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WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
by paul hoffmaster
07/30/13
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WHAT IS THE CHURCH?

What is the Church? What is its significance to the Believer’s life? Is it a place of assembly that dictates one’s regular attendance? This subject is one of the “sacred cows” of Christendom. It seems that the word Church is a form of identity. The phrase “Where do you go to church?” is a searching for what their respondent believes. The Church has become synonymous with buildings. Untold billions of dollars have been spent on building citadels to distinguish one group of Believers from another. We have thought of the Church as a place of worship where we gather to exalt and praise our Heavenly Father. The place where we hear the Word of God proclaimed and where we fellowship with other Believers. It is the place where we go to escape the pollutants of life. It is an oasis of refreshing. It is a place where others will teach our children about Jesus. It is a place of activities that is exclusive to only Believers. Is this really what the Church is?

The Church is people, not a place. It is not a place of identity, but a person of identity. It is not a location, but a presence. It is not a place made by material wealth, but an expression of the riches of God’s Grace. It is not a receiving station, but a giving and living outreach. It is not a place that is directed by “boards,” but a people directed by the Holy Spirit. It is not something defined by its structure, but a result of the created ability of God. It is not conformity to interpretive standards, but a tranformity of character. Those who define Church as a place of assembly are vulnerable to the doctrines of man. The pluralistic doctrines that flow from the elevated platforms of these buildings have separated people to such a degree that an individual searching for the Truth would be confused where to go to find it.

The Bible makes it clear that there is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. (Eph. 4:4-6) When we attempt to create pluralistic “bodies of believers” we have in effect made the Word of God of no effect through our traditions, as well as teaching doctrines that are nothing more than the commandments of man. (Matt. 15:6, 9)

The Church is Believers, not a building. Believers are not separated by gender, race or structures, but are unified through the blood of Christ. The Church is the physical manifestation of Jesus on earth. The Church is not a building but a people who confess in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Today, the Believers meet on their “holy” day in a closed environment to fulfill their “weakly” obligation, and then disappear into the world to continue their secret service life. The true Church is called to be a light to a darkened world. (Matt. 5:14-16) It is not an ominous building, but a living example of Jesus Christ. Where is the Church? Wherever two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name, they are the church!


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