Aug 28, 2013 1421
By Tony Elshof, Wollongong Vineyard Church Plant
This message is to empower and equip you to live a better Kingdom life.
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20
What do you think about when you hear the word church: a building used on weekends, people singing praise and worship, community service activities, or something else?
The New Testament word for church is, ekklesia, which is taken from two Greek words meaning, ‘out from,’ and ‘to call.’ In other words, it defines believers as those whom God has called out of the world and into His eternal kingdom. But what does this practically look like in terms of church?
When Jesus described the church he used words like salt and light Matthew 5:13-14. Put simply, a little salt adds flavour to a meal, and even a small torch can light up a path at night. This suggests that the role of the church is to be active, and have a significant influence in the lives of others.
Matthew again quotes Jesus, “…and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” The late Dr. Robert L. Lindsey, a scholar in the Jerusalem School for Synoptic Studies, believed that Jesus had the word edah (witnessing community) in mind when He described His church. So Jesus was prophesying that His church would share His gospel with the world.
To the secular community, and a large extent the Christian populace, the word church, describes the universal body of Christians, or the building they worship in. I would like to challenge this perception. What is often forgotten, is that every person in a relationship with Jesus, is the church!
You and I are Jesus’ church, and He is calling us as individuals to be salt and light, to be His witnessing community. Paul in his letter to the Colossians, describes Jesus as the head of the body, which is the church. Where the head goes, the body must follow, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Both the Old and New Testaments declare God’s heart for His Church. Isaiah 42:6-7 says, “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free the captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”
The Gospel Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 puts it this way, “As you go about your life…make disciples, baptise, teach”…basically lead people into a loving relationship with My Father.
I want you to know that God is so pleased you are part of His Church family. Jesus knows how valuable you are, and through a more intimate relationship with Him, you will become even more of the person He created you to be.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.” Hebrews 12:2