You hear people make the statements; “I want Jesus but not the church,” “Jesus is my personal savior but I’m not into organized religion,” and “I find my spirituality in nature, not in a pew with other people.” It’s an emphasis that while Jesus is desirable, his church is not.
Can you have one without the other?
Consider what is said in Acts 9:3-4. Here Saul is confronted about his actions. The Voice from heaven asks why are you persecuting Me? Saul is confused. The Voice from heaven must be the Lord but when has he persecuted the Lord? He was doing what he was doing for the Lord (Acts 26:9, Philippians 3:6)! So he ask, “Who are You, Lord?” The response was, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.”
So Paul had been persecuting Jesus, but when had he been persecuting him? Jesus was in heaven, having ascended there before Saul is ever in the picture.
How had he done it?
To find the answer all we have to do is go back to the first of Acts 9:1-2. Saul had been attacking the disciples, the Way, the church. You see in attacking Jesus’ people you are attacking him. Go after a man’s bride and you are launching an attack on him (Ephesians 5:23). If you are dismissing the church of Christ, you are dismissing Jesus.
Before we are quick to attack the church we need to remember that in doing so we may just find ourselves picking a fight with the Lord. Jesus came to establish His church (Matthew 6:18), He bought it with His blood (Acts 20:28), it is His body (Colossians 1:18). Should we be so quick to dismiss what so clearly is important to Him?