A Call To The Remnant

Scottish Warriors for Christ- http://www.facebook.com/acalltotheremnant

What is the Church?

Posted by appolus on May 31, 2015

Click on picture to purchase this latest book from Frank McEleny

Click on picture to purchase this latest book from Frank McEleny

When we can properly define “The Church,” then we can separate the criticism of the institution from the saints. One deserves the criticism the other deserves encouragement. I believe that a great part of the problem lies in the fact that after countless centuries of indoctrination by the traditions of men, we have come to identify ” The Church,” as an inanimate object. We call the building church, but can we find that anywhere in the Scriptures? In every single instance in the New Testament when the word ” church,” was mentioned it was referring to people. Yet most often the very first question we want to know when we talk to someone is ” what church do you belong to?” The very nature of that question underlies the problem. Don’t you belong to Christ? The actual Church, whether universal or local, is the Body of Christ. Being part of that, having our commonality in Christ and by the indwelling Spirit of God is something that joins us and unites us. The very first thing the aforementioned question does is divide us.

When you closely study every mention of ” church,” in the new Testament it is, in every single instance, singular. It is never mentioned in plural in regard to towns and cities, only in regard to regions. And so there would be the church at Ephesus or Corinth or Rome or Thessalonica or Philippi and so on. Here are some examples of the language of the Apostle……………….

Rom 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

2Co 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Col 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse:

1Th 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ:

2Th 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

2Jn 1:1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

Jud 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

The last three examples were not examples of saints in a certain town being blessed but simply how the Apostles addressed the Body of Christ. We find our unity and commonality in those who have been ” sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ.” We are those who have been transformed and known by the Truth. There is an inner witness of the Spirit when one saint meets another. There is a familial identity, we immediately recognize “one of our own,” not by natural means but by supernatural means.

This has been my great discovery as I left the four walls of what we now call ” church,” behind me. I have found such richness and fellowship in various corners of the world from saints from every possible background and culture. To encounter ecclesia and to find that where two or three are gathered that unique anointing that comes with our commonality and Spirit is a joy beyond measure. Some may say, ” well Frank, isn’t that what all those buildings and programs are attempting to do, bringing the saints together for a common purpose?” Maybe a very long time ago this was the initial attempt to bring saints together in common worship and unite under one roof to glorify Christ and to fellowship with other believers. Yet what I find in the simplicity of fellowship with one or more saints who have a passion for Jesus is not what I find in organized churches, it is simply not.

I am not saying that a great majority of gatherings do not have noble intentions, in fact I tend to think that they do and I pray that God blesses my fellow brothers and sisters wherever they may be found. What I personally have found in a myriad of churches and denominations is that God has been organized right out of the building. There is no room for God to move because we have a program for everything. And the larger the building, the more organized it becomes. Well intentioned men end up becoming slaves to the needs of the four walls and the expectations of the people and the Biblical simplicity of the gathering is lost.

Now, there are men who are not well-intentioned of course. There are men intent on building their own kingdoms and therefore almost everything that happens within their four walls revolve around them. They preach, they teach, they or someone close to them leads worship. All of those things become spectator sports where participation is not welcome nor needed. We have generations of believers herded into four walls who sit dutifully silenced or sing along as directed and programmed. There is no moving of the Spirit there is no leading and guiding of the Spirit for all is directed by men. In short, they have what they want and if God ever truly decided to break into their programs they would not know what to do, but we know for the most part that God does not show up where He is not wanted nor needed.

Wayne Jacobsen writes in his book Finding Church “ The church of the new creation is more like wildflowers strewn across an alpine meadow than a walled garden with manicured hedges. I realize such a seemingly amorphous view of the church will make many nervous, especially those who think it is their God-given duty to manage a group of people on His behalf or else church can’t exist. But it can.” Does that make you nervous? Do you need the walls, the structures of man, the manicured hedges? If for whatever reason they ceased to exist tomorrow would this mean you would be lost? Can you say that Christ in you and His word, if all else fails and falls away, is enough for you? The good news is that while there are two saints alive on the earth then the church is alive on the earth. The gates of hell shall not prevail against God’s people, they shall not triumph because we have already won the victory. We exist as a Body because of that very victory. The victory cannot be undone and History is coming to its end.

Brothers and sisters, you are the Body of Christ. May grace abound to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus rule and reign in your hearts. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Jesus our Lord. May you find fellowship with the saints and rejoice as your spirit witnesses with theirs in your common passion. From that common passion and love and desire you will find strength and encouragement. We need this strength and all the more so as we see that day approach. God is shaking what can be shaken and bringing together His children who have the indwelling Spirit of the living God. If you are two or three or ten or twenty or whatever number God has ordained then God bless you. If you are one, my prayers today is that you shall be at least two or three for within every genuine saint’s hear beats a longing and a joy to truly fellowship with those with whom their spirits witness with.

14 Responses to “What is the Church?”

  1. suez62 said

    Amen, it can be a very, very lonely walk! My two dear sisters in the Lord have passed on. Now it is only me. I wish I could find another lonely, true saint to fellowship with in my area. But, so far not. 😦 I keep praying for such as this! Good word once again, brother Frank!

  2. Maureen said

    Thank you, Frank, for speaking the truth of Yahweh and not the truth of man. Yahweh has been moving those who hear his voice away from the 4 walls for the last 5-6 years in droves. It has been 5 years for me and my relationship with Yahweh has grown exponentially. Praise Yahweh!
    Suez62: It is a lonely walk. I too, am now walking alone now. I think HE wants our undivided attention for some major growth now …But I am also praying for someone to fellowship with. Blessings to you both. 🙂

    • appolus said

      Hi Maureen, praise God for your ever deepening relationship with Him. In the end, everything flows from that…………bro Frank

  3. Becky Johnson said

    I considered asking you a question in recent days but didn’t know how to bring it up. This post is an excellent time. I read recently of some issues regarding a church and in the article I read of “covenant members.” I am not a brick and mortar church member, nor do I feel called to become one. But that term sat on me funny. Are we to be in covenant with a building? Aren’t we already in covenant with God through Christ and need not be in another? Would greatly appreciate your thoughts, Frank.

    • appolus said

      Hi Becky. The covenant member pledges and signs off on duties to the particular church. It is never mentioned in Scriptures and of course neither is membership in the sense that we understand it. If we are in Christ we are members of the Body of Christ, members being more akin to body parts that signing your name on any dotted line. We are born into it rather than signing up for it. These covenant and memberships are a form of formal obligation.It is an external act that helps organizations better organize. It reminds me of something old brother Tozer said one time …….. “One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team.” I think he hit the mark………………..bro Frank

      • Becky Johnson said

        Thank you! I know if I was ever in a position where something Luke that was asked of me, I’d have to turn and run in the opposite direction. It seems that the redemption part of my rebelling against God is his using that which he gave me in the first place (rebellion and a strong-willed spirit) for his own purpose. I am loyal to one Person and one Person only. There is no dotted line I will sign, no human I will bow to, no koolaid I will drink.

  4. afchief said

    The church is supposed to be “relational”. Instead the 4-wall church has become a business, a club, a sect, a one man show, with little clicks, and multiple programs to keep the sheeple occupied. Christ never intended for his church to be this way. Never intended to be a one man show where people’s gifts are stifled. Where the pastor only has a relationship with a few (and usually the biggest givers and/or leadership team). Where people sit for years and are never equipped and become professional pew sitters.

    Look at Jesus who had a close relationship with only 12 people. Why didn’t Jesus have 30 apostles or 100? Because He knew He could not develop a close relationship with that many. Same with the pastors today. They are more worried about numbers and pleasing the sheep instead of feeding and developing a relationship with the sheep.

    Christ is changing his church. Four wall churches are starting to crumble and the home church are starting to thrive. I’m in a home church with other believers and have never looked back at being in a church organization. In fact I asked God why did it take this long?

    • appolus said

      I think the ” one man show,” has done more to harm the Body than any other organizational aspect of what we have come to recognize as the local church. God can and does speak through His people. When we have organized Him out of the door with our programming, when He no longer has preeminence in our gatherings, then He will allow us to have what we want. If we want to be spectators, if we want to be entertained, if we merely wish to sit in theatre like buildings with our big gulps and coffee as the lights are dimmed and the entertainment begins, then He will certainly give us the desires of our hearts…………..along with leanness……………bro Frank

  5. exposeevil said

    Reblogged this on Light In The Darkness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: