So you don’t want to go to church anymore? [cont.]

We were busy with the 3rd SURPRISE concerning believers’ relationship with the Church, viz. ‘CHURCH’ IS REALLY ALL ABOUT BEING THE CHURCH! (24/7 x 52)

 

Not only was it God’s eternal purpose in Christ to always be with His people, but (more significantly) to be in His people!  Let me give just a few Scriptures, among many others, that make this abundantly clear…

  • Is. 66:1-2 as quoted in Stephen’s address before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:48-49 (David wanted to build a temple for God’s indwelling, God ‘allowed’ Solomon to build it), “However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you ever build me a temple as good as that?… Could you build a dwelling place for me?'” 
  • Jn. 14:20 (Jesus promises the Spirit), “When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” 
  • 1 Cor. 3:16-17 (divisions in the Church), “Don’t you realise that all of you together are the temple of God and the Spirit of God lives in you? … God’s temple is holy, and you Christians are that temple.” 
  • Eph. 1:23 (prayer for spiritual wisdom), “And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything everywhere with His presence.” (‘It’s not even about a church without walls, but a LIFE without boundaries’ –  a 90 year old mentor in New Zealand)
  • Col. 1:27 (Paul’s labour for the Church), “For it has pleased God to tell his people that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory.” 
  • 1 Pet. 2:4-5 (living stones for God’s house), “And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.” [was Jesus a stone-mason, perhaps? the word translated ‘carpenter’ (Mk. 6:3, Mt. 13:55) simply means ‘artisan,’ including ‘carpenter’ and ‘stone mason’]

The Church, in the most effective era of its history, got it right for some three hundred years! People didn’t ‘go to church,’ rather they ‘were the Church’ – wherever they went. Small wonder they turned their world upside down, or if you like ‘right side up.’ Sadly, with Emperor Constantine (early 4th cent.), supposedly converted to Christianity, came ‘civilised Christianity,’ special church buildings, paid priests, on-looking spectators (as in Roman and Greek temples, with all the action up front) (sound familiar?), etc. We’re fighting 1700 years of tradition. It’s hard to change the course of a river when its been flowing along a certain river-bed for that long! In fact, it’s impossible. But then nothing is impossible with God… [One more blog on this subject]

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