By Art McElroy Contributing Writer
In writing this letter and for the purpose of understanding its intent, let’s begin by defining what The Church is. Church comes from the Greek word ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah) which is defined as called out ones. The root meaning of this word is not that of a building, but of people. In contrast to this understanding, is the fact many Christians when asked what Church they belong to will usually identify a building or its address. There is only one Church, made up of individuals who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Perhaps, the better question to Christians should be, “Where do you worship? Or, “Where do you fellowship?”
Further clarification of what the Church is states that it is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. This is noted in Ephesians 1:22-23 which reads, “… and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body.”
It is necessary to also note that the Body of Christ is made up of all nationalities of people as noted in its original root definition. As a result, we can agree that Christ did not create a Black Church, White Church, and a separate Brown Church. He did not create a rich Church or a poor Church, since its creation is not based on anything physical.
1 Corinthians 12-12-13 reads, “… the body is one and has many members… For by one Spirit WE WERE ALL baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free…” Having this understanding, we can acknowledge the Church’s true purpose in this world. The Church is represented as “the light of the world” as mentioned in Matthew 5:14 – “You are the light of the world…”
Please note that this position of light is established as the identity of the Church first, then the action of the Church. This statement is supported by many schools of behavioral science that state, “knowledge of who you are will determine the actions of what you are.”
Being identified as light, the Church is purposed with being an example to the world in behavior so that the world would believe that Christ existed as its Savior. It is imperative that we understand that this assignment of ours was prayed for by Jesus, making our existence an important work in His testimony to the world, which is so badly needed today.
John 17:20-23 – “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; … so that the world may believe that You sent Me… that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me…”
I would imagine even though there is proof in scripture of His existence, those individuals of the world who the church is to be an example to may not be reading the Bible. The Church must first have knowledge of Christ that confirms our identity in Him, so that we are able to be a proof source to the entire world of His existence. This process of example setting to the world must start within the Church. We must be a proof source of the love of Christ to each other before we can be an example to anyone else.
Considering the turmoil that this nation and the world is challenged with, scripture details the role that the Church must play in order to be that proof source needed by all people. As it relates to Christ, all proof through our actions that confirm Him to the world must be rooted in love. Below are references of scriptures of this fact.
- John 13:35 – “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- Matthew 5:44 – “But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
- Proverbs 10:12 – “Hatred stirs up contentions, but love covers all transgressions.”
- Romans 13:10 – “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:5 – “Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, it thinks no evil.”
These scriptures provide a roadmap of living that if applied correctly, would make the world a better place with the Church being a catalyst of its change.
The Church is God’s most powerful and prolific creation. It was created and exists in the Love of Christ, consisting of different nationalities and cultures. The Church is a representation of what all people of the world look like.
Think about it! God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, who through the belief in His death burial and resurrection, called out certain individuals to be His voice and example to this world in the midst of its turmoil until His return. The purpose of being an example of Christ to the world must start within the body of Christ, which is the Church.
One of my favorite scriptures that affect my position as a Christian in heaven, while on earth is
2 Corinthians 5:16, which states, “… from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh … we know Him thus no longer.”
Paul is declaring to us that even though we are still in the world, we must see each other as Christ is today. He is telling us regardless of the fact that we are made of flesh as Christ was, we must only see the spiritual nature in each other.
Fulfilling this purpose of recognizing the spiritual identity of each other, prior to witnessing the actions of our human nature, allows us to see each other in the love, grace and forgiveness of Christ.
In spite of what you see or hear in the world, as the Church, we must not be shaken or disturbed. Our faith must not waiver! We must keep our minds on things above, while we affect the change of things below.
It is important to understand that the intent of this letter is to drive thought, conversation, and behavior as to the purpose of the Church while still in this world. It is not written to be offensive to any person inside or outside of the church and is presented in love, based on the scriptures therein. Let the Church say amen!
Art McElroy is the founder of The Penuel Group, Inc. Please visit The Penuel Group on the web at www.thepenuelgroup.com. You can also contact Art at firstname.lastname@example.org.