isn’t a building. It's not just a Sunday show. It’s a people who have been changed by Jesus and come together in a city or neighborhood for worship and mission.