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Sree
Member



Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1953


 Re:

Quote:

The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) until Christ’s return.



I do not want to post for the sake of argument. But I believe this statement of yours is unbiblical. There is no Biblical account of what you have said at all. It is totally your personal interpretation.

I agree that Church is not a building. But the Church referred in Bible is not comprising of all believers in Jesus. The Church referred in the Bible are group of believers in one locality who gather together to encourage one another.
1. There are clear instructions given on how the meeting should be held, how people of different gifts should function together in a local Church, in the Bible. All these things will be meaningless if the Church refers to every individual believers in Jesus. What is the use of God making one as prophet and another as elder if they are all living individually not connected to one another?

2. Just take the example of Body, if every part is living separately without connection to one another but only connected to Head then how can it function? Can you keep the heart, eyes, ears all separately and just connect them to Head and make it living as a body?
It is not even a body. There is no living being in this world with such a body! How can we imagine the Body of Christ alone to be a body where the individual members are not connected to one another at all? So just saying we are imaginary connected to one another via Jesus will not work. In a real body there are more connections between organs than just their connection to Head. Connection to Head is very important, without that no body can be alive. But individual connection is also important.

3. Also in Revelation, Jesus did not write any letter to all believers in any locality or globally. He clearly addressed every individual churches in every locality. These places like Smyrna etc, were not too far away from them. They were all part of Asia minor and separated by less than 100 miles. Still Jesus did not address all of them in one letter. He wrote separate letter to each one of them. And also addressing them to the Prophetic elder in the Church. If every individual believers in that locality never submitted to this elder whom Jesus is writing to, then how can they all even receive that letter?

To summarize, in Bible there is no concept of a individual believer living alone without any connection to other believers in the locality. By connection I do not mean occasional meeting. But a committed relationship between them as a local Body. When the Apostles traveled to different places, they evangelized people in that locality, gathered them as a Church. This is what Paul means when he said I planted and Apollos watered. They were all watered by God appointed elders, not by Jesus alone. Indirectly Jesus watered those believers through Apollos and other elders.



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Sreeram

 2017/7/10 14:54Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 6650
NC, USA

 Re:

Sree I believe you may be mostly correct- there is some confusion in terms regarding "the bride of Christ" and the "Church" with a capital "C."

Technically the true "Church" or universal Church= the Bride of Christ.

There may be some verses that refer to Church as meaning the universal Church, e.g. Mt. 16:18.

But in most cases it seems local church is intended.


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Todd

 2017/7/10 15:24Profile
proudpapa
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Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


 Re:

RE : /// The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) until Christ’s return.///

Very good.

That is also the theme of 1st Corinthians.

 2017/7/10 16:03Profile
Sree
Member



Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1953


 Re:

Quote:

There may be some verses that refer to Church as meaning the universal Church, e.g. Mt. 16:18.



In Matt 16:18 where Jesus mentions that 'I will build my Church'. I believe it is applicable to all local Churches. It is Christ Jesus who builds them. I am not sure how this verse could mean only Universal Church and not local Church?

I am not neglecting the possibility of universal Church. But I am against neglecting a local Church based on our assumptions on Universal Church. Some posts here are classic example of that! No matter what we believe about universal Church, it cannot be supported 100% from Bible because Bible is silent on that. But Bible is very clear on local Church and how it should function. So it is absolute stupidity of believers to neglect the well explained Local CHurches in scripture to hold on to an imaginary Universal Church.

Quote:

there is some confusion in terms regarding "the bride of Christ" and the "Church" with a capital "C."



I personally believe that every local Church is an individual bride of Christ. They are individual representation of the Body of Christ. They are individually connected with Christ as well. One scriptural proof I can give of this is from revelation -

Rev 1:20 - This is the mystery of the seven stars you saw in My right hand and of the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Jesus was seen by John among 7 lampstands. Not one lampstand having 7 different branches as Israel was represented. But individually there are 7 different lampstand with 7 connected branches. Each of the lampstands represents a Church.

Now to answer the question on how Jesus saw all these individual brides of Christ as a single Bride of Christ during his marriage is something beyond my understanding. The Bible does not explain that. Let us not add our own imagination to it.

My understanding is, all these individual brides will become a single bride during the marriage. I do not know how. Neither do I need to know how. Just like we do not know how God can exist as 3 different person!


To summarize, the Bride of Christ comprises of all local Body of Christ. People who do not bind with a local Body of believers will not be part of this bride of Christ. How can someone who openly disobeys the binding with local Church will be somehow bound in heaven? Let Jesus alone be true and every man a liar.

Matt 18:18- Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.


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Sreeram

 2017/7/10 16:07Profile
Sree
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Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1953


 Re:

The OP here is genuinely interested in fellowship with saints in her locality. This is a genuine question. If any other poster believes that he is so perfect and does not need fellowship of believers, then it is left for them to ignore such posts. They do not need to give their answer at all in such threads.
Instead I find it very harmful to devalue the importance of local Church and put their own unbiblical view of Church. I think it is putting a stumbling block in the path of a child of God who is zealous to be part of a local body of believers. Jesus himself gave the curse for such people who put stumbling blocks.

Hence I had to jump to emphasis the countless number of scriptures that talks about Local Church and the importance of being part of one.


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Sreeram

 2017/7/10 17:27Profile
TakeUptheCross
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Joined: 2016/8/10
Posts: 242
Germany

 Re:

It is true that the church is not a building, nor an organisation, meant to serve our selfish needs. But rather its aim is to worship God. I like the word in German "Gottesdienst" - meaning service to God. And while we serve God, we are being blessed by God and our needs (spiritual, physical and social) are being met. But its all about Him in the first place!

Sree, I understand your concern but I do not believe it is biblical to say:

Quote:
People who do not bind with a local Body of believers will not be part of this bride of Christ. How can someone who openly disobeys the binding with local Church will be somehow bound in heaven?



Because first off, there are perhaps not local churches in absolutely every city on this planet (I might be wrong here, God knows) My point is just that you do not know the circumstances of each believer to judge about that. For example, I've read a book from Amy Carmichael, who tells the story of Mimosa, young girl, who was touched by the love of God - although the missionaries could not tell her about Jesus. But after a short conversation, her heart was so changed that she refused then to do rituals that she used to do before and was punished by her parents for that. She grew up and married, tried to teach her children the fear of God and then years later, when she could contact Amy, she was baptized. The whole story you can read in the book "Mimosa". I share this, just to say that there are people, who perhaps don't even have the opportunity to be part of a church (persecution, prison etc.)

Second, there was a period in my life when I did not go anywhere to church. And the major reason was because I did not want to become hypocrite and because I did not want to break my heart again. Probably some people can manage 'break up' with a congregation easily - but for me it was hard, and at one point I really felt like "kicked out by your own mother" - the church that should be home to a believer, in some occasions, has become a home for everybody but a believer.

Having said all that, I believe that here it's a true saying: "The exception proves the rule." Therefore, I would not judge if anybody does not go to church. But thinking that some believers in Communist countries and Muslim countries do their best to gather even with risk for their life, I would say, by all means try to find a godly biblical church. Because after salvation and marriage that's one of the most crucial decisions, I think, a man makes.

 2017/7/10 18:03Profile
TakeUptheCross
Member



Joined: 2016/8/10
Posts: 242
Germany

 Re:

Todd,

... I think Jesus was disappointed with the disciples too. How they could not understand what He was saying (loaf of the pharisees) or pray with Him. I think that's not easy to take. Or the denial of Peter, imagine having a man so close for 3 whole years, who in the end denies he ever knew you! Yet Jesus prayed for Him!

I think that all of us have 'schocked' Jesus likewise. And God has been merciful to me to bring me back, and correct me. And I know that the church isn't perfect but we should pray for one another, encourage and correct each other so that we become more and more like Him!

But not everything that people call 'church' is church in God's eyes! "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." - And there is a point, where the Holy Spirit gives up on a particular "church". So we should just be sensitive to His leading.

I hope honestly, it won't be needful to move on from the current church (except I move to another town). Changing churches very often isn't perhaps very healthy. And yet again, I must stick more to Christ than to people, which means that Christ should be first and not our aim of remaining together.

 2017/7/10 18:20Profile
MrBillPro
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 3422
Texas

 Re:

Just for the record, what I posted here was my own personal belief, and what I gather from my reading of the word, of course we're all going to have different opinions on how we interpret the word of God, simply because the spirit ministers to us differently through each passage. I have no desire, to keep anyone from attending a place of worship, I choose to worship at home, and I'm worshipping the same God as anyone else is in their choice of a place of worship. I do feel sometimes that people that do attend a church building to worship, sometimes feel that others that don't, lack in their relationship with the Lord. If you want to attend a church building for your place of worship, every night and day of the week, I respect that, as long as you respect my choice of where I choose to worship. As someone mentioned in this thread, what about the people all over the world that don't have a church building, and maybe not even a home, all they have is a personal relationship with Christ, these in my world are the folks that have a total desire to worship and seek a relationship with the Lord.


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Bill

 2017/7/10 18:32Profile
TakeUptheCross
Member



Joined: 2016/8/10
Posts: 242
Germany

 Re:

Quote:
I can totally relate with you. In my case, now that I have a family with me, I invite people to our home.



Actually their hospitality even makes me sometimes feel awkward ...cause I don't always want to be the receiver. One time we had also lunch after service and went then somewhere outside with some people from the church. And I was totally amazed and thankful to God for the fellowship we had.

I am glad when I meet brothers and sisters who want to talk about the things of Christ, instead of changing the topic on something superficial and worldly. To be honest the latter type of discussion you can lead as well with unbelievers...

Sometimes I think too, that being open and sincere in such conversations makes you 'vulnerable', 'predictable' to some extent because you open up to people you don't really know in depth (like I know my family for example). But it is ok... I think the only people that can really hurt you, are those, you love; those, you've allowed to come close enough. But love dares! Even if I get hurt, would I not be just walking in the footsteps of Jesus?!

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:" (2 Peter 2:21)

"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16) - I want to know what that means indeed...

 2017/7/10 18:42Profile









 Re:

I think I understand what you are saying.
Gone through all this myself...now I believe our expectations should be "realistic" .
Especially in the Western world we have seen a big spiritual decline. The question is more what do we do if we can't find a church that meets our expectations?

We should still seek some fellowship, God can still speak to us even if the situation is not what we expect and may be the Lord can use us to have an input and encourage others on their way with the Lord ?

 2017/7/10 18:58





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