The Church

The church may be separated into denominations, but there are three things that unify the whole body of Christ.

Ephesians 1:18-23

 18 I pray that your hearts will be able to understand. I pray that you will know about the hope given by God’s call. I pray that you will see how great the things are that He has promised to those who belong to Him. 19 I pray that you will know how great His power is for those who have put their trust in Him. 20 It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. This same power put Christ at God’s right side in heaven. 21 This place was given to Christ. It is much greater than any king or leader can have. No one else can have this place of honor and power. No one in this world or in the world to come can have such honor and power. 22 God has put all things under Christ’s power and has made Him to be the head leader over all things of the church. 23 The church is the body of Christ. It is filled by Him Who fills all things everywhere with Himself.

The church is one body, made of all believers in heaven and on earth. There are many denominations and approaches to theology, but Christians are united by a common message, mission, and motive.

 

Message. There are three parts of the church’s primary belief. First, man is sinful and unable to alleviate the penalty of sin. Next, Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay our debt, was buried, rose again, and ascended to heaven. Third, everyone will someday stand before God and give an account for his or her life. At that time believers will take responsibility for what they did with the truth they knew, but unbelievers will answer for their rejection of Jesus Christ.

 

Mission. The church is also united by its goal to spread the gospel around the world and teach new believers how to grow in faith (Go and make followers of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Matt. 28:19). We do this by telling others about the experiences we’ve had with God and His Word.

 

Motive. The church’s motive is to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and to glorify God the Father. This should be the driving force behind everything a body of believers sets out to do.

 

Church is not a place where we go to hide from the world—our mission is to spread the gospel to glorify God. There will be varying levels of opposition and persecution, but we stand together as one body and persevere.

5 Things to Do when the Church Service Seems to Lack “Fire”

By Chuck Lawless

Some church services are cold – and I don’t mean the room temperature. Instead, there simply is little sense of Christian warmth, little indication of Holy Spirit-given “fire” when the congregation gathers. If that’s sometimes the case in your church, maybe one of these suggestions will be encouraging to you:

  1. Pray you’re reading the situation properly – but, more importantly, be sure to pray for God’s love and power to be evident in the congregation. My goal is that we would not get discouraged by the situation, but that we would instead pray God’s blessing on the group. In general, it’s a good rule to pray first for the Lord’s wisdom and insight before we reach conclusions.
  2. Remember that all kinds of things can contribute to an apparent lack of “fire.” It could be that the church is dealing with internal conflict. It could also be they’re dealing with corporate grief over some tragedy in the church family or the announcement of a departing staff member. Maybe the church has spent little time praying together. Or, it could even be that a bunch of folks are just tired . . . . My point is that we may not know the cause of the coldness, so we should not immediately make a judgment about the church.
  3. Pray specifically for those who lead the worship service. They may or may not recognize the coldness. But, my experience has been that the leaders are often aware when something is amiss. In fact, sometimes our own situations and struggles contribute to the problem. Pray your church leaders would not be distracted or discouraged as they lead the congregation to encounter God.
  4. Give yourself fully to the worship experience. Regardless of your assessment of the situation, don’t be part of the problem. Come to the service with your heart in tune with God. Pray before you join other believers, and ask the Lord to give you godly expectation for the service. Bring the “fire” with you.
  5. Watch for “glimpses” of God’s work among the congregation. I’ve previously written about the value of daily seeing the glimpses of God’s glory in our lives, but it’s especially important to watch for them in worship. Sometimes a fire starts with just an ember – with a spark of the hand of God moving in a life. You may not immediately see that spark, but you’ll approach the service differently if you believe God is still doing that kind of work. And, He is . . . .

Readers, let’s agree together to pray for the “fire” of God to be evident in the services of all our churches this weekend!

Comment at: https://chucklawless.com/2021/12/5-things-to-do-when-the-church-service-seems-to-lack-fire/

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What Is the Church?

Jonathan Leeman

People can have different things in mind when they talk about the word church. Jonathan Leeman helpfully explains how Scripture uses the word.

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What Is the Church?

Colossians 1:15-20 15 Christ is as God is. God cannot be seen. Christ lived before anything was made. 16 Christ made everything in the heavens and on the earth. He made everything that is seen and things that are not seen. He made all the powers of heaven. Everything was made by Him and for Him. 17 Christ was before all things. All things are held together by Him. 18 Christ is the head of the church which is His body. He is the beginning of all things. He is the first to be raised from the dead. He is to have first place in everything. 19 God the Father was pleased to have everything made perfect by Christ, His Son. 20 Everything in heaven and on earth can come to God because of Christ’s death on the cross. Christ’s blood has made peace.

Most people think of the church as a building, but that’s not the biblical definition. It isn’t merely a meeting place for social interaction, scriptural instruction, and service projects. Rather, the church is composed of all those who have been redeemed by Christ. He is the head of church, and believers are called His body.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” He was referring to the entire body of Christ, which is composed of all believers worldwide from every generation. The church began on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and filled Jesus’ followers, and it will continue until the rapture of the church, when believers in Christ will be caught up to meet Him in the sky (16 For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud call. The head angel will speak with a loud voice. God’s horn will give its sounds. First, those who belong to Christ will come out of their graves to meet the Lord. 17 Then, those of us who are still living here on earth will be gathered together with them in the clouds. We will meet the Lord in the sky and be with Him forever. 1 Thess. 4:16-17).

Until then, our job as Christ’s body is to follow our Head. We’re not the ones in charge; He is. The Lord builds His church, but He uses us to make disciples, baptizing and teaching them to obey all His commands (19 Go and make followers of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to do all the things I have told you. And I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Matt. 28:19-20). We don’t come up with our own plans; we simply follow His.

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Jesus Christ Has a Body – and It’s the Church

Here’s another excerpt from my book, Love Me, Love My Wife: Ten Reasons Every Christian Must Join a Local Church. (It’s available on Amazon, here: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Me-My-Wife-Christians/dp/1725266296/ref=sr_1_2?

[I have not red it yet.[

He says: Jesus Christ has a Body, of which each individual Christian is to be a member. If you are living as a Christian without being part of the local church, you are like a body part trying to live without being part of the body. In bodies, this leads quickly to death. In the lives of Christians, it leads to spiritual death, but much more slowly.

Maybe a simple diagram will help.

Many Christians believe that the relationship between Jesus, the Church, and the individual believer looks like this:

Christ-Christian-Church

In this view, Jesus has a personal and individual relationship with each Christian believer, apart from the Church. The Church is at the end of this relationship and is seen as optional. Since each believer has his own relationship directly with Jesus, he doesn’t need the Church. Now he may want it as a devotional aid, something to help him in his personal walk with God, but he doesn’t need it.

But the way God portrays the relationship is actually like this:

Christ-Church-Christian

Jesus has established a close, personal union with His Bride and His Body, the Church. Individual Christians are members of Christ only when they are also members of the Church. Remember: members can only live in relation to the whole body.

When Paul calls the Church the Body of Jesus Christ, he really means it. The Church is His physical, bodily presence on earth.

Coment at: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/giveusthisday/jesus-christ-has-a-body-and-its-the-church/

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http://chucklawless.com/2020/12/10-ways-to-drive-people-away-from-your-church/