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Detoxing from the Institutionalized Church 2

On this article I want to take a close look at the definition of the Word Church. As stated before, this world appears about 112 times in the New Testament. The very first time is in Matthew 16:18 when Jesus states, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (ESV)

The word Church here is the Greek word ekklēsía; meaning, called out. The church is known in Scripture as, The church of God (1 Cor. 10:32; 11:22; 15:9; Gal. 1:13; 2 Tim. 3:5, 15) and the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18); the church in Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:21;).  The word ekklēsía is nowhere used of heathen religious assemblies in Scripture. Ekklēsía, therefore, at once suggests the new people of God, the new Israel. His kingdom is visibly represented in His church, and the church is the kingdom of heaven insofar as it has already come, and it prepares for the kingdom as it is to come in glory.[1]

Surely God has not given up on Israel, but just as Israel was called out to evangelize the world and be the representatives of God on this earth, the church now takes that role. However, we have been victims of infestation from the world. We have some serious structural damage. We now go to church and commonly identified the church with a building. We invite people to church instead of inviting people into our lives. 

We delegate everything to the confines of a building. We dress differently… in that building. Many act differently… in that building. Many open the Bible only… in that building. Many worship God… in that building and, only pray and minister to people… in that building.

The Samaritan woman had the same problem as she states, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” John 4:20 (ESV) Jesus gave the Samaritan woman a great lesson that we must also listen to today, “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:21-23 (ESV) Jesus stated very clear here that the Father is not looking for buildings, the Father is looking for worshippers that will worship HIM with sincere hearts. 

To be continued…

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

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