Thoughts on the Church 2

Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 “But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB ‘? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.

If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. (Augustine)

Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

It may cause the question to arise as to why the verses above are listed regarding when the discussion is on the Church. The reason for that is that when people are mistaken about God and suppress the truth about God, they are mistaken about the nature of the Church and the churches as well. It took centuries for Roman Catholicism to arise from the traditions of men and then for that to be perpetuated. Could it be that the Reformers did not reform the Church enough regarding what the nature of the Church really is? Could it be that the Reformers were not perfect in all aspects of the Reformation? The point is that we must look to Scripture for the nature of the Church and not just the history of the Church. Selfish men are selfish men when they are religious as well as when they are not.

“If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” The previous quote is from Augustine and the context is clearly the Gospel, but it can also be applied in the same way to the Church. “If you believe what you like regarding the Church, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel that you believe, but yourself.” This is a devastating comment when applied to any doctrine or theological teachings. The foundation for belief must come from Scripture and not self. When we have self as the basis for what we believe, even if we have many verses to quote to support us, it is self that we lean on.

There have been many posts on how selfish “Christianity” is not true Christianity at all. Surely when this is applied to the doctrines on the Church and churches, we can see that selfish “churches” are not true churches at all. Jesus Christ is Lord of the Church in all things or He is not Lord of the Church or churches at all. The Church is the very body of Christ and must not be made to be anything less. The Church, as the body of Christ, has members and those members are actual parts of the body of Christ. A hand is a member of the body, but the hand never joined the body but it was made to be part of the body when God created it. As such a person is born into the Church and is a member of Christ. A true believer is part of Christ Himself, that is, must be considered to be a member of Christ Himself.

When a person reflects on that, it should change what a person thinks regarding church membership and what a church should be. The local church should reflect something of the true nature of what true membership in Christ is. The local church should point people to a true membership in Christ Himself rather than on what it means to join the local church and all the duties in that. The local church should point people to the lordship of Christ and His grace. The local church is not the Church, it consists of sinners that Christ has saved for His purposes and not for the purposes of ministers or others. Christ saves sinners for His own purposes and glory. Christ is the chief Shepherd and all others are not only under that, but way under that. The local church must not be blown up and out of proportion. It must be a means of seeking and glorifying Christ who is the Head.

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