Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We've Lost The "The"

I have spent a lot of time thinking about how "church" has changed. When I read about the church in the New Testament it is always described in a "personal" way. It's apparent that God, through the writers, views US as the church and not a location. Over and over again, it's referred to as "THE church". Take a look for yourself.

Today, for most, the church is now a location or a name. We say things like:

"I go TO ____ church."

"We missed you AT church."

"Invite your friends TO church."

"Where do you ATTEND church?"

"I can't wait to get TO church!"

But, throughout the New Testament we read things such as:

Acts 2:41 - Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

Acts 5:11 - Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.

Acts 11:22 - When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch.

Romans 14:19 - So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

Romans 16:5 - Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home.

1 Corinthians 1:10 - I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

1 Corinthians 5:4 - the name of the Lord Jesus. You must call a meeting of the church. I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus.

I could give you at least 148 examples of this from the New Testament.

I believe this is a critical point because when "church" is a location there is no real power in it. But when we recognize that WE are the Church - all the time - wherever we gather. We begin to recognize that we are the Body of Christ everywhere, all the time.



Keith Giles said...

Yeah, when we study the New Testament for a picture of what the Church looks like we're likely to be surprised, perhaps even disappointed, that what we call "Church" today doesn't even come close.

Thanks for this one, Dave.


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