It has been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and write a devotion. The past two weeks have been a little crazy. The biggest thing is a looming deadline for a training I’m in. Things should be getting back to normal, now.
One of the things that have been on my mind a lot recently has been the usage of the word Church. When we think about it, it could mean many different things depending on its usage, and who is using it. So, let’s take a look at what it means according to the Word of God
Matthew 18:20 New King James Version (NKJV)
20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
This is right in the heart of Jesus’ ministry. Everywhere He goes people are flocking to see Him. According to the Gospel of Matthew, He and the Disciples were heading to Capernaum, when they were stopped by people who wished to hear Him. He began speaking, as He did so often, in parables and questions. In the midst of these lessons, He says that if you pray something, it will be; and that if two people shall agree on earth, it shall be done for them “of my Father which is in Heaven.” He then finishes with our scripture focus today.
Definition of Church
I woke this morning and when I sat down at my computer I saw a message from a former student. Apparently, she had had a hard time sleeping last night and starting writing about what was bothering her. So she made an outline of the “Definition of Church.” She asked me to “critique it”.
In this outline, she lists the Merriam-Webster definition of “Church.” Which, according to their website is defined as
1: a building for public and especially Christian worship
2: the clergy or officialdom of a religious body
the word church … is put for the persons that are ordained for the ministry of the Gospel, that is to say, the clergy —J. Ayliffe
3 often capitalized: a body or organization of religious believers: such as
a: the whole body of Christians
the one church is the whole body gathered together from all ages —J. H. Newman
b: denomination – the Presbyterian church
they had appointed elders for them in every church —Acts 14:23 (Revised Standard Version)
4: a public divine worship – goes to church every Sunday
5: the clerical profession – considered the church as a possible career
Notice, that most of the definitions speak of the people, not the building. In fact, only one of the definitions listed mentions the building. However, there is a reason that it is the first definition: it is the most common.
Most people in our culture speak of the building when we say “Church.” Let me clear now, though, this is not wrong. I often say to my wife, “I’m heading to the Church,” or “Gotta swing by church real quick, so I can grab my music,” or something like that. This is acceptable. Language changes. God promised to preserve the Bible, not the English language.
But it is up to us to understand what the Bible means when it speaks of the Church. The church isn’t the building in the Bible, nor is it a specific group of the people in a church. But rather it is the whole congregation.
When Jesus died on the cross, the Temple Veil was split. This happened because God no longer dwells in a specific place in the Temple, but now has given us the “Helper.” The Holy Spirit. This means that we carry God with us wherever we go when we become Christians. We are now the Church. Not the building, be it Sanctuary, home, or old Movie Theater we meet in now. We are the Church.
Alright, what does this mean? This means that we need to stop falling for the lie that states “I should behave differently in church than I do in ‘the real world.'” You are the church, Christian. You are always “at church.” Act like it. Our bodies are the Temple. We should always strive to remember that and keep it pure. My challenge is this: try to treat your everyday life like Sunday Mornings. Be the Church.