Meanderings of a Minister

What Is the Church?
October 1, 2010, 1:02 am
Filed under: Articles

Is it a building?

I am not sure if you have ever thought about the answer to this question, but I certainly have.  You might be tempted to think it is because I am a pastor that I would be interested in such questions, but it runs much deeper than that.  The reason that I desire to know what the church is supposed to be is because I want to make sure, as a believer that I am doing my part of helping to make it what it is supposed to be.

There are many metaphors for what a church is supposed to be.  Consider the following list:

  • John 15:5 says the church is made up of branches and that He is the vine through which the branches bear fruit.
  • Romans 11:17-24 says the church is an olive tree into which Gentile-born believers have been grafted and many Jews have been removed.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 says the church is a field of crops and a building.  It is a field of crops in that we produce fruit and a building in that we provide shelter for people to come under.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-17 says we are the body of Christ.  As the Body of Christ, each of us is a part of making sure the Body works properly and is held together.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:18 says we are the Family of God.  It says we are the brothers and sisters of Christ with God as our Father and indicates we have a responsibility to carry on the Father’s business of reaching out to a lost and dying world to share the Good News and bring glory to God.
  • 2 Corinthians 11:1-2 says we are the Bride of Christ.  As such, we are to love Him and keep ourselves clean and unstained by the world.  We are to have Him alone as our husband and not chase after the things of this world as lovers.
  • Ephesians 4:14-16 says we are the Body of Christ and each of us, as parts of the Body, are given to the Body to support its mission and to help provide movement and health.  We are all needed and there are none which have no function.
  • Ephesians 5:25-33 says we are the Bride of Christ and we are to love Him the way a wife loves her husband.  We are to be devoted, respectful and willing to serve and meet His needs above our own.  It also says we are the Body of Christ in that we have a responsibility to one another due to our connectedness.
  • 1 Timothy 3:15 says we are the Pillar of Truth in that we hold up the Truth of God’s Word for all people to see.  We are to live it, teach it, preach it, share it and confirm it.  It also calls us the household of God.  This is another way of saying we make up His family.
  • 1 Timothy 5:1-2 uses language of brothers and sisters and tells us to treat each other with the respect those in the family should enjoy.
  • Hebrews 3:6 says we are God’s House meaning that God is present within us.  Not within our church building, but within the gathering of the Called Out Ones (Hebrews 10:24-25).
  • 1 Peter 2:5 says we are a Holy Priesthood in that we are to present the people to God and present God to people that do not yet know Him.  It also says we are God’s House in that we have a responsibility to provide for others a place to gather in His Name and presence.

When you consider what the Church is supposed to be, it helps us to understand what our local church is supposed to be and what part we are supposed to play.  It also means that the little bit I can contribute to my church is not insignificant, but is God-placed and God-honored.  That means that I should see my service as unto God and not just that I go to a church for what I get out of it.  It also means that He determines where I go because He has a reason for me to be there, so I don’t just go when I feel like it, but I am needed even when it is not convenient or is not my preference.  In other words, being a part of a church is a covenant responsibility and not just another activity for the weekend.

With that understanding of Church, what a privilege to meet together, serve together, agonize together and reach out together with others God has put in our church!  Thank you, God!


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