Blog: June 21, 2011
WHAT IS CHURCH? Part 1
You would think that we would totally understand what “church” is by now. I mean, it’s been 2,000 years since Jesus gave His life on the cross to pay for our sin and be resurrected from the dead giving us victory over death. So what’s the problem in figuring out what “church” is supposed to be?
First of all, the reason why we are continuing to struggle with this question is that the “church” became something it was never intended to be for so long that the very basics of being the “church” were overshadowed by the mechanism or function of the “church.” More emphasis was put on creating positions in the church, raising money for the church and empowering the “church” (not spiritual power but worldly power) that the essence or the heart of the church was lost. The very nature of the “church” was distorted by man for so long that its culture became the “norm” from generation to generation.
Second, because the “church” became so engrained in its cultural mindset it has become more difficult to change the culture back to the churches original intent. There is a saying in the nautical community that goes like this, “The bigger the ship the bigger area you need to turn it around.” Turning a carrier around takes a much larger space than turning a destroyer around both in distance and time. Because the church seems to have gotten off course for such a long time it will also take a long time to get it back to where it needs to be.
Third, because the “church” has become so comfortable in its cultural context it has lost its impact and influence in the community. This is obvious by simply looking at how society is moving further and further away from Biblical truth, values and morals. I’m not sure if that will ever be reclaimed by the church but, in reality, that was never its intent.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 “… I will build My church.” I seems to me that we need to turn the “building” of the church back over to Jesus and get out of His way. That means a return to the Biblical expression of “church” as Jesus defined it. The church is the body of Christ, His people, a Royal Priesthood, the saints of all time where there is “… neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ.” Galatians 3:28
Before I close this blog let me emphasize that the church has always been visible throughout its history. Though it has been clouded by greed, power, pride and self-sufficiency at times it has been victorious because it is sustained by the purpose and will of God through Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who have confessed their sin and committed themselves to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Generations past have “fought the good fight” so that we can enjoy the blessings of Christ today. Our mandate is to continue the battle for truth, live the life of Christ and share the good news of His death, burial and resurrection with everyone we can.
Something to ponder: “What is “church?” “What does it look like?” “What does it do?”
Serving Christ together for His honor and glory alone!