What is the Church?
The Church is not a Where but a Who.
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 (ESV)
“Wherever you go, there you are.” I tried to google it to no avail in finding out who we can credit this profound Hello Captain Obvious statement of reality. I’ll take GOD for 1000 Alex.
When I am asked, and they always do, “where do I go to church?”, I direct them to a building with a name on it – The Dwelling Place Community Church. I have a delima though. I believe in our effort to direct people to church something gets lost in translation. When people find our buildings do they really find the church and do they have to find our buildings to find the church and when we find the church, what then?
“You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a royal priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1Peter 2:5 (ESV)
The Church is being built by God, not by itself (us). Not with human hands. It is being built with precious material (you). Like living stones, we are being built by Him together into a spiritual house, the church. This is not just a spiritual reality but also a literal reality. This means you can see the church, but where? That where depends on the who.
So who is the Church?
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1Peter 2:9 (ESV)
A little word study.
Wherever you find the word “church”, it is the Greek word “ekklesia”, which means “called out ones”.
It’s a compound word made of “ek” meaning “out” which denotes origin and motion; and the other “kaleho” meaning called (by word), to hail. It is interesting that Peter describes this in the above verse. We are the church, called out from where we once were without Him in darkness and now with Him in His marvelous light. We are the Church in Him, members of His body.
Therefore, wherever there are those called out, there the church of Jesus is.
Now, the reason I bring this up. It should raise a lot of questions about our life. We can no longer deify our buildings and treat them sacred when it is not the church. That’s Religion. We have to begin to see all life as spiritual and not just what happens on Sunday in our institutions. This means that when I gather with anyone, church is happening. Think about that one for a while. It might change what you are doing. This should also change our perspective on worship, fellowship and discipleship. Many sing songs on Sunday and call it worship, they attend and call it fellowship and listen to a sermon and call it discipleship. But is it? And is this church? Oh, and maybe we will take better care of one another better than we take care of our buildings. oops.
Before you give into the possible growing anxiety of you entrenched ecclesiology, stop and breathe.
There are 77 times in 76 verses of the New Testament that the word church is used in the KJV and 74 in 73 in the ESV. I’d say take a fresh look at the church and see if it messes with our present theology and more so how we do what we do when we do it. If that’s a bit much, just read through Acts. There are 18 verses that give a goo overall picture of the church.
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