What is a Church?

3/29/2001

……my friend feels the people I fellowship with are not a “church.” Is there something that constitutes whether people are a church or not? This question keeps coming up over and over in different forms. What is a church? I always thought we ARE the church…and that it should be enough for us to recognize among each other as believers that we ARE the church, that it’s not something we have to create. My friend points out that the first century believers GATHERED ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK…and that this is something that is supposed to be done. Am I not part of a church because I don’t do that? Am I not part of the church because I don’t lay claim to any PARTICULAR GROUP of believers, but only try to walk in fellowship with each believer that the Lord connects me to? I feel like if I moved that I’d be saying that God’s church isn’t here….….. is she? Please, it’s not that i’m “content” or that I don’t hunger for a deeper expression of Christ to each other, but…but what? Anyway, I think i get the point that we’re not to have leaven in the batch, false sheep among us, but I am a little confused about what that has to do with what is going on at the moment. Maybe nothing.

Well, write back anything that the Lord leads you to say or answer.

Hi, again…heading out of town in a few hours—SO I’ll just say this much so far. (I think there’s more about all of this, in things that I have sent to you.)

1) He’s RIGHT if he says “not everyone that wants to be a ‘church’ IS one.” Even EPHESUS was going to lose its right to be seen by God as a “Lampstand” or “Church” (“the seven Lampstands are the seven churches”)—even though there were still MANY people there! “A place of prayer”—“a place by the river”—“the lecture hall of Tyrannus”—these are types or examples of things that are NOT “churches” but ARE Believers together, “gathered in His Name.” A “LAMPSTAND” is a Holy and Immense thing, though not a “science” on our part. A “Foundation” is part of the Deal, and this comes by way of GIFTS appropriate to the task—NOT a) commitment or b) knowledge or c) experience or d) bible study. So, I don’t know whether you “are or aren’t” there—but I truly doubt it. Saved people do not equal a Lampstand, though they are part of the larger picture of Church and Bride, certainly.

2) He’s totally WRONG, if the Scriptures get the final Say, about “meeting on Sunday.” That is a bogus concept, a convenient “tradition of men,” unsupportable by the PICTURE of the New Testament Record. Historically, we know it happened once that way (Acts 20) in ONE city, one time. That’s all we know about THAT event, and most of THAT happened on Monday. We certainly DON’T know that they EVER did it that way before or after that day. There is NO TEACHING of the Apostles or Jesus to support such an idea! It is a matter of convenience for selfish men to pigeon-hole God by “moving the Sabbath” one day so it can be “Christian”—just as they change the name of the pagan demon holiday to “Christmas” to legitimize it for their pleasure. Neither has the slightest bit of Biblical Basis. The ONLY other time that “Sunday” is EVEN MENTIONED out of the 25 year record (!!) of DOCTOR Luke and the Holy Spirit in all of the letters is ONE small season where folks were to “lay by in store” some cash specifically to be picked up for the famine in Jerusalem. AND that had NOTHING to do with a “MEETING” or “TREASURY”—unless we try to write our own Scriptures and put that in there. This command was unique, specific to that one place and time in the Scriptures, and PERSONAL for them in their homes person-by-person—NOT “meeting-related” unless we add some things to the Text ourselves. There is NO HINT of any “meetings” in that passage AT ALL, and when Paul had the CHANCE to speak of “meetings” earlier in his letter, he gave MUCH DETAIL…….. and NEVER MENTIONED SUNDAY, or PASSING A COLLECTION PLATE! Odd? ;) But none of that means AT ALL that you should leave! Philip sent the Ethiopian prince “on his way rejoicing” …and DID NOT INSIST THAT HE MOVE TO JERUSALEM to be “Spiritual!” The question would only be “WHY do you want to go to Ethiopia, rather than Jerusalem?” That, answered sincerely and Well, could result easily in him going on to Ethiopia, though there was NO church there at the time!

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