where is your church?
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
“Where Is Your Church?”
One of the most misunderstood ladies in the world is the Bride of Christ. Yes, I’m talking about the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. One reason the Church is so misunderstood by outsiders is because many of the so-called “insiders” don’t understand either. Many Church attendees treat it as if it were a place to go and spend an hour or so as a spectator hoping that something will be said that will get them through the week or just wanting to feel like they did something religious or good that will make God happy with them. The Church is much more.
I’ve had people ask me, “Where is your church?”
I will ask, “do you mean, the church I serve as pastor?”
“Yea! Where is your church?”
“The church I serve is all over Clovis, in neighboring communities and around the countryside. Our church family gets together on Sundays and other times at a building located at 1700 North Main Street here in Clovis across from Marshall Middle School and Greene Acres Park.”
Do I sound like a smart alec? Well, I am often one, but I’m not just being one when I answer their question. I’m trying to help them understand that the Church is not a place. It is not a building with a steeple or a cross. The Greek word translated "Church" is ekklesia which means, “the called out.” It is a group of people called together for a purpose. The building where church members come together is not the church. You can call it the “church house” a “cathedral” or a number of names, but it is NOT “the Church.” But the Church is God’s people. The Church is called in some parts of Scripture, “the bride of Christ” and “the body of Christ.” The Church is not an organization. The Church is a living, breathing organism. It is important to understand that you don’t stop being the Church when you leave the church building. If you are a follower of Christ, you are in the church wherever you are. That means you are always connected to Christ through his church 24/7 year round.
Another misconception is that the church is filled with really good people who are better than everyone else because they go there. The truth is that there is only one kind of person in the world. That is, a sinner. There are two kinds of sinners; those who are still lost who have not connected with Jesus Christ and those who, because they have embraced the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sins, have been forgiven.
The Church is not a museum filled with saints. It is a hospital filled with sinners.
My dad used to say, “Sitting in a church house doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a Chicken coop makes you a chicken.” Only Jesus Christ can make a Christian.
While Jesus died for all sinners, Scripture also teaches that he died for his church. Jesus didn’t plan for us to be “Lone Ranger Christians.” His plan was for us all to come together under his leadership and be together in, and under Him.
Jesus’ plan was for His church to be his battering ram against the gates of hell. When Peter professed that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” Jesus told Peter and the disciples that he would build his Church on the rock of this fact and “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades (or hell) will not overcome it.” Have you ever been attacked by a gate? No, Jesus wants his church to destroy the gates of hell where Satan holds lost people captive in their sin. The way we accomplish this is to lead people to a saving knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you are in the Church, you are a fighting force against the lack of faith and understanding of Christ’s mission and plan for all mankind. You need to tell people about Jesus.
Hebrews 11 tells us that a major purpose of the Church is one of encouragement. We are to help each other live holy lives and to stand our ground against the evil one through unconditional love, encouragement and even holding one another accountable. We are a team. We are TEAM JESUS. As his body we are doing the works he has for us to accomplish.
I’ve heard people say, “I love Jesus, but I don’t think much of the Church.” How sad is that? That’s like telling you father, “Dad, I love you, but I don’t care much for your wife.” To despise the church of Jesus Christ is to hate his wife.
As previously mentioned, the Church is made up of flawed, even seriously flawed, people. But she has been saved by a seriously perfect Savior. But understand this, the entire world is made up of seriously flawed human beings. So why not let the seriously perfect Savior, take you in to become part of his Body, his Bride.
We need each other. We need the church. Jesus built the church. Make sure that you stay close to the warmth of this fellowship. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
Encouraged by the Church,