Although everyone is familiar with the word ‘’church’’, it is too often misinterpreted today. Hence, as Christians, it is important that we check out how God’s word defines ‘’the church’’ This helps us understand our true identity; are the Church. If we begin to understand who we are, then the Church can be able to function the way it was designed to function (fulfilling her purpose). The church’s true identity is to be found in Christ. The clear description of who the church his, is to be searched out in the only book given by the founder of the Church, which is, the Bible.
Here is how the Bible describes the church:
1. The Church is the House of God
“But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God which is the Church of the Living God…(1 Tim. 3:15)”
The church is not a building where we meet, it’s the people who we meet with. It’s not a place, a building, or a venue. We who meet there, is the Church. Yes, I mean we – you and I – are the Church. The Church is not a physical building, it is we who meet there. I like how Paul separates these two things.
“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:” (Rom. 16:1)
“Unto the Church which is at Corinth….” (1 Cor. 1:2)
“The Church that is at Babylon…” (1 Peter 5:13)
“And to [your wife] Apphia our sister, and to Archipus our fellow soldier [in ministry], and to the church that meets in your house:” (Philemon 1:2 AMP)
The bible is scattered with numerous instances of how Paul describes the Church as the location or city where they meet. Where we meet is just a location, we are the church. The Church is the gathering place for the Sons and Daughters of God. We are the House of God not just the building where we meet. We are God’s temple.
“You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5)”
2. The Church as a Body
“And He is the head of the Body, the Church :…( Col. 1:18)”
By “church” I don’t mean the various denominations we call ourselves. In God’s view, we are part of one church. The Bible describes us “as the body of Christ”. We are one. I love the analogy that the church is like a body with various parts. It really makes me understand that the church is one in purpose but with various assignments. For example, we can see one denomination as the “eye”, another as the “ear” and another as the “feet” etc. The whole body can’t be the “eye” then we wouldn’t have the ear. And the whole body can’t be the ear, then there won’t be the eye.
We must start to see the beauty God has deposited in the Church, our understanding of this will allow us to enjoy this benefit and stop the strife amidst ourselves. The various dimensions of grace that has been given to each denomination, is to be benefited by the whole body. But it’s a pity that most of us think we are the only ones proclaiming the truth while others are liars, which is definitely not true. Yes, we quite agree that we are all not equally grown-up, and some of us yet understand some things imperfectly, but no one throws away a baby or scolds a baby because he or she acts like a baby rather we show them love, nurture and care for them until they grow up.
“But He, well aware of their thoughts and purpose, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is doomed to destruction; and a house divided against itself falls” (Luke 11:17 AMP)
This crazy attachment of ourselves to a particular denomination must stop! The nation of Israel was divided into 12 tribes. Each tribe having different gifts and callings. Yet they all functioned together for all to benefit in the various gifts given to each calling. They were an Old-testament example to us.
In the Words of E.W. Kenyon, in the book “The Father and His Family”:
“We are God’s family representatives on the earth. We are not Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, or Roman Catholics, but we are God’s sons and daughters. We are God’s family. As a member of the family, we are to minister to each other and watch over each other in love”
Bill Johnson also said that “when a ministry is given to a man by God, it is because God has deposited a special gift in that one man and He wants to flow into the whole body”.
While I do encourage commitment to a particular group, this wall of partition we have set amidst ourselves must be pulled down. We are a Body and we are one.
3. The Church is God’s senate on earth.
When Christ was raised from the dead we were all raised with Him. In fact, we were not just raised, we were raised to be seated with him in heaven. We are his rule enforcers on the earth. We are part of his authority.
“And He raised us up together with Him (when we believed), and seated us with Him in the Heavenly places, (because we are) in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6)”
The book of Esther, gave us a little insight into the use of authority. King Ahasuerus words were not reversible even by himself. Anyone who possessed the King’s ring could make a decree with the same authority as though the king himself commanded. Haman had his ring, and could order the killing of all Jews throughout entire the province. Mordecai had this seal and could make a counter decree to save the Jews. All these are prototypes of Christ and his Church. We bear His seal. And by his spirit in us, we can decree and take charge and declare His reign wherever we find ourselves.
It is important for the church to come into the reality, that we are part of the Lordship of Jesus on Earth. His Lordship on earth is not complete without us. We are his “authority enforcers”. We are to stand against the operations of the works of the devil with the authority He has given us. We can’t afford to just learn about how to wield the power, through speaking in tongues, prayer and every other means but we must learn to put it to use.
He redeemed us for this very fact. That His will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12)
When you exercise His authority, it is as good as if He was the one doing it Himself. He gave us that right. So when we stand against the operations of darkness, our words are as good as if Jesus Himself spoke them.
In our schools, our streets, our work places, and wherever our domain is, we stand against and stop every manifestation of darkness there. That’s the power that was given to us. Speaking in tongues is not meant to be an interlude between prayers, or something to make us feel along with the other brethren, but it is meant to communicate with heaven and deliver the exercising of the Authority of Christ.
The Greek word for church is “ekklesia” (ek-klay-see’-ah). From the strong’s concordance it means out of many things “an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating”. This definition, tells us they are in charge. They are the senate. They decide what happens, not through physical violence but being in control spiritually and we know the spiritual realm controls the physical realm.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. (Is. 2:2)
The above prophecy, may not come to reality, until the church comes into her real position of GOVERNING. The church of Christ was meant to govern, to RULE. Not to be a beggarly church. The Book of Acts clearly gives us an account of the birth of the church and its early life. We will notice that the activities of the church was seriously accompanied with the manifestation of power, ruling and taking dominion of activities of darkness. I must say, the tussle is still ON, the baton is in our hands. We must rule, we are not cowards. We must take charge.
…To be Continued Next Week.
Finally, friends, I encourage us to cultivate the habit of studying the scriptures and meditating in it, because as we nurture ourselves individually, the body (the Church) is also growing corporately. Your growth affects the entire Church. It’s a disadvantage for us (the Church) if you choose to remain ignorant and spiritually immature. It is our duty to support ourselves as Christians and together achieve God’s purpose of establishing the Church. Important also is that we are saved to save others. Remember that you are being taught by the Holy Spirit and by other people so that when you grow-up, you can teach others.
I Call You Blessed
Written By Samson Afolabi
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