Going to Church


Often you will hear people talking about going to church. This may be due to our mistaken understanding that the church is a building located at a certain location in town. The word translated "church" in the New Testament is the Greek word ekklesia  which always referred to a group of people, not a building or religious program. Jesus first used the word in speaking to Peter and the apostles:

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church [ekklesia]; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:18, 19).

If you were living in that region in those days you were familiar with the word ekklesia. It was a common Greek word used by city states to refer to the ruling body of the city who were called out from the people to be part of the body that governs the affairs of the city. They were the governors and decision makers for the city in behalf of the people. This is why Jesus could speak of giving them the keys of the kingdom of heaven and binding and loosing power in behalf of the kingdom of heaven. He was instituting the building of a ruling body on earth that Hades, death itself, could not overpower. This is significant because death, Hades and Satan's world system  was apparently winning the war against God's people. Sin was rampant, death, war and legalistic religion had ruled the known world for centuries and the god of this world system seemed to have the upper hand at every turn. 

But Jesus came with a different message. He would call out of the world a body of people who would defeat Satan and his destructive plot. He revealed the distinction between Him and His enemy saying  "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (John 10:10, 11). Satan, the thief, wants to steal, kill and destroy but He would provide eternal life to His sheep by laying down His life for them. It is this life manifested in peoples' lives that defeats the enemy.

No doubt Satan remembered the promise that God made in Genesis 3:15: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel" (ESV). The offspring of the woman, Eve, and Satan's offspring would be at war and the end result would be the bruising of her and her offspring but the crushing of his head and his offspring. Of course, we know that Christ was the ultimate offspring of the woman but He would also give birth to many others who would participate in the victory over the serpent.

These victorious sons and daughters of the Lord are the body of Christ, His church, the ekklesia. The death of of Christ was the bruising God spoke of but through His death Christ and those born of Him have defeated Satan and His world system (John 16:33; 1 John 5:4). That defeat is finished in Christ through His redemption but it is enforced on earth in the lives of those who live by Him and administer His authority. There is a "great power" granted to those who follow Christ enabling them to live by the resurrection life Christ provided when He was raised from the dead (Eph. 1:19, 20).  

So, don't make the mistake of thinking that what Christ is building is a new religion which meets in big buildings and conducts religious services. No. The church is the body of faithful followers of Christ who are called out of the world to be His ruling, decision making, body on earth. He has given us authority over Hades, death and its king, that serpent of old. The problem at this point is that many Christians have not received the revelation of who they are in Christ and what we possess in Him. They have bought into the "going to church" concept which ignores the authoritative position we possess in Him.

So, how do we live as the body of Christ with His life empowering us? Well, we reject religion and we commit to the life of simplicity and purity which the Lord made available to us. Luke describes that simple family life that broke out in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit was granted to the waiting disciples: 

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common (Acts 2:42-44). 

They simply met as a family in small groups in homes throughout the city of Jerusalem to eat and fellowship together and share with one another spiritual and physical food as they enjoyed their new lives together. There was no pastor, church building, church services, legalistic standards or religious programs of any kind. They were a family and they loved one another with the love Christ had granted them. The result was wonders and signs and a general sense that they shared all things in common, just like any family. We believe God is calling His people back to this simple family life as He provides a divine reset of the body of Christ, returning us to the simple life we enjoyed before religion took hold in our lives.