What is Church?
“You keep using that word.
I do not think it means what you think it means.”
-Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
What’s in a name?
Church, Bride, Body, Ekklesia
Who is the Church?
Christ in His assembled people
Which comes first form or Life?
Form follows Life. The Life within produces the form/function. Form without Life is empty, e.g. religion.
What does the physical manifestation of “the church” look like according to the human-centered way?
- Saving our life by rejecting the Way of the Cross.
- We are passive and do not function as a part of the Body.
- We live for others or for ourselves and ask Jesus to join in with our purposes.
- We occasionally see other believers for mostly earthly matters or not at all.
- We let one or a few “leaders” make spiritual decisions for the group or make decisions on our own.
- We do not look very different from the world, or we are trying to be partly in the Kingdom of God and partly in the world.
- There is no maturation of the Saints (shallow Christianity) but an increase in non-believers coming to the Lord.
There is maturation of the Saints but no increase in non-believers coming to the Lord.
There is no maturation of the Saints and no increase in non-believers coming to the Lord.
When do we see the Church manifested?
“Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up…”
When we are expressing CHRIST.
What does the physical manifestation of the Ekklesia look like according to the heavenly Assembly?
Although the physical manifestation can be as creative, diverse, and ever-moving as Christ, it does have some characteristics…
- The giving of one’s self-life for Christ and His body daily for His purposes (The Way of the Cross).
- We meet together (in a specific locale) regularly in Christ-centered face-to-face community for purposes of enthroning Christ and building up His body.
- We make Spirit-let decisions together in light of the Kingdom of God and participate in binding and loosing. We are living under the leadership of Christ alone by seeking together what the Head wants/finding the mind of Christ.
- We share life together in the NAME of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We display Christ’s character, authority, power (longsuffering, forgiveness, bearing with one another, love, and unity). We are a living organism: breathing, changing, growing, moving.
- We pledge our allegiance to the Lord and King and live by His indwelling Life for Him and His purposes together.
- We see transformation. People are being transformed into the image of Christ as we are focused on, abiding in, and expressing Christ to one another. Church is God’s habitat for transforming His people into the image and expression of His Son–we need each other. This is a “together” thing.
- Through the sharing of Christ, in many different ways, non-believers are drawn to Christ by the Father and give their allegiance to Christ thereby being added to the assembly to mature in Christ.
- The Kingdom of God penetrates the earth through us functioning as Christ’s Body.
- We look different from the world and function according to the Kingdom of God.
- When functioning from the life of Christ what is displayed for all to see is the divine relationship between the Father and the Son. It is the flow and exchange of Life.
Our Prayer for the Saints:
We pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19