Friday, September 10, 2010

The True Nature of the Church

On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.  And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.  –Acts 14:27, 28 

There are a number of places I hope to visit someday and one of them is England.  My sister has traveled extensively across England and every time she travels there she always enjoys visiting some of the churches.  Many church buildings across England have stood for centuries.  My sister told me of one such church building which was constructed in the fourteenth century.  Down through the years services continued to be held, but in recent years the attendance declined to the point that the building had become more of a museum.  That changed, however, when an evangelical congregation obtained permission to hold services in the church.  They brought with them a renewed sense of vision, preaching, and ministry.  My sister commented on how interesting it was to attend a worship service in an 700 year old church and hear vibrant praise music and evangelical preaching.  I was blessed as well as intrigued to learn of how the gospel was going out in that part of the world.

This story reminds me of the fact the church does not consist of the building, but rather the church is composed of the people who have been redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ.  The church where I am the pastor is East Bristol Baptist, but the church is made up of the people, not the bricks and woodwork of the building.  Acts 14 shows some of the trials and blessings Paul the Apostle encountered as he proclaimed the gospel of Christ.  The latter part of the chapter tells of Paul and Barnabas’ arrival at the church in Antioch and how they reported all that had happened.  Note that the Scripture says that “they gathered the church together.” This was not a gathering of buildings, but of people. 

When we speak of the church let’s be sure we realize that the church is the living body of Christ in the world, composed of those who have put their faith in Him.  As the church is therefore living, it is meant to grow and thrive.  Pray that the church, those redeemed in Jesus Christ, will always be about the working of letting the world know that Jesus is Lord.

What a blessed ministry we have been given; that of sharing the Good News with the world.  Let the light of Christ shine forth and pray for a great revival of faith across the land.   

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