What is the Church?
The church is understood, or misunderstood, in many different lights. An external view of the church is like examining a matryoshka (Russian stacking doll). Thinking we understand it, we discover another layer…and then another. The layers may include: history, nature, purpose, marks, sacraments, etc.
How then are we to understand “What is the Church?”
-”The Question is not what but Who is the Church.” Dr. Ralph Alexander
-The Church is Ekklessia: A “called out assembly”
–The term is used in 3 ways in Scripture.
—In the Septuagint (Greek version of Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament) it refers to the “congregation of Israel.
—It is a secular term used to describe an assembly of citizens “called out” by a Roman Magistrate in order to conduct civic business.
—It is the New Testament word we translate into “Church”, the followers of Jesus Christ gathered into community.
–The Church is:
—”Called out” by our authority Jesus Christ John 15:16, 17:20-21
—Citizens of the household of God Eph. 2:19-20
—Tasked with the responsibilities of our “citizenship” Eph 2:21
-The Church is the Body of Christ: I Corinthians 12:12-27
–We should not reject our “body part”, our gifting in the church: 12:14-20
–We should not reject other parts of the body: 12:21-26
–We are members of the community AND individuals within the body 12:27
—As followers of Jesus we have an individual relationship with Christ but we are also called to be part of the community of faith. (Heb. 10:24-25)
-The Church is a Living Organism
–It heals itself and reproduces itself
–All that occurs in the living organism is controlled by the dominant member of the central nervous system, in this metaphor the head of the body
–It has one common life principle. For living organisms this is DNA. The Holy Spirit is our “Spiritual DNA”. Eph. 4:4
-Conclusion: Summoned by Jesus to the ekklessia we are a universal flash mob (google: you tube + som sabadell + Ode to Joy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBaHPND2QJg
Let us go into our larger community and live out before the world the community of faith, the body of Christ.