The Fall into sin wrecked the peace we had with God. True worship was disrupted (and we should remember that worship is the context of life).The Church, however, is the place where we are restored and then sent out to live.
Every person, every family, has its trials and pains. We sometimes think our own difficulties are unparalleled but this kind of thinking would only indicate how little we get out and how shallow our knowledge of others really is. God calls us to live, and He calls us to live in the context of the community of His people. To the degree we forsake that assembly with our bodies or our hearts, our suffering will increase.
It’s in the covenant community where we are honed and polished. We learn to serve, and to be longsuffering. We learn to forgive and love. We learn how to deny ourselves and how to be blessed by others. In Acts 2, every day believers met together in the Temple courts, broke bread in one another’s homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Hebrews 3:13 suggests that many years later, Christians were still meeting daily.
God has placed His Church at the center and summit of the world. The Church is comprised of the people of God called out of the world into union with the crucified and risen Lord―as God’s people―His new humanity. The church is an outpost of heaven on earth: we are marked out by baptism in the Triune name, we gather around His Table to feast, and we declare our common faith in Jesus Christ, who is now seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Lord Jesus Christ rules over all things for the sake of the Church (Eph. 1:22-23), which in turn exists for the sake of the world.