What is the meaning of Church? What’s the point? I personally pondered much on this question. Church is important, no doubt. And all believers and followers of Christ should be going to a full Bible preaching, Holy Spirit filled, loving church, Amen! But what is the meaning of it? The more I thought about it, all the more I realized that I don’t know until the Lord revealed to me the true meaning of His church. I mean, church is not a place to solely get the Word of God from, because we are supposed to be reading and studying the Holy Bible on a daily basis for ourselves. For our growth in Jesus Christ, to receive wisdom and understanding in order to apply Biblical principles to our daily living so we can be effective in this life with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Again, church is not to be our sole provider in this or anything else. It is our own responsibility to feed on His word in our quiet time, in the secret place of the Most High God. But church is there to provide additional direction, some further instructions of God’s Holy Word and edification for the equipping of the saints with the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s also a place to worship God corporately.
As we had established in past studies, worshipping God is a life style. Living according to the Holy Bible, that’s worshipping God. If you truly are born-again and love the Lord, you will obey Gods holy word (John 14:15). That’s worshipping God. Also being faithful in going to church every time the doors are opened is also honoring and worshipping God as the Holy Bible instructs us to do,
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
That’s how we honor God. Since church is a place to worship God corporately with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. It should be a place for true corporate prayer also, which is the most powerful prayer any body could ever pray. Corporate intercessory prayer as like in the days of the Book of Acts 4:23-31 (refer back to the study: “The Importance of Prayer part 2”).
So the conclusive point would have to be that church is a place in the local community for believers and followers of Jesus Christ to gather together to be strengthened and encouraged by one another in sharing God’s Word. To be refreshed corporately in the Holy Spirit by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ every time we meet. To pray for one another and for the community, nation and the world as the Holy Spirit directs and for fellowship with one another in the holy love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And fellowship is very important in the body of Christ today and yet some churches in America lack it. I looked this word up in the Holy Bible, and I found this word to be very interesting. One thing that is interesting out of many, is that the word “fellowship” has never been used in the Old Testament, only in the New in regards to the body of Christ. Maybe there is no such word in the Hebrew language that translates the word “fellowship”…. No… that’s not it. There is a Hebrew word, Chabar [Khaw-bar] which means: ‘Be compact, couple (together), have fellowship with, join (self, together), league.’ (according to The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words.)
The word “fellowship” is connected to Christ’s prayer also, and is a great reminder for us today what He has envisioned His church to be now and forever unified and sanctified,
John 17:6-26 I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
In order to be strong and effective for the kingdom of God in our community and to live this holy life in the faith of the Lord, we need to be rooted and grounded not only in His Word coupled with prayer, but in church also. As the sayings go, ‘knowledge is power’ and ‘Little prayer little power. Lots of prayer, lots of power.’
Without the Holy Bible and prayer, church is pointless, powerless and absolutely meaningless. In fact God’s Word is THE PRINCIPLE THING, THE PRINCIPLE FOUNDATION! And without it, church will not be successful in the role of Gods plan, purpose and will here on earth. Church without prayer and holiness is also powerless! Without the love of God and brethren it is also vanity, fruitless and the most waste of time. And if it’s all that, than how can we as the body of Christ be affective in reaching lost sinners going to Hell? Again church is for further edification and equipping of the saint’s of God
Fellowship, testimony, and prayer with one another coupled with the sharing of God Holy Word builds each other up. It strengthens and encourage one another. Being united in Christ and to be recharged and refreshed by the Holy Spirit, that’s the Importance of Church! we need to be faithful in church, so we can be His effective witnesses, vessels and instruments of righteousness in the mighty hand of God our Heavenly Father out in the world! To be a flame of fire, salt and light on this earth in His plan, purpose and will.
The Effective And Powerful Church of Jesus Christ
We saw Holy love, fellowship, the fear of the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit in operation so powerfully in the 1st Century church. It was written as it was happening then, in the Book of Acts (the Acts of the Holy Spirit) for our benefit today. And if you didn’t see that, then we haven’t really paid close enough attention. The 1st Century church in the Book of Acts is the blue print, the plumb-line of what we are to have and be today. What made them so glorious? What made them so powerful and effective against the kingdom of darkness and deceit. The answer is,
1). Love for God
3). Obedience (the fear of the Lord)
6). Genuine holy love for the brethren
7). Fellowship/breaking of bread
‘A being united; oneness.’ The Holy Bible defines it as being many separate parts, united as one body, as one member (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). When the Holy Spirit speaks about church, He’s not just referring to as individuals who goes to church, but also as individuals when united in Christ, by the workings of His Holy Spirit makes up one body (the church) of Jesus Christ who is our Head. That’s what the Holy Spirit is referring to here in this study. One church, one denomination which our Lord Jesus had envisioned, prayed and died for (John 17:20-26),
The 1st Century church was united, as to say united in belief, doctrines and living in holiness in Jesus Christ our Lord. Which was known then as: ‘The Way’ (Acts 9:1-2; Acts 22:3-4; Acts 24:14). Soon after, the church became known as Christianity as it is still known today. And this term originated from the church in Antioch (Acts 11:25-26). The word “Christian” means: ‘Christ ones. Christ like.’
In fact, The Lord Jesus in the 1st Century church was their commonality that bound all believers and followers of Jesus Christ all over the known world then, as one and one church in Jesus Christ. If you take a closer look at the letters to the churches in the New Testament, you would see quite clearly the evidence of their strong unity, which was found in their greetings to one another in love through the Apostle Paul. Examples:
The greetings to the Church in Corinth [Kawr-inth]: (Greece) 1 Corinthians 16:19-21 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. The salutation with my own hand—Paul’s.
To the Church in Philippi [Fil-uh-pie]: (Greece) Philippians 4:21-22 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
To the Church in Colosse [Kah-luh-See]: (a city in the roman province of Asia (western Turkey) Colossians 4:7-18 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.
Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house. Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.
The point here is that these were brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ who were from many different regions, greeting one another through the Apostles and servants of the Most High God. This is one of many evidences of the strong unity and love for one another in holiness.
But satan has been dividing the church, little by little, over the millennia’s since then and so far has been successful, where we have today many persuasions and denominations. And that’s not good, because we are now divided and all these: false blasphemous teachings, straying away from the basic Biblical principles to practical living. Church lacking the love for God and of the brethren. Replacing salvation of Jesus Christ for prosperity that cannot save just to name a few. All this has caused divisions. Unity is one of many reasons how the church in the 1st century was glorious and still put us to shame today. In each church all across America, there are division that are not Scriptural.
It would be one thing if sins or false and bad interpretations of sins causes division as God’s Holy Word warns us: to turn away from such people who are not willing to live according to the holy, righteous standard of living as God has instructed us (2 Timothy 3:1-9). But what’s so hard about taking the Holy Bible for what it says at face value, through the interpretation of the Holy Spirit and not by our own interpretations, wisdom and understanding. And be united in and through Jesus Christ whom is ultimately our commonality. In fact it is even mentioned that the 1st century church had all things in common and was in one mind and one accord (unity)
Acts 2:42-47 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul (the fear of the Lord. And because of this unity), and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
This passage of Scripture is showing us how to be the glorious church of Jesus Christ:
1). Continued steadfastly in the doctrine (The Holy Bible)
2). Fellowship, breaking of bread together
3). Prayed together (corporate prayer)
4). They feared God (Job 28:28 & Proverbs 8:13)
5). Had all things in common (Biblical and doctrinal unity)
6). Praising God continually
7). Faithful in going to church
Because they lived according to these factors, they truly were a glorious and effective witness here on earth for the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ
Now the difference between then and now is that the church does not live together today as they had in the days of the Book of Acts. Many believers and followers of the Lord Jesus sold all their possessions including houses in order to fund evangelism of the Gospel Of Jesus Christ. And those who kept their home invited other believers and followers of ‘The Way,’ to live with them. To work and to have fellowship with one another, breaking of bread daily from house to house (Acts 4:32-37).
And of course we are not there today. And the Lord is not commanding any of us to sell our homes to live with each other as like in a commune. But they had a real genuine, deep holy love for God and for one another. They genuinely lived what they believed and they were faithful to God. And this is the point: They were effective and powerful where ever they were because of this love for God and for one another in unity and in fellowship being faithful to God in everything.
Our next study, The Powerful church of Jesus Christ. Until next time, God bless you, your family and your friends.