Our question this week is about church. What is church supposed to look like and why do we “do” church?
First and foremost, the church is God’s idea and not man’s. We might look at church today and realize that what we see today may not necessarily be what God had in mind. But how can we know? We read our Bible!
What does the word “Church” mean? The word in Greek is ekklesia and according to Lexham Theological Wordbook church is defined as “The term is rarely used in the gospels (Matt 16:18; 18:17), but is fundamental to the imagery and theology of the letters in the nt. Paul uses ekklēsia in the universal, regional, and local sense of the term. It is a place where the “saints” gather (1 Cor 14:33; 16:1; 2 Cor 1:1) and is itself sanctified (1 Cor 1:2). It is a gathering where the spiritual gifts of the members are demonstrated (1 Cor 12–14) and financial support for the universal body of believers is collected (Rom 16:1; 2 Cor 8–9). In a universal sense, it is regarded as the “bride” of the Messiah (Eph 5:25) and the body (or flesh) of the Messiah (Eph 1:22, 23; 5:23, 29; Col 1:18, 24). In 1 Timothy, the church has the specific nuance of a larger household, charged with caring for the social outcasts (e.g., 1 Tim 3:5, 15; 5:16). Revelation uses the term exclusively to refer to the seven churches in the region of Asia.”
So basically, it is a place where Christians gather. It is a holy and sanctified gathering and it represents the life of the Christ as revealed in the display of the operation, attitude and purposes of God. The church has purpose and design and should reveal the character of God. So why do we get so hung up on how we physically “look?” I don’t think God is nearly as bothered about how we “look” as some of us may be concerned. I believe God is more concerned about how we act and if our actions reveal the true image of God. It is in our actions that we reveal God to others.
So rather than be so concerned about how we look, maybe we should be more concerned about how we act. Do we reveal the love of God? Do we exhibit His character of Holiness, Compassion, Truth, Sincerity and Peace? A church should be a place where people find God and He is found as people come in contact with those in whom He lives. Are we revealing God to those who enter our churches? Do they find His love; His peace; His truth? Or are we more concerned with how we look. Do we sing the song just right? Do we have the right programs in place? Do we preach just the right amount of time? Maybe we should ask do we dare stand up for what is Biblically correct rather than what is socially accepted. Do we allow Holy Spirit His rightful place in our gatherings or do we quench His Spirit? Or, on the opposite side, do we allow fleshly and flakey manifestations to take priority over His Presence because we don’t really know what else to do to get people motivated?
Somehow in all of this, God still works and moves among His people. God is still faithful to His Word and God is looking for people who desire to reveal His love to those in darkness, pain and despair. Regardless of how the church “looks”, it is the body of Christ and whether we sing hymns or choruses, God is there. Whether we have only one instrument or a full orchestra, God is there. It is the heart that God wants and He wants His church to reveal His heart. His church should be a safe place for all to come and experience Him! Let’s show the world what His church looks like. It looks like Him!