Jesus loves the church- but what is it for?

The first time I know God spoke to me, I wasn't in a Christian context. I was about seven or eight and my mum took me to see a film at the cinema: 101 Dalmatians, the old version of the Disney cartoon released in the 1960s. Two years later, a school friend took me along to a Christian youth club. And it was a couple of years after that that I made a clear decision to follow Jesus.

But a year or two after making a commitment I looked back and I realised God had really spoken to me, through that cartoon. You probably know the story, some Dalmatian pups are stolen by Cruella Deville (a bit of a clue in that name). What were their parents going to do? How were they going to find them? They used the twilight barking: dogs at twilight communicating and sending the message.

Dogs up and down the country receive the message, pass it on, look for information, get some answers, then a great army of dogs arises and comes to the rescue. That's what Jesus is doing with his church. …together?

There are so many people who who do not know his life and true character of love. There are so many people whose hearts are hardened against the gospel because of their experience of church. But God's purpose is ever so simple. Our mission is to make disciples in every people group. And then Jesus says, "The end will come.” That's His purpose.
What really gripped my heart then at that tender age, and still grips my heart now, is how He is doing it, not through institutions and organisations, [although they might have their place if they encourage the presence of God]. He works through people hearing the call, responding to it, and coming together. I think it was the coming together of the army of dogs for that rescue mission that broke my heart. That stirred me again as an older teenager.

There is no other way to do this except by being filled with the Spirit, by hearing the voice of God and responding in unity. Jesus loves the church.

The church is drawing people together because this world needs rescue. Colossians 1.20 says that at the cross Jesus has done everything necessary to reconcile all things and all people back to God. That's our purpose. That's what we're here for.

- Chris Horton

Chris’ book ‘Belong’ - published in May 2024 - explores these themes and more.  
Available from All Nations or Amazon (ISBN 1739098668 or 978-1739098667)
Web link: Belong: Living in God's Family: Horton, Chris: 9781739098667: Books  
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