Do you remember this from Sunday School? I thought I’d start with how our thinking had been shaped from a very young age. So, what is the Church?
I just started a teaching series called ReThink Church. As I was working on the second segment of this series I realized I had made a statement in a previous post that I said I would follow up one. The post entitled “Honor“, was about my Granny Hobbs’ 90th Birthday Party. I had concluded with saying I had experienced the presence of God and and a greater sense of church than I had on many Sunday’s even in my own church. There were a few of you who commented and were interested in me sharing about that. So here it goes.
Let me begin by making four observations about what the church is:
Firstly, the church is organic. Romans 12:4-5 tells us the church is Christ’s body. Though this is just one illustration, a careful search of scripture reveals that all the descriptions of the church are living ones. To list a few, the church is a body, a bride, a family, one new man, a living temple made of living stones, a vineyard, citizens,and a flock. Therefore, the church is to be relational not institutional.
Secondly, the church is God’s church. The Greek word for church is Ekklesia, meaning an assembly of people called out. For the every day person of Jesus’ time, the ekklesia was any group of people who came to gather together. For the Romans it was the body of people called out into public service. However, Jesus reveal a new meaning in Matthew 16:18. He says, “upon this rock I will build My church.” The emphasis is on “My” not “church”. He indicates that the church is unique, not because it is called the church, but because it is the assembly of believers who belong to Jesus.
Thirdly, the church is the dwelling place of God’s presence. Ephesians 2:22-23 tells us that in Jesus we are God’s dwelling place by His Spirit. Additionally, in Exodus 33:15-16 Moses tells God that if God did not go with Israel into the promised land then he didn’t want to go, because it was only His presence that distinguished them from the rest of the world. The church is where God’s presence is.
Lastly, the church is the image and reflection of Jesus. Ephesians 1:22-23 reveals the church is the fullness of Christ, in whom God was pleased to make dwell the fullness of the Godhead bodily. The church is to be the full reflection of God’s image in the earth.
Taking all these things into account, when we gather with other believers on any occasion, not just Sunday, there is an opportunity for amazing things to happen. Because the church is God’s people, possesses His presence, reflects who He is and has life; then anytime we get together we should experience the life giving presence of God. This is the fellowship of the Saints. This is not a building, a program, an institution or a service. It’s His people sharing His life.
Quit just going to church and be the church.