By Reg Ames
We have been thrilled by the videos showing updates on the progress of our new church structure. Overseeing the construction details is the contractor, a builder of buildings made from wood, metal, mortar, etc. Jesus, although an experienced carpenter, does not use physical materials to build. But Jesus built a church thousands of years ago. That church has been added onto and continues to grow today.
Yes, the physical church is being built as we speak. But it is even more exciting to see how God is building His church as the body of faithful, believing, and committed brothers and sisters. I’d like to suggest that the real church building (the process) has been happening ever since we, together, decided to go ahead and initiate a building program.
One of my recent devotionals dealt with the meaning of church. The author is Jim Reapsome, and the following quotes are from his book, Knowing Jesus: 150 Reflections on the Life and Teaching of Christ. I share excerpts with you because I consider them to be excellent in explaining and defining the “church.”
“We would have no church at all apart from the confession of Peter and the apostles and the early Christians that Jesus Christ is Lord. Those who made this confession constituted the original “church,” a word that simply means “called out ones.” The early believers took an ordinary word for any assembly or gathering and applied it to themselves. Later the apostle Paul expanded the concept and called believers the body of Christ and God’s temple. New Testament “church” means God’s people, Christ’s family, his body— not a building or an organization.
The apostle Paul aptly pictured Jesus as loving His church, giving Himself up for it, making it holy, spotless, and without blemish. Believers are living parts of His body. He provides and cares for us, protecting us against all the devil’s attacks. He is the head of the body. The church is a vital, living extension of Jesus Himself.
Jesus has so skillfully built His church that each member belongs not only to Him but also to every other member. Our joint membership transcends all deno-minational, racial, national, ethnic, and gender differences. We are all one in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 12:12–13).
In astounding ways using human instruments, Jesus builds His church. He builds through our worship, witness, and service as we care for one another and take His Good News to people not yet members of His one, universal church.
Loving Jesus calls us to love and build up all those who name Him Lord and Savior.”