What is Church? - Coastal Community Church Guest Blog by Chris Eals
What would your definition of "church" be?
How many of us focussed on a service or an event on a Sunday morning?
The Bible doesn’t refer to church as a building or an event or an institution. It’s always a community of believers somewhere.
So what is church and why does it matter?
“A community of people gathered around God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, united with him and each other, demonstrating his kingdom to a needy world”
Community starts with God. God is a community! The Father, Son and Holy Spirit - The Three in One - are a perfect community. Each unique and distinct, yet all share in a common heart, mind, will and purpose. Relating together, working together, completely different yet wonderfully One.
We are invited into this community.
John 17 v 6 & v11b
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. …., so that they may be one as we are one.
You are invited into this community!
Eph 2: 8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast”
When we each come to Christ and repent, we are baptised by the Holy Spirit into this divine Community. We become one with the Father, one with the Son and one with the Spirit - a powerful, dynamic union occurs.
Our salvation involves a rejection of the rule of the evil one and the ways that prevail in his community. We leave it all the old behind. We enter the community of God through embracing the cross. We surrender to the Lordship of Christ and receiving the empowering of the Holy Spirit. The life and health of this community is totally dependent upon the life of the Holy Spirit at work among us. The Godhead comes to dwell within us.
John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
• Within each believer is a perfect community.
• Whenever we gather with other believers, we have at the heart of all our gatherings, (minimum two or three) a perfect community. The special dynamic is presence of Christ in the midst (Matt 18:20).
How is the life of the Holy Spirit doing in you and your relationships?
Ask God to show us where we need him to work in us now. We are called to live out this community (not merely pass on information about God or instructions about what to do to find him!)
God's original intention was that man, made in His image, would fill the earth and establish on the earth a community that would reveal the wonder of God to all of creation. Creation still waits! - Rom 8 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed
Have you ever felt like your life as a Christian and as the church is a list of things you should do?
Evangelism is yet another thing to do and it becomes “inviting people to a party that you’re not dancing at!”
It’s not so much a list to get on with as drawing others into the community with God that we are experiencing. (“Inviting people to dance at a party that we are dancing at!)
Our openness to the life and work of the Holy Spirit is of vital importance to our life together.
• Do life deeply in the life of God's community – (koinonia - fellowship with the Spirit and one another) – not just meetings!
• Receiving and using all the gifts of the Spirit that bring the build-up the (community) - the body of Christ, (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Cor 12, Eph 4:11)
• We extend His community into our families, local communities and the nations of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Our relationships with each other and God are vital. It’s this that we are sharing, not just delivering a message about God.
This people, belonging to God, would reveal His manifold wisdom to every principality and power in the heavenly places - it has always been God's purpose (Eph 3:10)
We, the Church, are that people.
• God is community
• We’re invited into that community
• If you haven’t responded to that invitation, the invitation is here this morning.
• God want to dwell in you by his Holy Spirit, invite him to in and through you to reveal himself and community to you
• We’re called to live out this community, who or what is the Holy Spirit showing you to extend his community to?