The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Understanding the Church

One of the most misunderstood entities in the world is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I had a disagreement with a friend when I was in high school who believed that “the church” is a building. I told him that “the church” is the people. We looked it up in an English dictionary and low and behold the dictionary said it is a building. I was floored so I did some further study and learned that the Greek word translated “Church” in the Bible, “Ecclesia” means “those who have been called to assemble.” The New Testament often refers to the church as “The Body of Christ.”

However, the experiences many people have had with “church” have often led to confusion. Some churches seem to be mini “fashion shows.” Others have experienced church like a “country club” where the people from one economic subclass separate themselves from others. Some have experienced church as if it were a morgue where everyone seemed to be dead or bored. However, the Lord’s church is so much more than all that. But some people have already formed opinions and reject it.

I’ve heard folks say, “I love the church. It’s just the people I can’t stand.” I don’t even know what that means. If the Lord’s people are the church, then loving the church means loving them too. I frequently meet people who say, “I’m a Believer in Jesus, but I don’t go to church.”

Someone wrote the following article:
An old question: "Can I be a Christian without joining the church or attending worship?"
Answer: "Yes, it is possible. But it is something like being:
a. A student who will not go to school;
b. A soldier who will not join the army;
c. A citizen who does not pay taxes or vote;
d. A salesman with no customers;
e. An explorer with no base camp;
f. A seaman in a ship without a crew;
g. A businessman on a deserted island;
h. An author without readers;
i. A football player without a team;
j. A politician who is a hermit;
k. A scientist who does not share his findings;
l. A bee without a hive."
Why should we go to church? The importance of assembling is both subjective and objective. It benefits the individual with spiritual stability and growth, and it benefits objectively by its positive effect on others. The church meeting is far more than a place for one to be entertained or to hear, for these can be accomplished through radio or television. The purpose for the assembling is for participation in worship and fellowship and with one another.

When the church began on the Day of Pentecost, over 3000 people had accepted Christ and were baptized. What would come of them? Were they to just to off and live for Jesus on their own? Acts 2:42 says, They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. For this to be accomplished it required them to come together, to assemble, to be the Church.

Someone has said, “the church is in trouble.” I say, “Man’s church is in trouble, but the Lord’s church is doing just fine.”

This Sunday morning we will assemble together just like always. I will share a message from Hebrews 10:23-27 titled “Some Assembly Required.” Following the service we will have our annual congregational meeting, or what I call, “A Family Meeting.” I hope you will join in the activities which will include some updates, reports and an election of church leaders. I look forward to seeing you there.

Being the Church with you,

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