Message for September 25, 2011

“…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”  Matt. 16:18
    Jesus proclaimed the beginning of the church to come after His resurrection and ascension.  The “called out people,” which is what the Greek word for church really means, refers to the assembly of the believers joined together as one to represent Jesus on earth.  The church is refered to as the “Body of Christ”, making it one with the Head. As the body of Christ, the enemy is under our feet.  The kingdom of darkness cannot overcome the Kingdom of the Christ.  No matter what takes place the “gates of hell” will not prevail against the Church.  The rock upon which it is built cannot be moved.  That rock is not Peter but rather the confession that Peter made when he said of Jesus, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.
    The church was never intended to be an organization or an institution.  It is to be a living organism infused with the power of a risen Christ.  The presence of the Holy Spirit gives life and power to the body of believers to be Christ’s hands and feet here.  How is being born again related to becoming a church member?
    We make a distinction when we say “he was saved” and then “joined  the church.”  This is looked at as two separate events.  However, a good comparison to this idea would be saying a child was “born” and then “joined” the human race in a separate event.  Makes you think doesn’t it?
    We do not join the church; we are “born again” into it.  We become part of the body when we get saved.  Membership in a particular location is a human institution that arose over the centuries.  We need to belong to a local body of believers, but we are first a member of the body of Christ and were born into it.  We didn’t join it. In light of this, we do not have the right to choose whether or not we become active in a local church body, we are “born again” to be active.  We are to fulfill our membership by being a good “member” doing what we were created to do.  Today’s message is “What is the purpose of the church?

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