All of the polls reflect the fact that church attendance is down. Barna. Gallup. Harris. And they record similar sounding comments.
“Church is boring.”
“The church is not relevant to my needs.”
“The church is just after my money.
“I’m spiritual, but not religious.”
“I can be a good Christian and not go to church.”
And of course, the age-old complaint, “The church is full of hypocrites.”
Our word of the week is “church.”
Meaning and Usage
The word “church” is from a compound Greek word “ekklesia.” It literally means “to call out of.” It’s found 114 times in the New Testament. The Greeks used the word to refer to a people called to assembly for a special purpose. The Bible uses the term, as W. E. Vine expresses it to refer to all the redeemed and to identify “a company consisting of professed Believers.”
Our attitude toward the church might improve if we would stop and consider it from God’s viewpoint instead of a convoluted human vantage point.. Consider these three Bible facts about the church.
(1) The church is a people, not a place.
Too often the world looks at the church as a building, a denomination with a headquarters, or an ecclesiastical organization. Of course, part of the problem is some churches present themselves with that identity!
The church is called “the people of God” (1 Pet. 2:10). God’s “purchased possession” (Eph 1:14). “A people for His name (Acts 15:14). “Special people (Titus 2:14). And God’s people were called “Christians” (AX 11:26)
The church is not about pews, programs, and possessions. It about the people! God’s called out people!
(2) The church belongs to Christ.
The church is not mine. Nor does it belong to any man, or group of people. It belongs to Jesus Christ. Jesus promised, “I will build my church” (Matt 16:18). The apostle Paul affirmed that Christ purchased the church with His blood (Ax 20:28). And Jesus is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23).
Furthermore, the church is the sanctified in Christ (1 Cor 1:2). In other words they are set apart people, who belong to the Lord in a special, unique way. The church called “the body of Christ,” (Rom 12:5). The Kingdom of Christ (Eph 5:5). And the Bride of Christ (Eph 5:22-32; Rev 22:17). The church is all about Christ!
(3) The church demonstrates God’s wisdom.
In Ephesians 3:7-11, the apostle Paul says he was made a “minister of God’s grace…to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” He further affirms that it was his role to illuminate God’s plan for salvation. Why?
“…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord”
The church exhibits God’s manifold wisdom. The word “manifold” means “many-colored” or multi-faceted.” God is not one-dimensional. His wisdom, personality and plan is reflected in why he purposed the church through Christ’s redemptive work.
Before God ever created the world, He planned salvation in Christ and purposed a special people, called the church, to glorify Him! (Eph. 1:3-14).
It’s time to reconsider the role of the church. God’s church. Christ’s church. It’s important to God. And it should be important to us. Of course, the people who compose it are sinners saved by grace. Christians are not perfect, but they are pardoned.
Don’t give up on the church! Seek out in your community people who are honoring God, following Christ, teaching the Bible and worshiping in spirit and in truth
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman