Jesus made sure we would understand the nature of the church because He used a wide range of metaphors and images to describe to us what church is like.
Of those used are “Family; Branches on a Vine; a field of Crops; a Temple Built with Living Stones, Christ being the Cornerstone; a new group of Priests, a Holy Priesthood; God’s House with Jesus as the Builder; The Body of Christ with Jesus being the Head…
So, as you can see, there is nothing which would indicate isolating oneself or worshipping alone at home or in your boat. All show the need for one another, stressing interdependence and corporate worship.
All these metaphors deal with many parts. When a part leaves or decides they don’t need the other parts, there are breaches, and if you take out a crucial part, the whole thing collapses. This is exactly what Satan wants, these are the breaches he looks for to get in and start doing his thing.
We are called to fill in the gaps, not make new ones.
The religious systems of our day make Christ one thing and the Church another thing. This is where the problem comes in. God’s Church IS Christ, and when you find the Church you find the Lord Jesus Christ.
We see this in Ezekiel’s temple. The house is finished in God’s thought. The river flows out from the temple, and life comes to everything it touches.
This is the Church: God’s life flowing to man. It’s a vehicle of divine life. The temple was the embodiment of God’s thought and expression. The size, dimensions, and material of every stone contained God’s thought. Every stone had to be shaped to perfection because it had meaning and purpose.
It was a type of the believers’ who are called “living stones.” The Church should be this. In the vision Ezekiel saw, the river was flowing out of the house. That is the supply. The river of living water that John said was the Holy Spirit, is the supply. So, we locate God and the supply is there.
Paul said we are ministers of God, not ministers about God! You cannot minister what you don’t have, When you have God, you can minister God. When you invite people into His house (this meeting place of God and man), who are rebels against God, who need salvation, the needs of those people can be met.
The Church, in the FUNCTION OF GOD, is to be just this: the meeting place of God and man where God can minister to the people.
God created church for community, and we will talk more on that next week in part 4. I will end with a quote from author Randy Frazee in his book, “The Connecting Church.” “The experience of authentic community is one of the purposes God intends to be fulfilled by the Church. The writings of Scripture lead one to conclude that God intends the church, not to be one more bolt on the wheel of activity in our lives, but the very hub at the center of one’s life.”
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