Mike Shreve, evangelist, pastor and author, reminds believers of the reality of the church of Jesus Christ…
Firstly, Acts 2:47 explains, ‘The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.’ So from the start, ‘the church’ was a work of God, not a work of man.
Actually the word ‘church’ is translated from the Greek word ecclesia (pronounced ek-klay-see’-ah) meaning ‘called out ones.’ So all who are in the church have been ‘called out of darkness into his marvelous light’ (1 Peter 2:9, emphasis mine).
Over two billion Christians today – professing or possessing?
Presently, over two billion people claim the Christian faith in this world.
However, there is a ‘professing church’ (those who merely profess an intellectual belief in a historical Christ) and a smaller-in-number ‘possessing church’ at its core (that is those who possess a genuine, personal relationship with Jesus).
This latter group is made up of sincere lovers of God out of every denomination who are truly born again (see John 3:1-7). Such a spiritual rebirth happens when the Lord Jesus dwells in a person’s heart ‘by faith’ (Ephesians 3:17).
Such persons make up the ‘true church’: not an organisation, but a living organism – the body of Christ worldwide.
Such an institution is the most…
a) Valuable in the world
Acts 20:28 declares we are ‘the church of God which he has purchased with his own blood.’
Whenever we purchase something, we must first be convinced that the item is more valuable to us than the price – or we will never make the transaction. In like manner, God must have decided that even though we were sin-stained and under a curse, we were more valuable to him than his own blood.
How amazing is that!
b) Important in the world
The church is called ‘the pillar and foundation of the truth’ (1 Tim. 3:15 MKJV).
This world is saturated with deception. But the church is a memorial ‘pillar’ raised up high above all nations radiating the bright light of truth.
Furthermore, the church is a strong foundation on which God is building his eternal plans and purposes. Without this influence, there is no hope for the seed of Adam.
c) Blessed in the world
Jesus once asked Peter, ‘What do people say about the Son of Man?’ The chief apostle responded, ‘Some people say you are John the Baptist . . . or some other prophet.’
Jesus replied, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’ (Mt. 16:13-16 CEV).
At this response Jesus then declared Peter was ‘blessed’ because he received that insight from God, not from people – then he declared, ‘On this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Mt. 16:18 KJV).
In other words, the greatest adversaries of the human race – death, the grave, eternal destruction – will not triumph over the church because it has been formed, not by doctrinal persuasion, but by supernatural revelation. Therefore, absolutely nothing can prevent its members from obtaining ultimate victory, because God declares himself both ‘the author and the finisher of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2).
d) Victorious now and in eternity
At the resurrection we will emerge: ‘A glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but … holy and without blemish’ (Eph. 5:27).
Yes, we will then be ‘called out’ of time into eternity, and ultimate, absolute, irreversible victory will be ours – forevermore!
Meantime we ‘called out ones’ are to proclaim every aspect of this good news to those who have not yet heard the gospel. In doing so we will be following up on the opening scripture quoted above: ‘The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.’
The ‘body’ – not a ‘building’ – is to witness Jesus and spread good news
Worldwide thousands need to hear the glorious gospel – may we not be remiss in spreading it but take every opportunity the Holy Spirit gives us.
In Matthew 9:37 (Mge) Jesus proclaimed, ‘What a huge harvest! How few workers.’ Later in chapter 28 verses 18-20 (NLT) he told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’
Those early believers, that small first-ever church made a difference in its generation – may this generation of believers who are many do likewise…even more!
Mike Shreve, evangelist and pastor of The Sanctuary in Cleveland, TN founded Deeper Revelation Books publishing company. He has authored 13 books, including the best-selling Charisma House book, 65 Promises from God for Your Child and the Our Glorious Inheritance series. Links: http://www.charismamag.com/life/relationships/16417-learn-to-claim-god-s-promises-for-your-children / www.shreveministries.org / Mikeshreve@aol.com.