What constitutes a Church? According to Paul
Last updated: 2019-04-04
According to Paul, the Church at Corinth was made up of a separated (sanctified) and called out group of people who believe (called upon the name) on Jesus Christ.
There is a lot in this one verse that should cause us to take a second look at our ideas and comfort level with our local church. I’m not talking about interdenominational community, I’m referencing our view of who we are as a community in our church.
The verbs “sanctified” and “called” remind me of the act of a shepherd or a cattle rancher who has to separate specific animals from the flock or herd. He would first find the ones who he needs, separate them from the larger group and finally he would grab the animal he intended to retain.
Maybe the idea is best expressed in our culture by using a child’s birthday party. Let’s say it’s a bounce house full of 25 3rd graders. Your boy is the one in the middle of the group who is having the time of his life. The cake is ready to eat but the kids are so loud you can’t get his attention.
Finally, you jump into the bounce house and crawl over to his area. One after another kid jumps over your back. Some are successful while others…not so much. You make it to the back left corner of the air filled sweat factory and your boy is in the middle is 3 other boys all trying to reach the top of the bounce house.
Your voice is timid at first because you don’t want to scare the little girl that is next to you already transfixed by all the action going on and is just sitting in the middle watching you make your way past her. But when your voice doesn’t carry far enough into the tough skinned ear canal of your child, you yell. This gets your son’s attention and you reach out and grab him. He yields to the persuasive look on your face and jumps on your back to get out of the war zone.
He hangs on for dear life and you both make it out of there alive. Leaving behind a mess of kids struggling to get back on their feet.
That is what it means to be called out by God. Everyone in the church has experience the spiritual separating and calling of God. The public profession of that alignment is baptism and then membership with a local body of these called out believers.
The basic foundation of the church is this fundamental look at the body of people called the church. It’s an amazing organism and ordained by God Himself through Christ. All the more reason to not neglect the gathering of your local church. It’s incredibly special to be able to be apart of it.
I believe if we could all get back to the basics of what makes up the church, our ministries would be much more impactful.
And…who doesn’t need a picture of Zeke to rest their eyes upon? Good looking and great smelling. Debbie calls him out all the time. “Zeke! You stink!” Who knew mature goats were so impressive with their smell. I didn’t, but now I do.