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The Church

If I were to wander the streets and ask people if this was a picture of a church, 100% would say "yes" and yet, 100% of them would be wrong! What??? Okay, before you shout me down, let's look at some scripture and see what it says about "the church":

Matthew 18:17 - "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector." Does this sound like Jesus is talking about a building? If you are talking to the building and it's hearing, the guys in the white jackets are probably in your future.

Acts 5:11 - "So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things." Have you ever seen great fear come upon a building?

Acts 8:1 - "At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem..." Is it possible for a building to be persecuted?

Acts 11:22 - "Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch." This starts to get a bit comical, as I'm sure you've never seen a building with ears.

Acts 14:27 - "Now when they had come and gathered the church together..." Is this saying that all the buildings got together?

Okay, I could go on and on, but clearly the church is not a building. The church is all the believers who meet together to represent Jesus. The early church did not have any buildings, they met in homes to break bread, hear teaching and testimony, and share life. They also met in the temple courtyard (which was a public area) for worship.

So, if we are the church, can we go to church? Of course not. We are the church, so wherever we are, the church is. You are the church at home, work, the park, bowling alley, restaurant, on vacation, with friends and family.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Jesus wasn't saying that he was going to build a building at that location, rather, he was going to build the church through the faith of Peter and on the day of Pentecost, we see Peter preach and 3,000 were saved and joined the church.

We are the church and Jesus expects us to go into the world and transform it. He has already said that Hades/evil will not prevail against us. Jesus said that He would always be with us (Matthew 28:20), so we don't have to do this alone, but we are His church and He wants us outside the building walls feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, housing the homeless, visiting prisoners, taking care of the widows and orphans, preaching the good news of salvation and eternal life, and making new disciples. Are you, the church, doing that?

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