When you hear the word “Church” what comes to your mind? It’s interesting to know that the word “Church” isn’t in the original language of the Bible at all. Now you may be scratching your head because in our English translation the word “church” is in fact in your Bible. However, the literal word “Church” is not in the original language anywhere in the entire New Testament. If you don’t believe me just go online, or get a Greek concordance and look it up for yourself. The English word “Church” comes from what is called “old English” and it doesn’t show up until the year 1570. The original “koine Greek” also known as common Greek that is translated “church” from the New Testament is “ekklesia” which literally means “called out.” The history of the word “ekklesia” comes from the Roman civilization when citizens of Rom would meet together for a public gathering. So in short, church is the “called out” people of God gathering publically in the name of Jesus.
You may have heard people say or you may have thought “I am the church.” Unfortunately, those thoughts couldn’t be further from what the Bible teaches. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul compared the called out or what we today call the “church” as a physical human body. For example, in 1 Corinthians 12:27 he writes to the believers there “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Also in Ephesians 4:16 he writes to the believers in Ephesus when speaking about Christ that “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” So when we get accept Christ as our Lord and savior we become part of the universal body of Christ. As a Christian, we become “one part” of a many-membered body that is described in the New Testament as the “Body of Christ.” Specifically scripture teaches that we are again just “one part” of the body of Christ.
So often I hear believers debate “do I have to go to church to follow Jesus?” First of all, I believe that is the wrong question, as well as the wrong thought about what we call “church.” Can you imagine what would happen if one part of your body decided to separate itself from the rest of your body right after you got out of bed in the morning? It would immediately cause the rest of the body to suffer as well as that part decided to separate itself. The rest of the body would suffer as well. You would have a hard day without your foot, your hand, your ears, your eyes, and your mouth if they decided to separate from the rest of your body! Also, without being connected to the rest of the body that part would eventually die from being cut off from the blood supply.
The truth of the matter is “the church” is not a location, a facility, or you alone. Biblically speaking, you cannot “go” to church but you can “be” a part of the church as you assemble and work together with the rest of the body of Christ. I believe with all my heart that Christ followers need to get past hurts, fears, criticisms, and issues with other believers, and begin to love one another by coming together as the called out people of God in our community. Our current culture is very dark, and the people in it desperately need the light. We need the people of God to work together as a “church” body locally for the common good of our community. We need people to stay in their community and not abandon ship. We need many active, loving, working bodies of Christ functioning here in Fayette County! We need Christ followers to understand that following Christ is much more about what you can give to others than what you can just receive for yourself. I often hear many people say to me “shop local” or be sure to “buy local” and then they don’t assemble or “worship local” for the benefit of their own community. It’s time to be the “church” and become the “called out” people of God here in Fayette County and impact our world.
This Sunday at South Side we will launch a new series about “church” entitled “Your Part Matters.” Come early, and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and snack at Café Connect. We have child care and children’s classes for all ages. Also, South Side offers two worship times being 8:30 & 10:45. We hope to see you there!
South Side Church of Christ