Why does the Church exist? To clarify, I am speaking about both the Church of Christ, that is all who profess to believe and follow Jesus, and the local institutions where we gather together for worship, fellowship, and growth. There really should be no distinction between these two definitions, but at least in the West there seems to be an ever increasing divide between what is meant when we speak of the body of Christ (the Church) and the buildings where we meet (churches). It is revolting and heartbreaking to experience the watered down, feel-good message that is being preached in weekend services, while the true mission of the Church is left neglected.
The purpose of being a Christian is not so we might feel comfortable. A comfortable Christian is one who is not serving Jesus in any meaningful way. When you read the Scriptures, at what point in His ministry was Jesus comfortable? He had no home to call His own, no bed on which to lay His head (Matthew 8:20). He was constantly being challenged and argued with by the leaders of His day. In the end Jesus was put on a mock trial, beaten severely, sentenced to die, and finally nailed to a cross. That is what happens when you dare to live a life in obedience to God.
Surrendering your life to Jesus does not bring comfort to your earthly life. Devoting your entire life to loving and serving others is inconvenient, messy, and harder than you would have ever imagined. But we do it because Jesus did it for us. We serve Him because that’s the example He gave for us and that is what will further His Kingdom here on earth. When I hear sermons about how to live your life to the fullest and be as successful as you can be, it is nauseating. Is this what Jesus preached to His followers? Rather He told them that people would hate them because of the way they lived. He said following Him would cause division in their own household (Matthew 10:34-36). When was the last time you heard a message about that?
If you want to spend your life pursuing comfort, security, and all that goes into the American dream, then don’t follow Jesus. You’ll never find the American dream by following in the footsteps of the Creator of the Universe. He isn’t interested in the American dream. He doesn’t care how much money you make, He only cares how you manage what He has given to you. God’s first concern is not about your current circumstances, but rather on the eternal destiny of everyone with whom you come into contact. A church that teaches anything other than the message of Jesus is a place that will forever be a building and never the bride of Christ. We the Church, the believers and followers of Christ, have a duty to stand against the preaching of a comfortable Gospel. We have the truth, and while it can be hard, it is utterly free and satisfying. Don’t be lulled into a comfortable life. Choose instead to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. That is the purpose of His Church.