Why the church?
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
Maybe you have heard people say that they love Jesus, but do not like the church. There are people who think they can have a relationship with Jesus apart from his church. They would just love Jesus and believe in Jesus but do not want anything to do with His church. There is even a book written entitled “They like Jesus, but not the church” by Dan Kimball. There are so many wrong things with claiming to love Jesus but not his church, his body. I understand some of us have been hurt by churches; some have vowed to never set foot at a church building due to the hurt and pain a local church inflicted them. These are some of the reasons why some people do not like the church. However, you can’t claim to love God and not his church. The Bible says you can’t claim to love God and hate people. 1John 4:20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
You cannot love God without loving people.
When we go through Scripture and study the church of Jesus Christ, we will then understand that Christ’s church is essential to God’s kingdom; so it matters. The church matters because It was God’s idea. If it mattered enough to God to come up with this idea, then it should matter to us.
Right after Peter confessed Jesus as Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus laid out the future for his church.
Jesus asked his disciples, who do people say the Son of man is? Who do people say the Messiah is? The disciples responded with the public opinion of the day: some thought the Messiah would be John the Baptist, Elijah, or a prophet of old.
Then Jesus asked personally who they thought he was. Peter replied: You are the Christ (Messiah) the Son of the living God.
Jesus applauded Peter for such profound, God-revealed answer.
The Jesus went on to say that he will build his church.
v.18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
v.19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
What is the church? Definition!
The word church never refers to a building or business. The word here is Ekklesia: assembly, (Called out ones), congregation. The biblical definition of church is a gathering, assembly or congregation of those who profess Jesus as Lord.
It is the group of followers or disciples of Jesus that is called church in the Bible.
The word church is singular, but it denotes or imply a group.(assembly or gathering of those who profess faith in Jesus)
Singular words that mean group or gathering: Flock, fleet, herd
The church of Jesus Christ began with the preaching of the apostles in the first century, during the day of Pentecost. With the very words of Peter: ”you are the Christ” Acts 2:36-38
When you read the book of Acts, you see what Jesus meant when he gave Peter the keys of the kingdom. Peter and the apostles began to use those keys after the day of Pentecost and the church was born from their preaching.
Peter called people to choose Jesus. “That Jesus whom you crucified, God made him Lord and Christ”
Peter called people to repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of sin and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. (v.38)
Those who received Peter’s message were baptized and added to the number of disciples. (v.41)
This is how Jesus began to build his church in Jerusalem through the preaching of the apostles.
The Church belongs to Jesus, he is her founder. Jesus bought the church.
Jesus paid a huge price for his church.
Acts 20:28 …which he purchased by his own blood
Revelation 5:9 ….with your blood you purchased people for God.
I Peter1:18-19 ….redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.
Ephesians 1:7 we have redemption through his blood, forgiveness of sins.
Christ loved the church enough to die for her; therefore it matters. (Ephesians 5:25)
Christ loved the church so much that he sacrificed himself for her in order to present her holy and blameless.
If the church mattered that much to God, then it should matter to us as well.
The church of Jesus Christ will transcend time. It will live forever. Our history as a nation will one day come to an end. The church will continue. It is promised a kingdom with Christ. The church destiny is eternal. The church of Jesus Christ prevails through obstacles, and even hell won’t be able to stop her.
The gates of hades will not overcome it. (Matt.16:18).
If you belong to the Church of Jesus, then your destiny is eternal with him and the many more who are members of his church. The church reigns with Christ; the church wins at the end.
Jesus is calling people to himself through the preaching of the gospel; when people respond by accepting Jesus by believing and being baptized into his name, they become part of his community called Church.
The church is global (universal) made of all followers of Jesus in the world. These followers are found in cities and towns; therefore the church is also regional (local). The majority of the books in the NT were written to local churches to address certain issues. To the church in Rome, Ephesus, Philippi, Sardis. Thessalonica. All these were local churches. Believers of Jesus found in those communities. At the return of Christ, all these local communities will reign with Jesus as one unified body.
The church was God’s idea; it belongs to Jesus; he is her founder and redeemer.
If the church was such a big deal to Jesus, shouldn’t it be such a big deal to us also?
You matter to God!