Modern Churches are Carnal:
for a Scriptural New Testament Church
Chapter 1: What is the Church?
What is the church? What do we mean by the word "church"? The word
"church" comes from the Greek word "ekklesia" which means "called
out ones" or "assembly". It means any assembly, or in our case, a Christian
assembly that meets together to worship the Lord. But, most people today think that the
church is the building, or the organization (programs and system of operation). However,
Jesus did not die for a building, a program, or an organization; He died for people. Saved
people are the church. It's all right to have a building the church meets in, and people
should be organized, but don't be deceived. That's not the church. No, the saved people
are the church. What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost
[which is] in you, which ye have of God
? 1Cor 6:19. Husbands, love your
wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Eph 5:25.
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, TO THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED
in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the
name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 1Cor 1:2. He wrote to the church
or to them that are sanctified (saved people).
Have you ever heard someone say, "Come visit my church", or "May I come to
your church?", or "This is our church."? Common language, right? Let me
show you how off base we are on this. The word "church" is mentioned 79 times,
and the word "churches" 36 times in the Bible, all in the New Testament, and not
one time is it "your" church, "my" church, "our"
church, and so on. You see, it is not yours or mine, or ours. It is His church. He
died for it, purchased it, and it is His body. "
and gave him [to be] the head
over all [things] to the church , Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth
all in all." Eph 1:22.-23. Following are the words that come before
"church" and "churches" in the Bible. (Not one time will you find a
personal pronoun before them, except in Matt 16:18 when Jesus says "upon this rock I
will build MY church".)
"Church": my church (once referring to Jesus), the
church, every church, whole church, glorious church, no church,
"Churches": the churches, of churches, all
churches, other churches, seven churches,
So, you see, not one time in 115 verses that the word "church" or
"churches" is mentioned, will you find a personal pronoun referring to you or me
before the words. It is not "your" church, "my" church, or
"our" church. It is HIS church.
It's HIS body. Any adjectives or prepositional phrases before the words indicate
that it belongs to Him. God doesn't miss anything or He doesn't get anything wrong. He is
very consistent. It is "you", "I", and "others" that get off
Local or Universal?
I know there is a great debate about the term church today, whether it is local or
universal. Both sides have a good argument, and verses that support each. Since there are
verses for both, then I personally believe that they both are true. For example, you can
speak of McDonalds as a local restaurant in town or you can speak of McDonalds as a large
chain. When the Bible speaks of a church in a particular area, it is referring to a local
church. At other times it refers to the church as a whole. "
even as Christ
also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" Eph. 5:25. The word church here
is a collective noun, which covers all saved people. Also, Eph 4:3 indicates that the
church is one body, not several. ["There is] ONE BODY, and one
" But, there are numerous verses that refer to a
specific church in a specific location, and that is a local church.
Now, the biggest problem I have today with the term "local church", is that I
hear many explain that the only way you can serve God is through a local church. So then,
all spiritual matters are confined to the local church. You can't serve God other than
through that local church that you are a member of. You can't give unless it is through
that local church. You can't witness or do good deeds unless it is through that local
church. I do believe that Christians should collectively serve and worship God through a
local church, but I don't think it is just limited to that. As an individual, there is a
great deal that you can do on your own to serve God. I don't have the time nor the
Scriptures to argue this, but neither do they. For example, when I provide, take care of
my family and meet their needs, try to be honest and pay my bills, etc., that is serving
God. However, that is not through the local church. Those of contrary belief would say
that that is not spiritual, but I believe that if anyone obeys Scripture, then that is
being spiritual. When we do what God tells us to do in His Word, that is serving God. This
is one problem you get into when you say that only a local church exits. Now, if all
aspects of a person's life are to be under the "local church" and it's pastor,
then it seems to me they are entering into some realm of cultism. Scripture is very clear
that we serve God, which includes service to the church.
[Share your comments with the author J. B. Sparks. mailto:email@example.com]