Not long ago I received an email that had a curious comment in it. Along with a prayer request was the reference by the sender to "her church." Now, before you think that I am going to go through that whole rigamarole of, "it's not our church it's Christ's church, He died for it," relax. I'm not. That whole reaction is something that I feel is totally unnecessary in most instances. Christ wants us to feel as if our churches are just that...our churches. But there is a problem when we claim a church. That is what needs to be viewed here today.

I have a wife. She is my wife. She is no one else's wife but mine. I asked her to be my wife and she consented. We married and we have lived together for the past thirty-seven years. Consider this, though. What if I had asked her to marry me and she said, "Yes," and we married but never lived with each other. What if we just went our merry ways and once in awhile one or the other of us sought the other out for some companionship? Technically, she would be my wife, but in reality would she be? If we were sharing nothing more in common than a name and a once in awhile relationship, would we truly be husband and wife?

Jesus died for the church. He asked the church to be His bride through His blood and the church said, "Yes." This is the part that many refuse to understand. The church is not only the bride of Christ, but also the body of Christ. This is what God intended for husbands and wives, that they become one flesh. That's not just a sexual thing but, moreso, a relational thing. The church is the body of Christ and assembles regularly for fellowship, for teaching, for remembrance and for prayer. If the body is there then the bride is there, for they are one and the same. So what happens when Christians skip church services?

We would look down on a husband and wife who did not live together except to put in an appearance on birthdays and major holidays. So how does Jesus feel when He hears a member of His body, the church, say, "I don't need to go to church to be a Christian"? How does He feel when a member of His body never fellowships, is never subject to teaching, never remembers the Lord's death through communion or never consents in prayer with the rest of the body? The person who called the church, "her church," claimed a church she never attends except for certain special occasions. Her influence and her wealth are not there.

That is why the writer of Hebrews, in the midst of a discourse on what it truly means to be a Christian (Hebrews 10:19-23) wrote, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24,25 The writer then follows this warning with another one concerning willful sin. Bottom line? You can claim whatever church you wish to. But if you have no investment in it of your time, talent or treasure, then is it truly yours?