The Church

The church is the collective body of Christian believers around the world, being the catholic or universal church of all justified by the atonement and saving faith in Jesus. All of us who are truly justified by the gracious blood of Jesus Christ and have entered into His spirit are part of the church.

The church has its origin and its beginning in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is not to be taken as a calendar date, but as the governing factor in this origin and beginning. It is assumed that the word church is used in but two senses - that of the whole body of Christ, and that of the local church.

In the early church, the outsiders called these early Christians Nazarenes, followers of Jesus. Before long the Jerusalem community came to call herself by an Old Testament term used to refer to the assembly of Israel. The word church comes from the Greek kuriacon which means something belonging to the Lord. The equivalent, ekklesia means a gathering of people, the "called together ones." The mystical body of Christ is the church, called mystical to differentiate from the actual person of Christ.

The conception of the unity of the church of Christ was a possession of Christian believers from the beginning. It is true that the word church in the universal sense cannot be proved to be employed before Paul, but the conception existed from the first. The original disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem thought of themselves as a family, and conversion meant their incorporation into the one household of faith. The Church Triumphant is the part of the church that have passed away and gone to heaven. The Church expectant are considered the church in the intermediate state which have died and not gone to Heaven awaiting the Second Coming and the general judgment. The Church Militant are those believers living in this world.

The church has two sides to its mission in the world; its mission to individuals and among institutions. The church early on had compromised and allowed government to become greater than the true God creator, now the kingdom of the church has been given over to the Gentiles. Today the church is cooperating with the government to bring back a Caesar and a government 'above' the people. They should have been teaching that the people are the higher power over our Constitution and government.

It remains forever a solemn warning that while the church is continually tempted to lose hope of the world, the one section of humanity which Jesus despaired was the church. Many people blame the Emperor Constantine for bringing the church into temporal control but what he wanted to do was to unite an already divided church and let the church take care of the problems, the church "leaders" had already compromised the church to ecclesiastical controls between east and west. The Emperor did a great thing in bringing peace to the empire and halting the persecutions but by making the world the church, he brought the world into the church.

There will be harvest ministries meeting outside the church, there will be more people meeting in the homes and more work being done in social work like ministering in the streets. Many are just staying in the church out of loyalty and a responsibility to fellowship but the bottom line is not in worship, it is in relationship. All churches worship but not all churches are in the proper relationship with mandated apostolic precedence. The first trumpet is of the church leaders being able to throw their crowns at the feet of Jesus' throne, if they cannot, Jesus will take their crowns away from them. If a local church is doing what it should, then there is no problem with staying but if it is not, then we must have the freedom to prop it with the proper foundational work that has been handed down to us or get out.

Much is being spoken lately about the "IC", the Institutional Church. In all cases, what is spoken is either to confirm the judgment coming upon the church or in defense of her. Whether we are in the IC or not, whether we are in Babylon or not, we are still the church. We should be strengthening the church in every way that we can. A lot of people are part of different things that God is doing in different areas but are still part of the same plan. Your local church is wherever you get your Christian fellowship and interact with those that are part of this same universal church.

I have a few people lately asking about leaving the church. There are a lot of people leaving the church. Not to get away from the truth or compromise but to find the real church. By getting away from the institutions that define an Institutional Church, we allow the traditions of men to give way to the spiritual. Just remember however that Jesus is part of the Institutional Church. The church is in trouble in our generation but denouncing the church system merely keeps them down. We need to look to Jesus as an example and be willing to suffer and give our lives for the church before any healing can begin. We need to stop listening to people that get down to the same pitiful levels in retaliation without giving the church the strength she needs to get up. A cancerous growth needs to be cut out, not fed. The church needs some tough love and what she has now is co-dependant excuses for her pain. The truth is that condemnation, judgment and denunciation of the church seems to be the order of the day rather than love and forgiveness toward them and we have found many people that are doing just that. It is apostasy.

Jesus died for the church. The gates of hell itself will not prevail against the church, it seems however, that schismatic Christian "prophets" are among those trying the hardest to destroy it. There is judgment coming to the church but that is God's job, not ours; our job is to perfect and nurture it. God will spit out the luke-warm church, we need to love each other not to be a part of that. There will be ministers weeping between the porch and the altar, there will be those that have not filled their lamps and there will always be those that love Babylon enough not to recognize the destruction until it is too late. There are controlling pastors and priests in the church, there are bible teachers teaching half-truths and quenching the spirit, there are self-willed prophets out of order. God's people are being deceived every day but listen: there are better times coming. The Lord will suddenly come into His temple and the spirit will be poured out beyond measure. There is restoration coming and He will be using us to bring it. Do you believe that or not?

I spent years outside the four walls of a church. Do not give up on the church. I am part of a church now where the pastor is eager to hear what I have to say and can be considered a positive type of what is to come. The church will weather the storm. There are those of us that will not abandon the flock and stay to strengthen what remains. Our task is to perfect the church and to restore what the locusts have eaten, not abandon her and be as the locusts. Jesus bled and died for the church and that includes all of us no matter how much the church system needs to be reconciled with truth. It is love and holiness that will perfect the Bride, not abandonment and exclusion.

There are home churches, cell groups, storefront churches, meetings in rented halls and dinner groups. There is nothing wrong with these things, God can lead us all to meet any place or any way according to His will and will be there among us as we lift Him up. The problem I see is that there are people in these small groups leaving the established churches as if it is the IC that is Babylon and then bring their Babylonian baggage with them. They in fact have not left the confusion of Babylon or the nature of the beast or the false authority of Jezebel or the separation of the Nicolaitans but perpetuate these false practices thinking they are doing God's will. Of course there are good groups being formed but then there are good groups in the Institutional churches as well. I see no difference; unity is still eluded. Fact is that the church is not perfected yet in any form and will not be until we finally get it together with the love, holiness and unity necessary for Jesus to return.

Many people look for a church, not like Jesus but more like ourselves. Isn't that a little arrogant? There are no churches like us except in the sense that we are fleshly. I suppose, we could get all prideful and try to throw our weight around a let them know what great seers we are but who would we be impressing? No-one, not Jesus that is for sure. It is humility that will identify the submission expected in a prophetic person that hears the Lord but all churches should be in the prophetic and it is hard to be in a church without it.

So, I stay content in my little cave in front of my computer and write my little impressions of how far back-slidden the church is and how I wish that there would be a church that understands me like Jesus does but it is a sham. We need to get out and accept them as brothers and sisters in Christ and if they accept us fine, if not, well maybe there is another church down the street that will. Our problem is that we try to bring them the truth as we see it and they do not want to do anything about it. We cannot endure a church that is in confusion concerning spiritual gifts, so we do not come back. We cannot endure a church that is in ignorance concerning spiritual gifts, so we do not come back. We leave because we do not get the support we need to lift up our own egos and we leave because we are misunderstood. The problem is that we just can't seem to get it right so the church suffers.

Well, we are told to get out of Babylon. At the same time we are to "strengthen what remains," so where does that place us? Right into the church that we have separated ourselves from and love them anyway, even when they hurt us and despise our word and the message that God has given last day people.

I have been told not to worry about man's little kingdoms on separate corners with their steeples rising into heaven like the tower of Babel and concentrate on a home fellowship. I have thought of making flyers and get the neighborhood kids to take them door to door. It makes sense to me to appeal to the sensibility of the masses and preach love and the reason of the Lord's admonition for us to speak as one. Surely there would be a good number of people in my own neighborhood that would want that as well. Right? The Spirit and the Bride say come. Come out of the wilderness and out of your caves, it is Oasis Time in New Jerusalem.

Look at the church as consisting of the seven churches that have unfolded through history. The story of the seven candlesticks of the apocalypse of Revelations 2 and 3 have been variously translated to mean that there have been seven church ages with each church appearing and closing with a new church age to follow. Wrong. If you look closely you will see that they are all given their relation to the Second Coming toward the end of our age, repent, Jesus comes quickly, do the first works, the last is more than the first, into great tribulation, hold fast until He comes, keep My works unto the end, power over the nations unto the end, strengthen the things that remain, He will come as a thief, hold fast what you have.

Luke's story of Pentecost shows that the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit are inseparably bound together. The founding of the Church is therefore not based upon the work of the historical Jesus, but of the risen Lord. "Bless you Simon, upon this rock." It is clear from the very first, Christian faith was community rather than just the faith of scattered individuals; a community created by God, called into existence by Him, and dependent upon Him for it's very life and energy. Jesus is the head of the church, not some district super or bishop, or pope or congregation and if we can accept it in truth, we all have the keys to the kingdom.
[113, 117, 119, 120, 204, 314, 319, 333, 364, 345, 12]

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