Last time we were looking at the changes needed to really, once again, become a soul-winning, alive, Bible-based church. We saw that the first thing we needed was to understand what the Christian faith is really about. Many who talk about ‘being a Christian’ have never really though about what and who a Christian really is. We saw that The Christian faith (life) is a daily, ever-deepening, very dynamic, personal, unique, intimate, love relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent; empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit and lived out in long-term committed relationships with others who follow Jesus (disciples) in a local family of God (local church). Let’s now look at a decent, although I am sure inadequate, definition of the Christian Church.
The Christian Church is a family and community of those who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, known as the body of Christ, the Church. The Church has Jesus as it’s Leader and, as a healthy organism, with members walking in power towards wholeness, we invite all others to share in His love and life.
The Church is not meant to be an organization. It was birthed as an organism and was always meant to remain a living, dynamic organism where the love of God can be encountered daily and the life of Jesus can experienced at all times. This “life” is what allowed Jesus to be the Light of the World. John 1:4 states, “In Him was life (Zoe) and this life was the light of men.” Jesus was not the Light. The life of God in Him was the light… So, Jesus states that we, the Church, are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Really we are not the light – it is the life of God within us (because we are born again) that is the light. It is this “life” that we are to share with others as ‘the Church.’ If we don’t share this life so others can come to know God’s love then we really are not part of the Church that Jesus is building (Matthew 16:18). His Church is all about the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) as they go and make disciples in every nation and their local neighborhood and community. Sharing the life and the love that they encounter and experience themselves every day (1 John 1:1-4).
The Church is also a family. This means we are related to each other and there for one another. Not just in a time of need but at all times. To fellowship with others in the family is a two way street where everyone is in “give and take” mode. We are there for one another in the good times and the bad; we love, support, encourage, give, pray for, and bless all others in the family. No one uses or abuses others within the Christian family.
Jesus, not the pastor, is the Head of the family, the Church. And, every true believer who is a disciple of Jesus is connected directly to the Head as well as to those within the local church, the body of Christ. So, they all relate to the same Leader and to those around them in this Christian community or family. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12, teaches that every person is a member or part of the body – one a finger, one a toe, one a knee and another the elbow – but we are all inter-connected and part of the same body. To separate out would be similar to cutting off a finger. The finger would die and shrivel up but the body would heal, be somewhat limited in some things because it lost a ‘member,’ but would continue on regardless.
The Church would not be ‘the Church’ if it had no power. The Church was borthed in power (Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:1-5) and immediately began to walk in that power (Acts 3 and onwards) seeing miralces, signs, and wonders. Healing and deliverance were powerful ministries in the early church and should still be today. So, I firmly believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a basic necessity if we are going to be active Christians in the Body of Christ. All Christians need to be empowered through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and need to be trained and equipped in the 9 supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Without this they cannot do what the Head of the Church states all disciples are to do – the things that He did (John 14:12).
So, the Church is a powerful instrument in the hands of the Lord when we are functioning fully in the way He has called and designed the Church to function. We have a lot that needs to change, new understandings that need to be received and believed, and must training and equipping is needed so that we can become effective and efficient labourers in the vineyard as Jesus asks us to be – invivting others to experience His life and the Love of God the Father.