18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
What is the Church that Jesus is building and How is it to Operate?
The Bible never describes the church as an address, a building, an organization, location, any of those things we often associate as the church. The Bible always describes the church with the Greek word “ecclesia”, and the word is used in four ways throughout the New Testament.
The word is used to describe a local group of people who believe on the Lord Jesus, are baptized in Christ, and who meet weekly in order to grow in knowledge and grace together (Romans 16:5; Colossians 4:15). Ecclesia also describes Christians from all time and all ages, meaning the redeemed of God bought by Christ from every era and every people group (Ephesians 5:23, 25, 27, 29; Hebrews 12:23). Ecclesia describes Christians made up of many churches in a particular city in the New Testament (Acts 13:1 ;1 Corinthians 1:2 ; Acts 8:1 ; Revelation. 2:1). Ecclesia is also used to describe the redeemed living in this age (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Matthew 16:18). Regardless, the basic definition of church, ecclesia, is quite simple. The church is the redeemed of God in Christ Jesus. The church is the people of God. The church is not a place, not a location, not an organization or a religious institution. It is the people of God redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ.
God the Son in His humanity died to purchase a people from every tribe, tongue and nation. What is amazing is the Lord Jesus accomplishes His mission of building His church through His church. Now if the church is what Christ died for to the glory of His Father during His first coming (John 10:14-15) then we should not treat lightly how we organize ourselves in the local church. If Jesus is building the church, do you think it is important to structure the church per His commands or our preferences? Jesus owns the church. The owner of an organization in our world outlines the function and structure of the organization. God the Son owns the church, and the church’s function and structure is per His commands not our thoughts. We as God’s people are to regulate what we do each Sunday based on God’s Word so that we may reach maturity in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 4:11-14, Titus, 1-2 Timothy). May we be found doing what Scripture commands and displays in our meeting times together for our enjoyment of Him and for His everlasting fame!