or, is this
Don't confuse "THE CHURCH" with "church"
So, what is the difference?
1. If someone says to you, "Would you like to "go to church" with me Sunday", they are talking about a "church" building. An organization.
2. If someone says to you "The CHURCH" is getting together this Sunday. Would you like to come?" They are talking about "The CHURCH", a Body of Believers who follow Jesus.
CONFUSED? Don't be...
"THE CHURCH", as described and defined by the Bible is the ECCLESIA, which is the original Greek word for
(1) A gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting,
Of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ,
Of those who observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake.
Of those who make up the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth or
Of those those faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven.
(2) to call
To name, by name;
to give a name to;
To receive the name of,
To receive as a name,
To give some name to one,
To call his name,
To bear a name or title which identifies you with Jesus Christ, such as found in Revelation 2:17, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a WHITE STONE, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it."
ECCLESIA: This is God's Church, which He bought for us and brought to us.
This is His Church, which He loves.
This is His Bride, The Bride of Christ, which He as adorned.
This is His Body, which was pierced for us.
This is you and me - fully devoted followers of Jesus.
And, these are the terms, the descriptions and the definition you find in the Bible
On the other hand, a variation of the words "church", is a man-made definition. It is found in dictionaries and encyclopedias. It is an adaptation or a corruption of the term "Church" found in the Bible.
Here is the word "church" as found in a dictionary:
1. A building for public and especially Christian worship
2. The clergy or officialdom of a religious body regarding the word "church".
3. The persons that are "clergy"
4. A denomination, such as the Baptist, Methodist or Presbyterian "church"
5. The clerical profession considered the church as a possible career (hirelings)
Many people are leaving "church" in search of "THE CHURCH". These same people are, sometimes, criticized for not "assembling together" in "church" (#1. A building for public and especially Christian worship, along with
#2. The clergy or officialdom) as has bcome the custom in the 20th and 21st Century.
Some Christians are being accused of disparaging "The Church", at least by the "postmodern clergy", when they point out the errant practices of the post-modern "church".
This is not to say that the all of the postmodern churches are doing wrong or are doing that which s evil. Some within the church have not strayed from Jesus' teachings.
Here is what God warns His Church about:
You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen!
You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like false and they trip up my people.
You teach to sin by acting contrary to my Word and by committing sexual sin
You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin
You have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead.
I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!
You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked
John the Revelator, recorded these words of instruction, warning and consequences and about the mystery of The Church. "When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lamp stands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lamp stands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.
Here, John is speaking as it is written, "... what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. 20 This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands are the seven churches." Revelation 1:12-20
Here are God's Words of commendation for obedience and condemnation for disobedience.
I. Revelation 2:2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
4“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!b 5Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.
II. Revelation 2:13 “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city.
14 “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
III. 19 "I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.
20 “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
22 “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
V. “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead.
2 Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. 3Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.
4“Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.
VI. 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!
16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.
19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.
HERE IS THE ENCOURAGEMENT AND PROMISE OF GOD' WORD
I. Revelation 2:9 "I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. 10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days.
But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
11“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.
II. Revelation 2:26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, to them I will give authority over all the nations.
27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.
28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!
29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to The Churches.
III. Revelation 3:8 "I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.
9 Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.
10 “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.
God says that we are THE CHURCH, we are HIS BODY and we are HIS BRIDE - so let's BE THE CHURCH who resides as aliens, scattered throughout, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.
We are A CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Though we once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now we are THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
Come and let's work together
(Click on the Invitation)
Your Brother and Friend,