2. What is Jesus' church?

 

The Greek word for church is ‘eklesia’…it means the called out ones. It often is used to refer to an assembly of people. It never refers to a denomination….or a building…but only a group of people who are ‘called out’ of the world to follow God.

 

The primary New Testament scripture referring to the church is:-

 Matt 16:15-19

15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 

16 Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."     NKJV

 

The key to understanding what the church is, is to examine the foundation on which it is built.

It is built on the revelation (ie from God) ….of who Jesus is….and what He has done for us. It is not an organization which is built on the apostle Peter .. or his authority. It is not referring to the system of men claiming to have ‘apostolic succession’ which authorizes their leadership.

 

This shows clearly that being part of the true church in NO WAY equates to membership of a local 'church' individual or denominationally led organisation here on earth. No pastor can detemine who enters.......or decide who should be excluded.

 

This shows that man cannot build the church…man cannot of his own decide to get the revelation…nor can any man of his own give it to another (John 1:12-13)….it is GOD’s sovereign decision (Mat 11:25 & 26)

 

Today it is necessary to ask…..what is the church which Jesus is building?

 

Well sadly it is not the churches most individuals claim to be building for him....as they divide the body. 

Acts 20:28-30
28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.   NKJV
 
Today most so-called christians are following MEN. This may seem an extreme statement but a simple test is that when they are challenged as to whether something is a false doctrine most will respond... 'my pastor says' ... or 'my church teaches'. Many others will name a well known author and refer you to a book they have written, as though this has any legitimate authority. Is not the only correct answer "this is what MY GOD says  in HIS WORD" ?

 

It is first and foremost JESUS' church...one that HE is building

Ps 127:1

Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;    NKJV

 

It is certainly not the worldly organizations …where men control and dominate ...or decide who is not welcome

3 John 9-10

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.    NKJV

 

It is not the glorious and extravagant buildings of the many mega-(so called)-churches

Acts 7:48

48 "However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands,....NKJV

Acts 17:24-26
24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.     NKJV
 
 We do not worship God by building 'church buildings'....or certainly not by giving Him money

John 4:21-24

21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth ; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  24 God is Spirit , and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth ."    NKJV
 

The true church is NOT the visible church....it is the world-wide family of born again believers...those transformed by the indwelling spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9-11)

John 3:5-8
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'  8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."       NKJV

 Being a 'born again believer' is nowhere in the scriptures equated to membership of a physical and visible organisation. It is linked to groups of individuals who congregated in homes for fellowship and suppport as they were drawn.

 

We are called out not to be a ‘organization’…or a ‘denomination’…but firstly a FAMILY…..one which operates as a single body... because we áll have the same spirit dwelling in us

 

Eph 3:14-15

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,.....      NKJV

 

Look at the 100's of scriptures indicating God’s desire for direct relationship with us personally. They mainly use family as the illustration…and not an organization…or a religion

 

Jesus came as the Son…every time he called Himself this He confessed it

He came to reveal…our Father…every time we hear this think ‘family relationship’

Our prayers are to our FATHER…our common Father

The Spirit of adoption in each of us calls out …. “ABBA” 

Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren…we are all related …one ‘family’

He came to reveal that we too could become children

We are all brethren…the epistles of Peter, John and Paul illustrate this

We are the ‘household’ of faith

'In my Fathers ‘house’….is clearly NOT refering to a building but a family

 

How should we then relate to each other?

 

The model for leadership of the church is to be as a family….loving care and service (as per Jesus example)

 

'Parents ought to lay up for the children…not children for the parents'

The head of each man is Christ….family members each directly relating to God

The main role of leaders is to SERVE…and be an example…and to bless and provide for (not to 'lord it over' or not to take from)

Families who LOVE each other…without being told to

Families who practically care for each other as their first priority

Families who serve each other and help each others to walk in the Spirit

 

Eph 2:19

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,       NKJV

Gal 6:10

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.     NKJV

1 Tim 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.       NKJV

Matt 12:49-50

49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers!  50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother       NKJV

 

How and where should we then gather together?

 

The model for gathering is that of a family…. firstly in HOMES ...and then in any larger places freely available which suit (as per the early church 's example of the early church)

 

Acts 2:46-47

46 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, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church  daily those who were being saved.    NKJV

Gathering together was done as a part of LIFE 

 

Rom 16:3-5

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.  NKJV

 
1 Cor 11:18-19
18 For first of all, when you come together as a churchI hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.    NKJV
 
We are all to be followers OF CHRIST...not followers of men. We are only divided when MEN seek to be recognised OVER their brethren rather than SERVING them and EXALTING Christ alone.
 
1 Cor 14:5
5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.    NKJV
 
1 Cor 14:11-12
12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.    NKJV
 
Heb 10:24-25
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 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.     NKJV
 
The purpose of gathering was to edify and encourage and exhort one another. It was NEVER to control or take from but to GIVE to one another.
 
It was an opportunity for elders to TAKE CARE OF and HELP ...not to take from their BRETHREN
 
Gathering together was not a weekly requirement as of a christian 'sabbath' ...it was a family wanting to catch up with and BE together to share what God was doing in their lives. 
 

 

In the Old Testament the 'house of the Lord' was a building

 

1 Kings 8:10-11

10 And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.

 

The physical building is however no more ...it was only a type and shadow which has been fullfilled in Christ!

John 4:21

21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain (place NIV), nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.    NKJV

Matt 24:2

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."   NKJV
 

The temple was demolished by the Romans in AD 70 as Jesus prophesied.... and it has never been re-built!

 

Our worship today is a 24/7 relationship with our Father....and not a place we attend. (Rom 12:1-2)

 

In the New Testament the 'house of the Lord' is HIS FAMILY - WORLDWIDE

 

The temple is fulfilled in Christ (Mk 14:58)

You are the temple of God! (1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19, 2 Cor 6:16, Eph 2:19-23, Rev 21:22)   ...Christ resides on earth today IN HIS BRETHREN  by the Holy Spirit b

God does not live in a house made of stones…or human hands (Acts7 & 17)

Heb 3:5-6
5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,  6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.     NKJV
 

We as living stones ....are a SPIRITUAL house

1 Peter 2:4-5

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.    NKJV

A 'spiritual house' does not have walls ...and Christ alone is the DOOR

 

Mat 18:20

Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them   

We are to have new wineskins…no longer anointed priests and buildings….but only God’s children and family. ALL of us filled with His Spirit (Rom 8:9-11) and commissioned for a work ...our Fathers business! (Eph 2:10) ..ie ALL anointed!

 

The context of family is reinforced in that it is God’s sovereign election

 

A child does not decide to have a Father....the FATHER decides to have children. 

 

John 1:12-13
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.     NKJV
 

Acts 2:46-47

46 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, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.     NKJV

Acts 11:18

18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."    NKJV

 Acts 13:48

48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.      NKJV

 

  

The church is the family even where they are not gathered together (and not because of denominational affilliation)

 

The church was also the wider community citywide and worldwide UNDIVIDED

Acts 11:22-24

22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. NKJV

People were added to the Lord....not to a local church or denomination

Acts 12:5

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church .    NKJV

Acts 13:1-2

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said,  ….      NKJV

Acts 15:2-5

Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.

3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. 4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.     NKJV

Acts 15:22

Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.    NKJV

Heb 12:22-24

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.     NKJV

Registration in church membership roles on earth is of NO VALUE unless it is matched with registration in heaven.

 

Jesus' church is not subject to the control of pastors or anointed 5-fold ministry...but CHRIST himself!

 

In the New Testament there is NOT a single church where a single pastor ever lead the church...or any of the other ministries....but the 48 churches mentioned were only ever led by multiple equal elders ...and ONLY directly under CHRIST'S authority ...never a man's!

 

 

Eph 1:22-23

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.   NKJV

Eph 5:22-33

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

1 Cor 11:3

3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ     NKJV

Note each person is to have a DIRECT submission to Christ…not through a chain of command

 

Eph 4:11-13

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;     NKJV
 

The 5-fold ministry is not to 'lord it over' but to SERVE the saints. They are to train up the body to do the work and NOT to do it all themselves!

Nor are they exalted because they have a 'special annointing'. Anointings are for a SERVICE...not a position of 'lordship.

Eph 5:25-32

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."   32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.     NKJV

 

We are each índividually called to live out of our one-ness with Christ...this is our goal   (1 Cor 6:17),

…..and Christ’s prayer (John 10:16, 17:11 and 17:20-23)

 

Col 1:18

18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.  NKJV

Christ is to have the pre-eminence...NOT any man such as a 'lead elder' in the mould of Diotophes

 

3 John 9-10

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.     NKJV

This is sadly a common problem today ...so-called leaders not realising that if it is 'their' church...then it is NOT Jesus church!

 

Parts of the church, in realising that the single pastor led church is not biblical, are concluding that it is acceptable to have a 'lead elder' as the pastor being the 'first amonst equals' .....brethren CHRIST is the ONLY FIRST.....and YOU are ALL only BRETHREN.

The expression is a bit like another well known phrase...'all men are equal but some are more equal than others'

 

The Church is to be led by the SPIRIT and taught by GOD...and not men

 

 

Rom 8:14-17
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out,"Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God   NKJV
 
We do NOT need men to lead us and to bring us into the BONDAGE of religion...let the SPIRIT show you how FREE you are as GOD's child!
 

Heb 8:11
11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.   NKJV

1 John 2:20-21

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.   21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.    NKJV

1 John 2:26-27

26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.   NKJV

John 14:26
 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.     NKJV
 

The church today has been DECEIVED by many of those who claim to be 'pastor/teachers'. A major reason for this is that the 'teaching ministry' uses two very dubiously interpreted scriptures below to claim to be entitled to be PAID!  The above scriptures however very clearly say that we do not NEED to be taught by them!

Please note that today as a result of this deception the rest of the 'five-fold ministry' (being apostles, prophets and evangelists and workers of miracles) are almost NEVER supported by churches! This is certainly not what God intended.

 

Gal 6:6
 
Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.    NKJV    
 
(This refers to HOSPITALITY ONLY and does not even mention money. The context is set in vs 5 where we are EACH told to bear our own load or burden)
 
1 Tim 5:17-18
 
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.    NKJV
 
(This refers to HONOR i.e. recognition and esteem...and not money...ie children honor their paraents...and slaves honor their masters...and widows are to be honored...AND we all know this does not in any way even suggest that we are to 'pay them 'MONEY'  and that in the form of a salary)
 
 

The Church IS the BODY of Christ in the earth today.....ie we are to be His hands to touch a lost world

 

Rom 12:4-8
4 For as we have many members in one body , but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.    NKJV
 
We each have a role to play when we gather...the one who leads is no more important that the one who shows mercy. Gathering together is an opportunity for each to have a role to play and and minister to the brethren.
 
1 Cor 12:12
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  NKJV
 
There are no 'local bodies'...only ONE body ....all working together to do the work of God.
 
1 Cor 12:20
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body   NKJV
 
1 Cor 12:24-25
But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body , but that the members should have the same care for one another.  NKJV
 
The purpose here is clear....we meet TO TAKE CARE OF ONE ANOTHER
 
1 Cor 12:27-28
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. NKJV
 
 
OUR role is as follows :-
 
 
2 Cor 5:18-21
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. NKJV
 

 

1 John 4:17

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.    NKJV
 

 

We are ALL called to GET OUT THERE (into the real world) and SHOW people who Jesus is by our LIVES... not just by words from a pulpit ... in a 'church' building one hour a week!

 

 

 

 

  

General Articles
User login