What is a Church (or ‘the’ Church)? The Church is a term used to describe in one word, the community of people who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and who have received his offer of forgiveness of sins. So basically, it is a group of people who are saved “by grace through faith.” (Ephesians 2:8) Why is it not a building? Here are 3 reasons why (in my opinion)…
- The Torn Curtain and Pentecost: When Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, the Temple curtain was torn into two. (Luke 23:45) This meant that now mankind would no longer need to come before God through a human high priest. We can now come before God in the name of His Son Jesus. So God no longer needed to dwell/be worshipped in a building. Once the Holy Spirit was sent down by Jesus at Pentecost, our bodies became temples of God if we had received forgiveness for our sins and were filled by the Spirit of God. (Prayer to receive forgiveness from sins)
- The Builder: “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1) The church buildings are built by man. The Church that Jesus is building, is being built by God Himself. Only God can build it, because the reason for building it is not earthly – it is heavenly. God is preparing us for eternal life in Heaven. So how can He confine His work to mere bricks and mortar? In fact, while building man-made churches is finished when the construction is over, the Church of Christ is still being built, as more and more souls are saved every day.
- Indestructible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” ( John 3:16) What happens when a severe earthquake strikes a church building? Well, quite likely the building collapses, or at least get damaged in some way. But Jesus’ Church does not, because it consists of humans, who can run toward safety and continue glorifying God so long as they’re alive. A building cannot glorify God on its own! And even if humans die, their spirit remains. The human spirit cannot be harmed when it is indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit. But a building does not have a spirit (soul) – so how can it have the Holy Spirit living inside it? (!)