The Church

At the beginning of December, I asked several questions about the Church in a post titled “All About Me.” I want to return to this topic for a few moments because it remains heavy on my heart and mind. I welcome (to be read “I beg for”) thoughts and questions that might stir up additional thoughts and questions that might bring me closer to being able to answer these issues.

I was reviewing my notes from A.W. Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy, and I stumbled upon this statement:

We Christians are the Church and whatever we do is what the Church is doing. The matter, therefore, is for each of us a personal one. Any forward step in the Church must begin with the individual.

It blew my mind away for the second time. It seems like such an obvious truth, but how often do we step back and look at the Church without realizing that we are the Church? If we would have the Church be more loving, then it must begin with ourselves. If we would have the Church be more accountable, then it must begin with ourselves. If we would have the Church be more reverent, then it must begin with ourselves.

That’s heavy.

The Church is not some abstract concept of super-elite Saints. The Church is me. The Church is you. The Church is us. Rich Mullins once said that the scary thing about the Church is that God doesn’t have a Plan B–we are it. We are His plan to share the redemptive love of Christ with the world.

It strikes me today that God gives us dreams for this reason. Not that we would be able to serve only those of like faith, but that we would be a light to the world among our friends, our families, our co-workers, and the world. And whether we realize it or not, we are in a constant state of testimony. Our words, our actions, our attitudes are continually speaking to what we truly believe about Christ. Who knows what lives you are touching in the course of the day?

“The Church” isn’t just what happens on Sundays. “The Church” isn’t just doctrine and traditions. “The Church” is every day, every minute, living, breathing, being changed into His likeness, sharing the Good News that our Savior has come.

You are the Church.

I am the Church.

So. What is the Church doing?

Pax Christi.

Semmie

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6 thoughts on “The Church

  1. Sarah,

    I totally agree that we each have individual responsibility, but I disagree with the statement “I am the Church”. There is something different about the Church that no individual can be. Here is an example of both individual responsibility and church responsibility. “If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.” 1 Timothy 5:16

    In 1 Corinthians 12 and other places Paul writes about many members but only one body. I think as a whole we really don’t understand what the Church is because when we gather we often worship God as a room full of isolated individuals, we preach to individual issues, and pray for individual needs.

    Even the word Church isn’t the correct word. The greek word Ekklesia is the only word in the Bible translated Church. Church means the Lord house, while Ekklesia is an assembly of citizens, or a kingdom gathering. A couple places in Ephesians like 1:22 and 3:10 the church has an important place in the heavenly realm. I could go on but…

    I’ve got to go for the evening – drop a kid at a high school dance, pick up another and take her and another to the IHOP student awakening. Nothing like being my kids taxi driver.

    Pressing In,

    Duane

    • post script!

      As a kid…a young teenager…I depended on some incredible individuals to taxi me wherever I needed to go. Thanks for being available to do that! :)

  2. Duane,

    I hope you won’t be offended by this, but…I think you missed the point, and I think you’re picking at something that doesn’t need picking at.

    Your argument, “an individual is not the Church,” is akin to saying “a stone is not a wall.” Okay, but a wall is comprised of stones. You cannot disconnect the stones that make up the wall itself…from the wall. Otherwise there is no wall. You mention the gathering, the calling out–ekklesia. Can you have an “ekklesia” without individuals?

    The point of this post isn’t “I–and only me as an individual–am the Church.” The point of this post is to reiterate what Tozer said and to remind Christians to be the change they long for within the Body of Christ.

    Now if you want to talk about the Church as a unit, how it functions as a unit, what it entails or doesn’t entail, etc, then we can have that discussion, too. But that wasn’t the point of this blog.

    Pax Christi.
    Semmie

    • Sarah, I’m fairly hard to offend and you are right I didn’t address your main point. I totally agree with Tozer point that any step forward must begin with the individual. I guess I just jumped over the first step too quickly and kept going.

  3. Duane,

    Your response is so gracious. I didn’t think you would be offended, but…I was REALLY tired last night, and I was afraid my words would be offensive. I certainly didn’t intend it, so I thank you for not taking offense! :)

    Your example from 1Timothy about the widows really struck a chord in me and stayed with me all night. Food for thought: if Paul were writing to us today, do you think he would say the same thing to us?

    Another food for thought: those of us who’ve been in church since we were children have heard it a thousand times–”if I were the only person, Christ still would have died for me!” Assuming this, and assuming that I would then believe in Christ…would I, then, still be “the Church”? Or would there be no need?

    (See? More questions than answers. Hehe.)

    Pax Christi!
    Sar

  4. “do you think he would say the same thing to us?” Yes! Paul would still tell us to be individually responsible for our own families so that the Church can help those who have no one to help them. (If Paul was into politics today he wouldn’t be a socialists)

    ”if I were the only person, Christ still would have died for me!” I’ve never liked that statement because it’s so unreal. I think that statement twists the gospel unless I am also willing to say my sin alone demands a punishment so great. But I’m getting off point. I there was only one Christian ever then the Bride of Christ would be a person. Since there are many Christians is Jesus coming back for a bride or a harem?

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