— “THE CALLED OUT ONES, WHO LIVE BY THE BOOK”
Is it a building? Is it a place? Is it an organization? Is it a body? Is it a unique group of people?
The church can be all that; however, it is so much more. Let's briefly review what we have explored several newsletters ago about the church. The church (ekklesia) is a group of people who have responded to the call of God in repentance with faith in Jesus Christ.
One of the most important realities is this; the church should never forget its purpose. As faithful followers and believers of Jesus Christ we need to remember the power and purpose of the church. Every confessing believer of the church must keep in clear focus that they have been called by God, the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ to be obediently responsive to His will and His ways.
God has revealed His Will and His Ways to us through His special book called the Bible. As faithful followers of Jesus Christ we need to be people of the Book, the Bible. There are a variety of scriptures in the Old and New Testaments, a few of which I have highlighted that communicate the truth and power of God’s Word, His Will and His Ways.
Psalm 119:11) Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! 12) Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes! 105) Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
2nd Timothy 2:15) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2nd Timothy 3:14) But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15) and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The following story illustrates what the church, the believers and followers of Jesus Christ need to be striving for. Oh, that we may so live out the journey of our lives.
An African prince after interpreting the missionary's message, said, “I can't read this Book myself,” referring to the Bible, “but I have come to believe the words of it because I have watched the missionaries for two years. They have not told me lies about anything else; so when they tell me this Book is God's Word, I believe it. I believe that Jesus died for me, and I am going to follow this Jesus.” Taken from Illustrations of Bible Truths complied by Spiros Zodhiates.
One of the very concise statements about the purpose and practices of the church is found in Acts 2:42. “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching (which was what Jesus had taught them) and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Next time we will begin to explore what fellowship in the church means. We will discover that it is more than just a cup of coffee and a cookie, but find that it can begin with a cup of coffee.
Striving to Serve,
-Pastor Perry DeGroot