Key Passage: Matthew 16: 16-19
Key Text: Matthew 16:18 – 18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Misunderstanding something or someone can often lead to abuse. The word abuse means to put something to wrong use, or misapply the thing for the wrong purpose. There are many things that have been abused in this world, that were meant for something totally different by God. Let’s look at an extreme case of abuse. Some people looked at black people and thought them to be inferior and only good for manual tasks, they concluded that black people were sub-human and as such they took many Africans into slavery. Thank God that slavery was abolished and black people are now seen as full human beings and as such we have a black man in the white house. Slavery though abolished still continues in many forms, and we pray that all efforts to stop this dastardly act, will succeed in Jesus name.
My subject today is on the Church. It has become apparent, that the church is misunderstood and many abuse the church because they don’t understand what God planned for the church.
One is so surprised when people think that the church is a physical building they go to. This thinking is quite prevalent among the religious people. So lots of emphasis is placed on the way the building looks, the size of the building, the décor and great time, effort and expense is put into this venture called the ‘church’. They build huge cathedrals all in the excuse that they are building God a house. (Don’t misunderstand me; I have nothing against excellent facilities to aid the church’s expression). How wrong? God does not dwell in buildings built by the hands of men. The church is actually a building, just not one made with bricks and mortar. The church is a spiritual building, made up of living stones, otherwise called believers in Jesus Christ. The church is not a location; it is an expression! The Church is a living entity. You don’t go to church on Sundays; you are the church when you gather together with other believers to worship God, whether it is in a building or on an open field, or in a house. The church is not something you go to.
Our Pastor in the UK (Pastor Colin Dye of Kensington Temple) taught us really well on this subject and he has written a small booklet called ‘The Church”, I have culled most of the following statements from this book.
The Church is derived from the Greek word, Ekklesia. Which means ‘the called out ones’. So what this means is that, the church are the called out ones from the world, to be gathered together, in relationship with Christ.
The New Testament is the authoritative source of knowledge when it comes to understanding the role and functions of the church.
- The Church exists to bring glory to God by Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:20-21(Its not about the glory of man).
- The Church belongs to Jesus Christ; it is His church. There is no such thing as my, our or your church. The church belongs to Jesus alone. Matthew 16:18.
- THE CHURCH IS GOD PLANNED AND GOD MADE; It is not a human invention or social institution. Ephesians 1:4,5,11.
- Christ is the head of the church – Ephesians 1:22. No man or woman is the ultimate church leader, the church belongs to Jesus Christ and only he is in full and absolute control.
- The church consists of members of Christ’s body. Only genuine believers are part of the church – it does not include people who are nominally Christian. 1 Corinthians 12;27
- The church has a supernatural nature. By the cross and the Spirit, it is a supernatural entity – one body- which transcends time, race, status and gender. 1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 2:16.
- The church is called to make, mobilise and mature disciples of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:18-20. (Let’s repent of the great omission and go back to the great commission)
- The church reaches out to the whole world. The church is not limited to one generation, social group or race. It is for all people of every age and status in all nations. Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15
- There is only one true church. Ephesians 4:3-6
10. The Church is growing into maturity. The church is not static; it is being moulded by the Holy Spirit into spiritual maturity. Ephesians 4;12-13.
The bible clearly tells us that the church is also the bride of Christ. So I would like to ask you to be cautious how you deal with another man’s bride. This is no ordinary bride of any ordinary man. This is the bride of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. The sovereign King of the entire creation of God. Jesus Christ.
Let’s become aware, so we don’t abuse His bride.
Let’s pray: Father God, we ask you to forgive us for not understanding and appreciating your church. Please give us a deep understanding that will enable us to be fully functioning members of your church and to relate to the church accordingly, in Jesus name we pray. Amen