“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

Matthew did not say, “can not”, “maybe not”… He said, “the gates of sell shall not prevail”! The church is more precious than a jewel and is more powerful than an army. The church, the spiritual church was planned by God, purchased by Christ and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. God has always had a people and through the years oppressive rulers has tried to silence her voice. However, the church has lived on like an eternal flame or light. Opposition can not deter the church, persecution can not defeat the church. There have been times where the church has come under attack by those who want to make it more “socially attractive”, “neatly organized” “culturally relevant”or “financially profitable”. The church has been misrepresented, ridiculed, scattered, censored, secluded, confined and scorned – today some even refer to the church as nonessential. No matter what the obstacle, the church marches on. Friends, today the Church is alive and well!

What is this Church we speak of?

Oxford Dictionary, defines it as a building for public worship, However; Ephesians 5, defines “the church” as the body of Christ. While as believers we may gather to gather as Christians in the Church for corporate worship, we are the church out side of the four structural walls. On that note, I believe there is a Biblical mandate for believers (Christians), to be in Church – to attend corporate worship. I believe it is demonstrated throughout the Bible and we can discuss that separately.

What are some of the issues that hinder the church or even things the church should take a stand against?

Many I would say are inclined to say, Homosexual marriage and if it should be allowed in church. The Presbyterian Church, supports it while the SBC does not. What about abortion? An overwhelming majority of non-denomination majority support the “right” to choose. While a majority of denominational members are pro-life. Women in leadership, is another controversial topic in the church. More liberal churches support it, while more conservative churches oppose it. With the rise of praise bands, especially in larger church bodies – type of music played can hinder the message of the church. Are we as a group worried about whether “Amazing Grace” is being played or “Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone”. Are we worried about there being a drum set on stage instead of just a piano and organ? How do we feel about “Spiritual Gifts” [we will discuss spiritual gifts next week]? Different denominations, have different interpretations on our spiritual gifts. Baptism, Alcohol, Politics behind the pulpit, church membership and the list can go on forever of things that we may not agree on. In all of these things, my question is what does the Bible say? The Bible speaks on all of these things! There are a few things that the church must agree on. We must agree that there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus and his sacrifice on the Cross. Second, we must agree that sin is anything that is less than God’s perfection or separates us from Him. The church has lost sight of the big picture and we need to return to Christ.

In Revelation 3:16, we see Church in Laodicea, was described as – “lukewarm”, they were being told to repent and to rekindle their fire for Christ. As a body of believers, that is what we need to do today. We have become, “lukewarm” and have lost sight of what our mission on earth is as part of the Body of Christ.

So what is the purpose of the Church?

The worship of God, is the highest calling of man. We see it in scripture from the beginning all the way to the end. We even see a shift on days of corporate worship. Early believers worshiped on Saturday and today we worship on Sunday, likely to remember the resurrection of Christ on the first day of the week.

The Body of Christ is to edify itself in the community of faith. Acts 2:42, paints a perfect picture of this. We are to devote ourselves to the apostles teachings, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer.

We are also called to do the work of an evangelist. We are living in a dark world. Dr. Adrian Rogers, believed it to be a glorious darkness – because, it means the time of Christ’s return is closer than ever before. With that though, comes a responsibility to be a soul winner!’

The Anatomy of a Healthy Church

The Love of God, is the single most important factor in church. Scripture has made it clear that God, is worthy of our worship. When we love God, we will sanctified by the spirit and there will be prayer. I mean, you pray a prayer, when you say: “Lord Jesus, come into my heart”.Another element is, Our love for others. When we love others, we will help them grow thru discipleship and we will have fellowship with one another. When there two elements merge, you are filled with the Spirit!

When we are filled with the Spirit, we see our Spiritual Gifts manifest in ways that bring honor and glory to the most high. It is here that the ground work for Evangelism, Worship, Ministry and Unity; is found. As I have previously stated, we must do the work of Evangelist, our primary objective as the Church is worship; but we will also have our own ministry and a since of unity. Every believer, is called to the ministry. Maybe, it is not a pastoral ministry or even a public one. Maybe, your ministry is as a comforter. We each have unique experiences that we have faced in life. Have you used your experiences in life to help a friend? If so, that is your ministry. We also though have a unity. We are unified as one body of believers, united by the saving Blood of Jesus.

When we combine all of these things, we bring honor and glory to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Dive in! Start your journey today.

When we study scripture, we are actively worshiping The Lord. Will you join me, as we open up the Bible and study The Good Book, that we have been given.