Musings 75

Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.

Colossians 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

We go to church in our day thinking it is a building rather than the building being a gathering place of the church. The ramifications of that single error in thought are enormous. When we think of Christ coming to His church, once again it seems to mean that Christ comes to the building as well rather than Christ coming in power and grace to His people. When we think of Christ turning from His people we think of Him as turning from the building, but in reality Christ turns from His people (in terms of presence, favor, and power) and leaves them to their own devices regardless of where they are.

It is of enormous importance how one views the church and what one thinks the church is. The view one has of what the church is has a great influence on how we view the Gospel, church membership, preaching; conversion, and evangelism. For example, a person should not be considered a Christian because that person attends a local church, but one should only be considered a Christian when one has biblical evidence that one is united to Christ and as such is part of the body of Christ. Membership in a local church is focused on a person taking vows and joining the congregation by covenant or by baptism. However, biblical church membership is focused on the person being a member of Christ and as such how one loves and treats the body of Christ. In this the body loves Christ and then itself as it grows in love.

The Gospel is confused by how we view the church when we think of a person coming to church and then making a commitment to a church by vows and baptism. This is partly seen by the vast number of times people answer the question as to if they are a Christian by their reply that they belong to a church. The modern view of the Gospel is whether a person makes a vow or not and belongs to a church or not, but the Bible thinks of a Christian as one who is born again (regenerated) and is joined to Christ. As a result of being born from above and knowing God (requires unity with Christ), a person loves God and others. Jesus taught us that His disciples would be known by their love for each other. That is true because true love can only come to those who are born of God and know God.

Gospel preaching (true preaching) focuses on the true Gospel and the things that relate to becoming people who are regenerated and united to Christ. Preaching with a wrong view of the church will focus on people making decisions and becoming faithful members, which is translated to being busy around the building or doing things for the organization. When the church members are faithful to Christ they are faithful to the people of the church and they are faithful to Christ in their daily lives. Preaching with a view to Christ and love for Christ and His people is a vastly different view than preaching which looks for people to be faithful to an organization.

A biblical view of the church leads to a different view of conversion as well. A person is converted when a person is not following self but is truly following Christ. A person is not necessarily converted when a person is faithful to come to the church building and becomes more moral. A person is not necessarily converted when a person tithes, teaches Sunday School, and helps build a new building. Building the church is a far different thing than building a building. True conversion is when a person has truly repented of self-love and pride and now Christ is his or her love and his or her boasting is in Christ.

Closely connected to that is the way evangelism is practiced. True evangelism is practiced when out of love for Christ His glory is proclaimed, but also looks to people and wants them to be united to Christ and for them to seek grace to be saved. Modern evangelism looks for the person to make a decision and then to be joined to an organization that is called the church. People can be conservative and Reformed and many other things and yet be pulled in a wrong direction because of their view of the church. The Church and the local church must be taught that the vital unity of what it truly is must be spiritual life from Christ or it will without fail go in the wrong direction.

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