What is the church?
All bible quotes not otherwise marked are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
Depending on which Christian you ask to define the church the answers might be different. If you ask a Catholic, the church is the physical earthly organization headed by the Pope in Rome. A number of protestants might say the same thing. Let’s see what the bible says…
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Let’s start first by nailing down the definition of the body of Christ. There is one single body as Romans 12:5 illustrates above. We are each members of that body the moment we are saved. But how does the body relate to the church?
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
First, Christ is the head of the body. The body analogy was used to illustrate that we all have a place and an importance in the body but Christ is the leader. Second, the body is just another name for the church. Am I talking about the church on Central & Bath Ave where I go? No. There is only one church. We are all part of it. The church referenced here is the body and there is only one body.
1 Cor 12:12-13
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
As you can see the “body is one” as the bible clearly says. We all share in one Holy Spirit. That means that the born again in every denomination are all part of one single church. We are all to be guided by the Holy Spirit. We should have fellowship and love with all of our brothers and sisters.
1 John 11-15
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
We need to realize that we are not of this world. The lost are not for us. They oppose us as they are enemies of God.
4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God
The world is the enemy of God. God loves the world but the world is the enemy. Until someone is saved and their relationship changes forever, they are enemies of God and His wrath abides on them.
The church then is made up of people who are born again and thus baptized into the body of Christ. That means that not everyone at the church is a believer. Some of those people are lost and thus are enemies of God. They will work to tear down the good that you are trying to do.
But are all people who cause trouble lost? Absolutely not. Some are babes in Christ. They are immature in the things of God. They do not seek his will for their lives. They are ambling along bouncing from one point to another just like a toddler. Does a toddler always have a plan? No. Sometimes a toddler just waddles along till he finds trouble.
One job of believers then is to strengthen one another. We are to put on the armor but we are to help others put it on as well. That is called discipleship. If you are a believer who thinks very little about what God’s plan is for your life, you may be one of these toddlers. God has a plan.
The church is to be a nurturing place where babies can become adults. Where adults can be strengthened against the attacks of the enemy, Satan himself.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
The evil one and his allies, the lost, are on the move. They oppose God’s work. If you are serving faithfully then you are in the way. You are going to suffer persecution. Do not become upset about it.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Rejoice! If you are being persecuted, then you are making a difference and the opposition is attacking. Do not dismay. Be glad.
God’s plans are also in motion and guess what? We win. We win big. Jesus will triumph and every knee shall bow. Do not get discouraged.
There are a lot of Christians out there today who really resent our culture and the lost. They actively hate those people. Just so you know. Jesus loved those people. Those people are who Jesus came to save. We are now on a team that is dedicated to reaching those people and training them up as faithful servants who will further that cause.
So brothers and sisters, let’s focus on the job at hand. Let’s focus on reaching the lost. Let’s spend less time demonizing them. Yes they serve Satan. They always have. Our job is to give them the good news and let Jesus bring them into the family. The world is not going to suddenly become good overnight.
Do not be discouraged. Be of great hope. Jesus is still on His throne. The plan is still being executed by God and is assured of success. We the church are God’s team on this earth. Let’s get to working on God’s plan for our lives.
Thank you for reading. There will be more God willing. I love you all. I pray God blesses your mission.