In several of my posts I have written about two recurrent themes that are near and dear to me in my quest for truth. First: What is church and where can you find it? Second: What does the mystery mentioned in Ephesians 3 look like in reality? Actually both questions have the same answer.
On the day of Pentecost, God set in motion the greatest movement of all times. It started with those in the first century that believed what Jesus Christ was all about and accepted God’s gift of holy spirit as an inner assurance of the new birth and connection to the body of Christ of whom Jesus Christ is the head.
Holy spirit makes an individual one with the Father as well as one with the son. We are one with each other as we walk in God’s light together. This is the church.
I John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
God is the all in all and he made Jesus Christ the head of His church. The born again believers are the body of Christ and work in connection to the head spiritually. Jesus Christ is not absent, retired, or inactive. He is building the church. There is only one head of the body. The synergism in the church all rests and thrives on this set-up. No one earthly organization is THE body of Christ.
The current popular concept of church has evolved through the ages. In those early days after Pentecost it was the people that were the church, not the buildings. Soon people started to organize and frame the human concept of church. Bigger was better needing a building and a boss. Crosses were later put on top of buildings, stained glass in windows and pews and pulpits became furniture.
Even today when a group starts out as a small home unit like in the book of Acts, priorities can change. I have seen this evolve as a small living room circle gets rearranged into rows and a coffee table as a mini-pulpit. From there it grows until there is an invisible altar rail. Soon instead of faithful seasoned elders and deacons, we hear about reverends, clergy and laity; none of which is written about in the Bible.
Leadership in the first century existed and started with the apostles. In Ephesians 4, God records other functioning gift ministries in the body such as prophets, pastors, evangelists and teachers. These are positions of service through which God in Christ in an individual energizes to help build up the living, vital, community of God. The goal of the ministries is to help individuals rise up to their calling and function as individuals in the collecting body of Christ. All born again believers are ministers of the word to bring hearts to the one true God. For various reasons, certain abilities, desire and believing, God utilizes individuals to specifically involve themselves in His projects. Gift ministries are under rowers not overlords. They don’t carry a neon sign. Their lives weave in and throughout life knitting for the Master, sometimes recognized, often not.
Our current religious system is set up with all flavors and sizes of church. For me, I have no problem attending any or all of them that are based on God, His word and His Christ. We all need fellowship with others who believe and who live for helping others find their way to God. We live in a world that is designed to pull people away from God, not toward him.
I absolutely treasure my relationships with those who are humble to God and have learned the true grace ethic of discipleship. Fellowship with others who love and trust God is absolutely wonderful. We all need to help and be helped. We are not developing a brand of theology, but a way of life and trust of God. Ultimately, no one can do that for anyone else. We all have the power of God if we choose to utilize it. We can help by reminding each other of what God has given us through His Word and His spirit. It is the best way to grow up in Christ:
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Recommended reading: This is for people who are searching and trying to understand what the church really is: Finding Church: What if there really is something more? by Wayne Jacobsen. This book has caused no end to fruitful dialogue.
Updated November 2014